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They Don't Call It The Terrible Twos For Nothing

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Come on, admit it. You were certain there was no way your adorable angel would become one of those raging two-year-olds you see screaming down Aisle 6 at your favorite grocery store, right? Miss Angel, unfortunately, had other plans for you, though.

And now the Terrible Twos have hit, and you are wondering when it will end. Just as soothe sayer in Shakespeare's "Julius Ceasar" warned the great emperor, "Beware the Ides of March," all parents ought to be forewarned about the Terrible Twos, preferably at birth.

But all is not lost. There are some tricks you can shove up your sleeve right now for ease of use when the battle begins.

Trick No 1: Ignore the tantrums

When a tantrum erupts, you can squash the fire by not feeding it. Meaning, do not give your toddler the pleasure of a positive or negative response. The school of thought here is that the toddler will learn that not only do the tantrums not bring him what he wants, but Mommy and Daddy don't even care to watch it.

Trick No 2: Diversion, diversion, diversion

As soon as your toddler starts raging, quickly switch his focus to something else. Start a game, bring out the coloring crayons, start a video, try to tickle him, give him a piece of fruit or some juice. Don't give into the tantrum, but make him focus on something else instead of what he cannot have or do at the moment.

Trick No 3: Start time outs

Admittedly, time outs are much more effective with older children, but two is a great time to start the habit of sending him to his room or to bed if he insists on throwing a tantrum.

Trick No 4: A little discipline never hurts

Say you are at a restaurant when your toddler decides he wants French fries and he wants them now. And he decides to scream at the top of his lungs until he gets them. What's a mother to do? Pick him up, carry him outside, set him down and let him know exactly who is running the show. And guess what? It's not your toddler. A very stern discussion, a good whap on the diaper, mixed with a little finger waving can do wonders.

Trick No 5: Above all, keep your cool

This stage, too, shall pass. Your job is to get you and your toddler through the Terrible Twos without strangling him and without compromising your authority.

I like to look at the bright side of things, including the Terrible Twos. There's actually a part of me that beams with pride everytime my two-year-old throws himself on the floor as if he's stealing third base and kicks and screams. What independence! What intelligence!

Your toddler is testing the boundaries, discovering some serious independence -- and learning quite a bit about social skills and expectations. This is an extremely normal part of your child's development, just like learning to crawl, walk and talk was. Keep in mind, though, that this is also the crucial stage where your child learns exactly how far he can push you to get what he wants -- and to get to you. Do not think for one moment that this is not a game. It is. And you as a parent must win.
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