Soon after my second son was born, I knew I was in real trouble on two, distinct days.  The first was in the ‘Mommy and Me’ art class at the zoo that I had signed me and my toddler up for.   This was my attempt to give him extra attention while he adjusted to being a big brother.  As he refused to do anything the teacher wanted and wound up in a full-blown tantrum in the hall, I knew our special ‘mother and son’ time was an epic fail.  His tantrums and fits were becoming legendary.  The second time I sensed real trouble was when I was bathing the boys together.  My toddler did everything he could to give his baby brother a beat down in the tub.  Moving forward, I learned quickly to give them separate baths for safety reasons.  As for the raging toddler?  I didn’t know how to handle his mood swings.  It seemed the harder I tried to contain him, the more uncontrollable his emotions were.

I had to make lots of adjustments to our lives.  We didn’t go out very much.  I all but gave up on story times and play groups.  I honestly thought things would be easier with my second kid.  He appeared more laid back as a baby but as he grew, he quickly escalated to this:

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Yes, the toddler years through roughly age four, were a challenge in my house.  Let me tell you the good news because yes, there actually is good news.  This stage doesn’t last forever and it is a normal part of a child’s development.  Having survived these years I can also tell you the positives of having two very strong-willed children.  They know who they are.  They are independent.  It’s easier to let them go out in the world because you know they will stand up for themselves and for others.  When they commit to something they give 110%.  They are a force of nature.  They can be really, truly amazing kids.

When you are smack-dab in the middle of the stage, the light at the end of the tunnel can seem an eternity away.  To help support you, Riverview Counseling Services is offering a FREE Parenting Workshop giving you an overview of this challenging phase of raising children.  In this workshop “Toddler Know-How: Behavior Basics for the 3 and under crowd”, you will get the information you need to know about the typical developmental stages of your toddler.  Sometimes, it helps to know that your challenges are normal and that other parents are facing the same types of things.  To learn more about this workshop scheduled for Thursday, February 26 @1:00pm, please contact Cheryl Denz 630/587-3777 x103.

Written by Diana DeVaul MSW and Parent

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