Terrible Twos

My youngest is two, coming up three. We went through a really tricky phase with him when he was smaller but that seemed to have passed…or at least we felt his behaviour had improved.

He is going through a very tricky phase at the moment.

Today he had a meltdown that lasted almost two hours. He hit, kicked, screamed, cried, threw things, self harmed…and just didn’t know what to do with himself.

There was a clear trigger but once he was in the grasp of the meltdown…there was nothing I could do to help him out of it.

I think I have mentioned it before, but he hates being touched at this time. Sadly, I could not give him the space he so craved as he was being very dangerous. I had to restrain him.

Sometimes I make sure he is placed somewhere safe and let him essentially crack on. Sometimes he requires touch and security. Sometimes he just needs to get it out of his system on his own. Sometimes he needs assistance and adult intervention. The trick is knowing when to use each approach. Today I just didn’t know what to do with him.

When I say almost two whole hours…I mean it! I am not exaggerating! This poor child was so beside himself. He was bright red, extremely hot and his heart was racing like crazy. He sobbed and couldn’t breathe properly at times, and the noise he was making was clearly hurting his throat and making him cough. He was angry, upset and confused, and his face was wet with tears.

It is so awful feeling so helpless.

This meltdown started while we were out so I strapped him into his stroller and walked home. Luckily most of the people I came across gave me a friendly smile.

Luckily, I can shrug this behaviour off as ‘terrible twos’ but I wonder what the heck I am going to do when that is no longer an excuse I can get away with.

People suggest all the time that his behaviour is due to his age. Some things are, of course. But these tempers and meltdowns are beyond what you would expect of a typical child. What concerns the professionals is the extremity and duration of his meltdowns.

It is such a shame, as in everyday life he is such a bright, helpful little boy. I feel this behaviour, which genuinely seems to take him over, gives the wrong impression. I know as he gets older, just like with my eldest child, we will be able to put strategies in place to help him self regulate. Or at least I hope so. But for now, I fear we have many more of these episodes to come.

Some people have suggested that he is merely copying his older brother. This is also incredibly insulting. This was obviously one of the first things I ever considered but the children are completely different. In fact, it isn’t insulting…it’s infuriating. I know people are probably trying to help but all it feels like is that they are patronising me. People like to give you very obvious suggestions and advice that of course you have already tried and considered. I wish it was as simple as they all seem to think it is.

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