Understanding toddlers in what is considered as an age of extremes

Nathaniel proudly wears his Spider-Man mask.

For a two-year-old, the world around is a most exciting and interesting place. The way toddlers are mostly going to learn, at this particular stage of their lives, is through what they can and what they can’t do. Taking up extreme positions is one of their methods of dealing with life which can, of course, result to their being thoroughly unbalanced.

When a toddler can’t manage something, he frequently collapses. When he can’t open the door, he flings himself on the floor weeping. And when his father tries to open it for him, it won’t make at once things better, and that’s all because he wants to open the door himself. He could no longer bear the idea of being shut out and nor did he likes to think that Mom or Dad could do something he couldn’t.

He feels small, abject, and humiliated yet, on other occasions, he would be feeling quite different like being delighted, for example, when Mom or Dad comes to fetch his bike for him; he would feel like a thrilled little prince as he tries to scoot off. And yes, he can be really bossy and, at times, wants to impose his will on everyone and everything. This is a state of mind that can last until the third birthday, but it’s in the two-year-old that you can see it first.

Parents should not be immediately discouraged or frustrated seeing their toddler behaving that way. Instead, they must come to think about why their little child so often resorts to bossiness. Who knows it can be just a child’s defense mechanism against the feeling of being inferior or small and weak.

Toddlers are physically very small and part of their extreme view of the world is bound up with the reality of their ages and stages. Parents need only to think that they, including all the grown-up ones, can be around three times their height, to imagine what giants all the adults in the world must look. The adult and grown-up people your toddlers may come to know about must seem alarmingly powerful, filled with knowledge, and one that’s packed to the full with surprises.

A two-year-old is there to also begin finding the force of the word “no.” In a way this can be good as most parents don’t want their children growing up without being able to assert themselves or to refuse what could be bad for them. The problem, however, could be such that toddlers are at the very start of growing up and that they often quite literally never know what’s good for them.

Two-year-olds are, to use a metaphor, like people in charge of a big crude machine. They lack subtlety so that when something looks nasty they may refuse it with all their energy, never mind the fact that only last time, they were able to accept it with so much eagerness. Of course, they need adult minds in helping them extract order and sense from what might otherwise be the confusion of existence.

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