Sunday, April 24, 2011

T is for Terrible Twos

Note: I'm throwing my hat into the A-Z Blogging challenge sponsored by Tossing it out! What you will be reading via the letters A-Z will give you a glimpse into my world and what I do when I'm not here - blogging.

Let me set the stage, if you will... 

It’s a few weeks before Christmas, about three or four years ago.
I’m doing a little last minute shopping at a local drug store. I am there to take advantage of discounted Christmas cards.
Standing on my left is a woman, also looking at cards. Her little girl, about two, is rummaging around the lower shelves where large plastic candy canes, full of colourful gum balls, are in her line of vision and within her reach.
The ‘little darling’ starts grabbing and rattling these candy canes and then tosses them on the floor; she then proceeds to reach for other items, which are clearly not toys, and tosses them to the floor as well.
Her mother, the empty-headed irresponsible female on my left, does nothing. Really, she’s in la la land and is so focused on her box of discounted cards that she is unaware the fruit of her loins is being an irritation to me and everyone else in this particular aisle.
As my imagination runs rampant and I envision myself drop kicking her (this could be either mother or child) into next week, I look at the little girl, who is now quite out of control with her destruction of shelf one and shelf two, and I say, “Stop that right now! Don’t touch!” 
You need to know I said this loud and clear, in a low and deep tone; (none of this high pitched yelling for me) anyone within a one aisle radius would have heard - except the useless one. 
The child is so startled (because it’s probably the first time someone has talked to her in this “I mean business” tone of voice) she starts crying. See, she’s smart - she know her parental unit will cave to her little crying act - at two they already know if the parent is weak or not!
The mother (if I can even call her that because I've lost all faith in motherhood at this point) looks at me and says, “How dare you talk to my little girl like that. It’s obvious you don’t have children.”
Tsk, Tsk….wrong thing to say to moi!
I smile; then calmly and very quietly, but still in the same low, deep tone, say, “If my twenty year old daughter were with me today she would be the one giving you a reality check on what an irresponsible parent you are. And I would agree with her! You suck at parenting.”
Her whimpering little offspring finally caught my tone and stopped her Academy performance, whereby I added, “I feel sorry for your child, she deserves a better parent.”
Now, for the 411 (that means ‘info’) on me and parenting. I am not an expert on parenting, but then neither is anyone else.  And that is a fact, by the way.
I have, like many other humans, given birth to a child and that in and of itself does not an expert make! Shocking I know!
The surprise, to many, is how long of a process it is to turn out a relatively decent human, and then only if it’s done with intent. 
Intent means actually giving a damn about the raising and educating of one’s offspring, and not relying on the rest of humanity to pick up the slack because one is just too tired or can’t be bothered.  
The human brain is a blank slate at birth and needs to be instilled with compassion, kindness, respect, tolerance, positive attitude and most importantly manners.
These behaviours are instilled through example, instruction, and perseverance on the parent’s part. Dare I say this is where the failing lies - it seems very few have the time or the energy to parent with intent these days.

If you have ever watched a professional dog trainer you will note they talk in a clear, direct manner and with a tone that means business. No wimpy, whining, pleading, high pitched, endless nattering will be found in a professional dog trainer’s voice. Never!
Have you ever watched a mother in a grocery store when her toddler won’t listen - it’s pathetic. I will, on occasion, step in and with a commanding voice tell the child to, “Stop that and listen to your mother.” I sound like Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator.
What cracks me up is that some parents will look at me and tell me to mind my own business. It’s then that I tell them it is my business, because they aren’t keeping that annoying little thing of theirs quiet in a public place. If they would do their job I wouldn’t have to step in and do it for them. I know, I know, one day someone’s going to go postal on me!
We know that dogs with bad behaviour are the product of irresponsible owners  - is it any different with children that exhibit bad behaviour? No!
I’m not advocating raising a young child as if it was a pet, but the premise is the same.
In the early, informative years children need strong parental guidance; they need boundaries and, surprisingly, they actually want perimeters in place so they can test them and learn what acceptable behaviour is.
Yet, so many parents think they will be depriving their toddler, in the throws of the terrible twos, of some great self-discovery or major life experience if they set boundaries and enforce them. 

Too bad...all kids ever want is the knowledge that their parents care enough to set boundaries - it let's them feel protected, even if they protest.
So...have you come across any children in their terrible twos lately?
Until U...


  1. i've alway felt lucky in the fact that my son has never thrown a temper trantum to get what he wants. however he will pull an attitude in a heartbeat when he doesn't want to do something or wants to make a point it's very annoying.

  2. he he a charming story.
    I haven't been much around little kids in my life, but I did have my share of wild and crazy teens :) since I worked in a High School when I was around 26 or 25 :)

  3. Great post! You need a license to drive a car, hunt bear, fish for carp, buy beauty supplies (the GOOD stuff), get married, have a dog (well, you SHOULD), operate a forklift, or a number of other things. But, not to have kids.....

  4. It just drives me nuts when people just let their kids do whatever and don't pay any attention. When they are little is when you have to constantly pay attention.
    I usually run into them when I go to the dentist or doctor and the kid runs around. The mom tells them to sit, but never makes them actually sit down. It's like, "They didn't listen, oh well".

  5. Yay, Jenny! I want to make copies of this and hand it out to all of those pathetic excuses for parents I run into at the stores on a too regular basis. Hmmm... I just may do that. EXCELLENT read! Made my morning coffee that much more enjoyable! Thank YOU! ;)

  6. Well said! I so agree. My son has some pretty negative flaws at 29 and I did my best but I will say he was well behaved in public, has good manners, and does have a good heart. He fought me tooth and nail well past the age he should have been. When I moved South he was devastated but he's standing on his own two feet.

  7. I feel lucky that my kids were angels when they were younger.

  8. Becca
    No one expects kids to be perfect; if your son has never thrown a temper tantrum count yourself lucky.
    It’s all in how a parent handles the tantrum that defines good parenting!

    I like it when you “he he” my post - puts a smile on my face! (makes me envision you having a little laugh)
    Teens are a whole different package and worthy of a post all to themselves! (makes me ponder the idea...after this A-Z Challenge I’ll have to look into it)

    I agree - licensing should be mandatory.
    There should be classes offered in school (mandatory too) about parenting and child-rearing. Then have students do a practicum at a local daycare to get their credits.

    Hopefully you jump in and risk life and limb to point out the obvious failings of the parent in question…(laughingly said)
    Often, actually far to often, what you write about is a daily occurrence most of us witness but aren’t sure what to do about.
    I say - speak up and speak out! Someone has to help the children!

    Can you see my big grin… :)
    Me and your morning coffee - I’m honoured be be in the company of anyone’s coffee!
    Feel free to make copies - we need to stand united in our cause to correct lousy parenting!

    Wow! You’ve hit on a very interesting point - what is he end result, in adulthood, of the work we put in when our children are young?
    Does it really pay off, is often the question.
    If we “do everything right” why do certain things still manifest themselves - such as negativity or selfishness or even disrespect.

    I have come to the conclusion that we are really less influential then we think and that the world around our children, from birth into adulthood, is the real force to be reckoned with.

    Your son is a lucky man to have you as a mother. Helping our children to become stand-alone, self-reliant people is the biggest challenge.

    What...not’re slacking off!
    Must I come over there and speak with you in a “deep, low tone”...hmm?

    I’ve always figured you for a great dad that cares about how his kids are raised, from reading some of your earlier posts.

    You need to do an update on how the kids are doing - last I remember reading you were all sick on the sofa watching a great movie!
    It all adds up to how much time and attention we throw in to the package, right?

    High fives to everyone for weighing in on this subject.
    You all rock!


  9. Terrific post! A lot of parents are oblivious to what there little darlings are up to. I see it all the time in stores and restaurants. Good for you!

    A funny story: Years ago when my girls were little my parents came for a weekend visit. We ended up at the Bay in the toy section. The girls, my mom, and I were in an isle looking at toys while my dad was lagging behind. I went back to see where he was when I saw him pick up some noise making toy and play with it for a minute or so. A couple of minutes later a sales clerk runs into the isle to yell at "the kid" to stop playing with the toy! She was flabbergasted to find a 60 yr old man having so much fun! I told him to go sit in the car......not really he's my dad!

  10. Carole - I laughed out loud and "wee dog" jumped!

    You dad sounds cool! I'm a kid at heart and love playing with toys.
    I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall for that story.

    Thanks for sharing - it's the best part of commenting!

    Cheers, Jenny

  11. When my step daughter was around three I gave her a fifty cent piece. She asked me what it was. I told her it was her manners and she was now old enough to have them. I explained to her how to use her manners and whenever she was acting up I would ask her if she had her manners. 9 out of 10 times she would pull that coin out and I would say now is the time to use it. It worked! Great story I think everyone can relate!

  12. Bushman - That is a great story!
    Have you thought of doing a post on it!
    There are so many clever ways to teach our children about manners - this is really a good one.

    When my daughter was a little girl I tried hard not to tell her she was a "bad girl", instead I told her that her behaviour was bad.

    When she acted up I would get her little stool and sit her in front of the Hall mirror and tell her she needed to see if she could find her good behaviour, and that when she found it she could come and show me.

    I think she loved that little 'game' - she would always rush right over with, "Mama, Mama, look I found my good behaviour!"

    Ah...the memories!

    Thanks for dropping by and sharing your story! Do think of making a post out of it!

    Cheers, Jenny


Thanks for sharing your thoughts.