Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The “TERRIFIC” Twos!

Recently, I received a call from a dear friend that said, "Staci, my precious, darling, seemingly perfect daughter (17 months old) has become a whiny, strong-willed, child that throws temper tantrums in the grocery store! I've told her 'no' and used every "Super Nanny" trick in the book, but it hasn't helped. I feel like I am about to snap under the pressure."

Have you ever faced adversity that sends you spiraling and wondering if you can ever bounce back? Have you ever faced a season of life that challenges your patience and ability to "keep your cool"?

When I listened to this desperate mommy, part of me wanted to chuckle, remembering those wearing and challenging days when my kids, too, were developing their will and testing their personal boundaries. I specifically remember being at the grocery store when my precious son decided to throw his first tantrum. I told him he could not have the candy he felt he so desperately needed, and he threw his body down as if he had been hit by a torpedo and proceeded to pound the floor -- wailing incessantly.

I’ll be honest…..there was a part of me that just wanted to walk away and act as if he belonged to the lady behind me. Another part wanted to look at him and say, “Who are you and what have you done with my precious little boy?” I was embarrassed, upset, and ready to call the 1-800-moms help line!

Bend and don't break!It was around that time that I became extremely interested in the study of neuroscience – the study of how God created our brains, how they develop, and how we have been given the power to change our actions and reactions at any course in life, no matter how long we have been conditioned. In one of the books I had been reading, I read a chapter on the development of a child’s brain. It actually stated that what some moms call the “Terrible Twos” are actually that period or phase of life, where vitality and normal brain development is taking place. So, if your child has suddenly started expressing his/her will, around the age of two years old (maybe even a few months before that….like my friend’s little girl at age 16 months), don’t allow frustration to set in. Instead, be thankful that your child is right on track…..neurologically. I know that in the middle of that “grocery story” crisis, it can be pretty difficult to be thankful, but, trust me….this time will soon pass.

As I listened to this first time mommy in distress telling me about her daughter, I realized she needed practical help to get her through this season of transition. The first thing I shared was:

1. Give thanks for the “normal” development of your child’s brain. She’s right on schedule with her growth and development. She is expressing her growing independence and doesn’t have the language skills to easily express her needs…..or wants. I promise….this phase will not last!

2. Be clear with your boundaries. If you child throws a tantrum, make sure that you are clear with your dissatisfaction of their behavior by getting on their level, perhaps on one knee, look them in the eye, and say, “No, that is unacceptable! You will not behave that way. Do you understand me?” Then take them away from that location to an immediate time out spot where you can enforce boundaries and their need to respect you. I realize this will be inconvenient for the first couple of days and it may interrupt your personal agenda, but trust me, it will be worth it. YOU MUST BE CLEAR WITH YOUR BOUNDARIES! Yelling commands or shouting “no” across a room is not a language a child can understand and it will breed future communication issues. It may scare them temporarily, but it is not teaching them the lessons they need to learn, nor is it giving them a good pattern for communication. You must be clear, direct and on their eye level. If you are dealing with a teenager, this rule still applies. YOU MUST BE CLEAR WITH YOUR BOUNDARIES, be direct in your expectations, and then make sure that you are speaking on their level. Don’t just walk away and act like it didn’t happen. Address it immediately and in a way that they can understand. Of course, as in all attitudes and correction, never yell at your child in anger.....correction, though it may be clear and direct, should always be done in love.

3. Choose your words wisely. Your words can speak life, hope, destiny, and possibilities to your children, or they can speak words of anger, rage, and negativity. Recently, I went online to read posts from moms dealing with what they called “The Terrible Twos”. The title alone spoke of negativity and degrading words. Why call them “The Terrible Twos”? Why not call them “The Terrific Twos”? There is a scripture that tells us that “Whatever a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” That means that if you believe and say that you are in a season of Terrible Twos, you are going to receive the Terrible Twos results. If you, instead, choose to believe the BEST even when the worst is displayed, you will eventually see the BEST come to pass. Speak words of hope, affirmation, encouragement, love, support, and kindness to your children. Don’t degrade them or demean them by speaking words of anger, negativity, or defeat. Those things you say today will be apparent in attitudes you see in them tomorrow! Sow words of love!

4. Bend and don’t break! Recently I heard Pastor Danny Chambers, Oasis Church, Nashville, TN speak about the importance of being flexible in adversity. He told of how the palm tree is known as one of the most resilient trees in the world because of its ability to bend in the midst of great adversity, and yet, not break. Faced by hurricane force winds, a palm tree can take an onslaught of opposition, and yet, bend with the wind and bounce back even stronger.

When faced with incredible opposition, whether it is emotional stress, physical pain, relational challenges, or even a child expressing his will,BEND AND DON'T BREAK! Your ability to ride out this season will determine the results you see in the aftermath of the storm. Take it from a mom and leader who has faced her own seasons of great adversity. This, too, will pass and if you don't let it break you down, it will build you UP!

I hope these four tips help you in your “Terrific Twos, Twelves or Twenties” journey. After all, this is just a season that will soon pass, and like me, you’ll look back on these times and remember and be thankful for your ability to cope, bend, and be a strong and loving leader and mentor to those who you love the most.

Until next week, know that our team is praying that you experience God’s peace and that He will give you strength to endure the storms of life and bounce back in greater power and victory than ever before.

Believing God's best for you today...


Staci Wallace

Contributor to "THV This Morning" Show
www.staciwallace.com
www.emwomen.com

37 comments:

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I really liked your post about The “TERRIFIC” Twos!