Has your lovely little Lydia just had a meltdown on the floor of aisle six in your local supermarket? Has your charming Charlie chewed you out for not giving in to his demands for “cookie now!” Or, my current personal favorite, has sweet señorita Sofía deafened your eardrums with, “No! I want the pink socks!” only to then throw herself on the floor kicking and screaming?
The “terrible twos” (which for some unlucky parents can last until four) are normal periods of growth for kids. It’s part of separating from their parents, establishing their own autonomy and learning limits and some of the ground rules for interacting with others. It’s part of their job description, so try not to take it personally. They can’t express their feelings well with words yet, so out of frustration they act out their anger by screaming, crying and even throwing themselves on the floor. (I just knew my son was destined for the drama club when he pitched his first tantrum.) Some children actually hold their breath until they turn blue or faint. As frightening as that is to watch, as soon as they faint they start breathing normally again and recover quickly and completely. If your child does this though, mention it to his doctor.
The good (well sort of) news is that most children act up like this mostly when around their parents or other close family members. The fact is, children feel safe with their parents, so you can look at these outbursts as demonstrations of their trust in you. As she is stretching her wings, she is testing your limits and, in a way, asking for guidance. Next week: How to deal with tantrums.