Children aren’t known to be compliant by nature and parents know they will sometimes have to manage temper tantrums. It’s part of their learning curve as they navigate through childhood towards adult life. But sometimes, the tantrums start becoming invasive and our child’s behavior starts to be cause for worry.
Evaluate his environment
It can be very unsettling when our nice and polite child suddenly starts screaming black when we offer him white or when they systematically reject the food we make them even if it’s their favorite dish. A mom could start wondering if it’s her fault and feel guilty about being unable to discover what is troubling her child.
It’s never a bad idea to see if our approach could be modified or improved in order to maximize our chances when we have to intervene with our child. In fact, it’s an exercise that allows us to assess how to best treat them for them to be receptive to our efforts.
You can also try to see if something in his environment may have contributed to a change in behavior. Have you moved recently? Is daddy gone on a business trip? Children can be very sensitive to the slightest changes to their routine and this might sometimes be visible in their mood. It may very well be that once the disturbance has passed, your little angel’s behavior will slowly return to normal once he’s had time to understand what was happening.
Have you heard the expression « terrible two »? It’s often used by parents with affection (or desperation!) and it describes an entirely normal and healthy phase in a child’s development during which they learn to refine their sense of opposition. Between the ages of 18 months and 3 years old, children begin to understand their impact on their environment and surroundings and quickly notice that they get more attention when they refuse to do what their parents ask of them. It’s therefore totally normal for them to test your limits, as they are right in the middle of a big learning process.
If your child is between those ages and you think he might be experiencing his « terrible twos », you can try to develop a strategy of intervention that will be well suited to both you and your child so you can help them get through this period. It might be a journey filled with trial and error, but the important thing is to try to guide your child by offering him tools to verbalize what he is feeling or what his needs are while establishing guidelines to reassure him.
I invite you to read the article The no stage by our specialist Solène Bourque in order to get some tips and tricks to help you guide your child adequately.
What if it’s more serious?
Although an opposition phase is normal and healthy for children, this phase should normally disappear around the age of 3 and the child should start enjoying a more harmonious relationship with his parents. If you continue to observe difficult behavior that is affecting the quality of your relationship, things might be getting more serious. If you are worried, don’t hesitate to call a parents help line to receive emotional support and go see your family doctor so he can evaluate your child and reassure you.