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 Taming the Terrible Twos

By Mark Domet, M.D.

The terrible twos refer to the developmental stage when a toddler transitions from relying on parents to seeking independence. Behaviors can include mood changes, temper tantrums, meltdowns and using the word no. Boys Town Pediatrics offers explanations and advice for parents during the terrible twos.


  • Entertainment Source. Most often a toddler can feel provoked when an item is taken away. Meltdowns tend to relate to an object or source of fun like toys, phones, a television or gaming device remote.
  • Developing Milestones. While the terrible twos can be difficult for parents and caregivers to navigate, keep in mind your toddler is developing milestones such as motor, intellectual, social and emotional skills. His or her eagerness to use the word no or control their own motor skills, like running and jumping in public areas, can lead to expressing angers and emotions with behavior meltdowns when a parent enforces rules and limitations.

How to React As a Parent

Try to stay calm when a temper tantrum occurs and offer comfort. Depending on your child’s reaction, ignore him until he has calmed down. Limit your own use of the word no and instead use other forms of discipline such as redirection or humor. By accepting the changes your child is going through and showing him or her proper reinforcement during this difficult stage will help the whole family overcome the terrible twos!