"Just wait": two words I hated hearing more than any other words in the English language after my first child was born. For some reason, people love to torment new parents by gleefully warning them of all the awful things their baby will allegedly do once they become a toddler. I swear I must have heard about the "terrible twos" a million times. I was half expecting my daughter to turn into an actual demon when her second birthday hit, but I learned that there more than a few myths about the terrible twos that don't always sync up with reality.
My daughter is rapidly approaching her third birthday, which means we've been in thick of the terrible twos for a while now. And while there are certainly many moments that have made me want to scream (sometimes several times a day), my child has never turned into the little monster I was warned about. Maybe I'm just lucky, or maybe the terrible twos aren't all they're cracked up to be. (And now that I've said that, I'm sure they'll be a whole chorus of people warning me about my upcoming "threenager").
No two children are exactly the same, to be sure, so I'm not saying your soon-to-be 2-year-old child is going to beg a saint because mine was relatively easy to handle. But there are at least seven common misconceptions about the terrible twos that you've probably heard and can absolutely feel free to ignore.
1. They Only Last A Year
The so-called terrible twos are totally misnamed, according to Parenting. They can start long before your little one's second birthday, and the bratty behavior may not wrap up until well past their third birthday.
2. They're Just Testing You
It's easy to believe that your child is simply pushing your buttons for the heck of it, but CNN noted that their toddler brains just aren't well developed enough yet to control their behavior.
3. They Enjoy Destruction
If your toddler leaves a path of destruction throughout every room of your home on a regular basis, it's not just because they get a kick out of watching you clean up. Enfamil noted that toddlers are extremely curious, so they're most likely dumping out every drawer in your house and raiding your kitchen cabinets simply because they love to explore
4. They're Being Naughty On Purpose
Sometimes your child's frustrating behavior can seem like a conscious decision on their part; a decision they could avoid altogether if they simply wanted to. But Parents noted that kids at this age can't really help themselves, and can feel just as confused as you do when their impulses lead to conflict.
5. It'll Get Easier As They Learn To Talk More
You would think that as your child's vocabulary expands, it would become easier for them to calmly communicate their needs. But in fact, sometimes it can make it harder. Psychology Today noted that a child's ability to express their thoughts and emotions can make things more confusing for parents, who are suddenly wondering why their loving toddler is now claiming to hate mommy or daddy.
6. Meltdowns Are Unavoidable
Just because your toddler can go from zero to meltdown in two seconds flat doesn't mean that tantrums have to be a fact of life or a common occurrence. What To Expect noted that knowing what triggers a toddler meltdown and doing your best to avoid it can make your life much easier. That may mean sticking to a nap schedule, avoiding sugar overload, or simply making sure your hungry little one gets fed on time. Yes, even 2-year-olds get hangry.
7. You'll Just Want Them To Be Over
Speaking from personal experience, as trying as the terrible twos and the toddlers years in general can be, this is also a wonderful time in your child's development. When they're not busy cutting a swath of destruction, 2-year-old kids can be incredibly hilarious, fun, and sweet. For every "I don't like mommy!" I've heard from my toddler, I've probably heard 100 more, "I love you so much mommy!"'s. I can't say that I'll miss scrubbing paint off every surface in my home or taming a meltdown, but I know I'll miss just about everything else about toddlerhood when my daughter gets older.