**Edited to mention: It’s not that I disagree with the Fathers, like I say below, I can see the exploration and adventure in it all. What I struggle with is the not listening part. Lowell says I need to be a little more constructive in explaining some of the things I blog about as I come across as disregarding what I’m told about two’s being terrific in this post. I agree, he is right. So that will be a work in progress on my part :)**
Not so long ago, I was talking to my mom about what in the world to do with Faith. She’s reached the point where anything we say either misses her ears entirely, or it flies faster than a mouse from a cat in one ear and out the other. I wanted to know what more I can do to get through to her during these terrible two’s. So, she told me this story of a conversation she had at my brother, James’, graduation a few weeks back. I guess my two-year old sister, Gloria, was up to her typical mischievous behavior that made my mom comment to a few of the Father’s about “the terrible two’s”. But, they told my mom that this time in a two year old’s life is not terrible, it is terrific! Terrific? Yeah, both my mom, and later me, when she relayed the story, both had to ask it, “Terrific?!” They said it is terrific because they are exploring, testing their limits and boundaries. Doing combinations of naughty things to see what reaction they can get. Testing the fire to see if it really is hot, jumping off the furniture to see if they can fly like that bird or plane outside, getting into Mom’s bathroom and destroying it, only to turn around and not repent, but help them-self to an Oreo cookie, oh! but atleast they shared one with the younger sister, too. What a lovely second disaster for this already aggravated Mommy to clean up!
It’s true, though. I can see the terrific part of it in an outsider’s perspective. They are becoming adventurous, feeling out their independence, etc. But, what is a mother to do?! Kids, in my opinion, are welcome to test the waters, feel out their limits, or branch out in something daring. But, what about the not listening part? There is never a terrific time to not listen, I don’t think. There is a fine line between terrific and not terrific, and listening is definitely on that line. Maybe we as parents might try to limit our two year old’s “adventures” by telling them to “Stop!” before getting into the street, or by correcting them for throwing a fit of some sort, but there has to be a limit. It can’t be a free for all, but it can’t be Military Camp for Two Year Old’s, either.
I find myself struggling with whether I am being consistent enough or not. Who, honestly, wants to tell their child “No, don’t do that” 10 times about the same thing? And, what happens when a time out on the dreaded step, half way up the stairs, doesn’t help? Or, “grounding” them from the books or DVDs that were badly mistreated after continued “Stop it’s,” loses it’s effectiveness? A swat? HaHa! Even less effective than the other two mentioned options.
Something just happens to a two year old one day. One day, they wake up and decide that authority is a joke, so now they will be their own boss-man. They set their little minds so strongly to that, it seems, that all the tactics that parents used to correct misbehavior is ineffective. This battle will continue until the time that they are about 4-ish. Again, they wake up one morning and decide they don’t want to be on the naughty list anymore and are suddenly pleasant little people again.
My current plan of “attack” is something more constructive, I believe. Because our biggest problem isn’t misbehaving but the not-listening/disobedience, my mom suggested to me that I take Faith’s most beloved blanket away. As many of you might be aware of, Faith loves her blanket very much. It doesn’t stay glued to her side, but it is usually close by at all times. So, next time I ask or tell her to do something, and she doesn’t listen right away, instead of losing my temper, I will just scoop up her blanket, put it some place high, and tell her I will give it back when she does “x, y, and z”. Even though she isn’t really outwardly affected by my being upset and whatnot, I know it damages our relationship a bit because it leaves me always being upset with her. With this new plan, I won’t lose my temper, and I will leave it in her hands, and up to her independence, to decide how quickly she listens to me. I am curious to see the results, and will let you know if I strike a positive, and quick response to the next few “occurrences” we have.