The term “the terrible twos” was one that finds its origins in the 1950’s (though no one has taken responsibility for it specifically), possibly due to the advent of baby boomer mothers who were left with toddlers pushing their boundaries in close quarters.
The truth, as any parent will tell you, is that the period of testing boundaries isn’t during (what would be awesome if it were true) isn’t confined to the second year of your little monster’s infancy.
From ages 1 to 4 infants/toddlers will test what the “no” boundaries are and push them the way that only a helpless child could get away with.
So the good news is that:
- You aren’t alone in your frustration
- It won’t last forever (there are different levels of child psychological turmoil to go through yet!)
- It is perfectly normal, even though you may think your child is Rosemary’s baby (google that)
(don’t miss our positive parenting post!)
So where do you draw the line between when dealing with spanking vs redirection when dealing with children of this young age?
The opinions held by professionals and parents alike on this subject are greatly varied, but in the end you will have to stand behind your own beliefs regarding physical punitive efforts (punitive is a good, solid word).
The consensus of many that are in favor of spankings say that spankings are typically reserved for reinforcement of basic behavioral training where it matters the most during development; don’t hit, don’t throw tantrums, don’t scream at your parents, etc.
It basically comes down to what you as an individual call acceptable behavior. When physical discipline is a part of multiple approaches to training your child’s behavioral patterns, and is balanced with other tactics like positive reinforcement, redirection, and other methods, the rewards are evident later down the road.
While you won’t reap the benefits of your efforts immediately (which at times might encourage negative parenting reactions on your part, which need to be avoided as much as parentally possible), the fruits of your labor will manifest in later years.
And, by the way, if there was a “terrible _” age group, it should be the terrible 16’s. But that’s just my opinion (and might or will be yours when you get there, wait and see!).