The Terrible Twos: Better the Second Time Around?

Benjamin Terrible TwosOur Benjamin turned two yesterday. If the next year is anything like the last I’m gonna need a bigger blog (to a paraphrase a certain shark movie).

Benj, as our older son Elijah dubbed him (and it stuck), is the proverbial handful. He’s got the husky voice of a teen battling puberty along with the occasional meltdowns. Some, frankly, are epic. Thrashing. Yelling. Caterwauling.

OK, I just like that last word and thought it fit snugly here.

When his older brother hit two, our friends cautioned us about those Terrible Twos, but there was little terrible about it. Eli was a sweet boy, navigating a crucial year in his development with the same attitude as always.

Methinks we’re not dodging that bullet again. Which is why an article from on the Terrible Twos gave me hope.

If you find yourself bracing for those fabled “terrible twos,” relax. It’s the second year of life (the one you’ve just passed through) that’s among the more challenging developmentally. The actual “twos” tend to be a bit calmer and even more fun. 


Frankly, I think the next year is more about me adjusting as a parent than any misbehavior coming our way from Benj. That might sound like something the Dog Whisperer would say (“I rehabilitate dogs,  I train people”) but it’s more true than you think. My wife told me this morning that her latest child-rearing book (she’s always boning up on parenting) says the more strong-willed a child may be, the more creative the parent’s response.

Well, I’m a writer by trade, so creativity shouldn’t be a problem, right? It’s far different to write something imaginative than to apply it in real life. I marvel at how my wife invents games on the fly with our children, tapping her inner child so effortlessly it leaves me feeling … old.

That simply won’t do, of course. Benj deserves better, and I’m gonna make sure the next 12 months are as “terrible” free as possible. Of course, any tips you might have for dealing with a stubborn child are more than welcome. 


  1. says

    Don’t let the tantrum go too far. Change the subject if possible and if that doesn’t work, there’s always time out. Negotiate a treat if thats fits the bill. Treats always calm things down.

  2. Beth Trapani says

    I read a ton of parenting books – highly recommend “The Spirited Child” and my favorite, “Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids” – Dr. Laura Markham. Part of what’s going on here (I believe!) is that you guys totally lucked out with Elijah who was much more compliant than most… so Ben seems a lot more challenging, comparatively.

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