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The Toddler Paradox: The Terrific/Terrible Twos


As a children’s librarian, I have a front row seat to the greatest show on Earth: toddlerdom. Toddlers are fascinating, brilliant little people whose curiosity drives them to seek new experiences every waking hour of the day. At the same time, they lack practical knowledge, time-sense, and impulse control. This combined with extreme emotional intensity can lead the most angelic two-year-old to behave like a complete maniac. In her new book, How Toddlers Thrive, developmental psychologist and Director of the Barnard Center for Toddler Development, Dr. Tovah Klein explores the unique challenges parents face when their babies enter the dreaded “terrible twos”. She writes,

Toddler behavior is often paradoxical: they seem to swing between extremes for no apparent reason—or at least, this is the way it looks to us adults…Why do their moods and their actions seem so erratic and hard to predict? How can we love them with all our hearts, but feel so powerless in the face of their crazy-making behavior? The answer to these questions is found when we peek inside their brains and understand what makes toddlers tick.

Klein’s approach is not a one-size-fits-all approach. She offers no easy fixes, but rather encourages parents “see the world through your toddler’s eyes”. She calls this shift in perspective a “Parenting Point of View”. The goal is to help parents approach the day-to-day challenges toddlers dish out with a clear head and full heart.

Of course, she offers no guarantees that you won’t want to tear your hair out sometimes. Since misery loves company, read Jason Good’s: 46 Reasons My Three Year Old Might Be Freaking Out. Keep in mind, brave parents of wild little maniacs: THIS TWO SHALL PASS!

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