Do the terrible 2s make you feel terrible too?
Being the parent of a toddler can take its toll. A psychologist looks at the issues.

When your toddler races down the passage and smashes out his front teeth, do you beat yourself up while waiting in the emergency room?  Do you agonise over what you should've done to protect him?

Or perhaps your toddler has a huge temper tantrum in Pick 'n Pay and you can't calm her down.  You feel like a useless mother and like you're the only one who can't discipline her child effectively. Do you feel like your self-esteem has plummeted and that you're a bad parent? Has the terrible twos phase taken its toll on you?

You're not alone.

What it's like having a toddler

• Toddlers bridge a number of developmental gaps in a short time span - they learn to walk, toilet train, develop language skills and become independent. Your helpless little baby very suddenly turns into a mobile explorer.  Everything within grabbing distance will be grabbed.

• Temper tantrums are common because they suddenly have very strong emotions that they are unable to express.  He will learn what it's like to feel angry, hurt, afraid and jealous but won't yet be able to know why or how to control these emotions.

• They realise that they are separate from you and have their own free will.  These outbursts are their way of testing their new boundaries.

• Toddlers can be fiercely determined, unpredictable, demanding and difficult to reason with.  They are barely 2 feet high but they feel like they own the world.

• Toddlers don't feel like they are understood because their thinking is way ahead of their language skills.  Their understanding of language is about 8 months ahead of their speech - imagine how frustrating that must be!

• Although tiring, this is also a very special and fun time as a parent.  Your little one will constantly amuse you with new words, crazy ideas and novel discoveries. They also become very loving and affectionate at this age, which any parent just laps up.

7 ways to cope with a tricky toddler

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