A Two Year Old’s Frustration

Something has happened in the past couple of weeks – I’m not sure what or when this occured but it has been replaced with a two year old’s frustration. My two year’s frustration. At times it feels like it never stops and she seems to have heightened emotions about so many things during the day. For a while I had been a bit embarrassed about it, particularly as Emma seems to like lying horizontal, face down on the floor during these times. But the other day at the park, an empathetic Dad changed my mind.

We arrived at the park and it was empty, so Emma decided she wanted to go on the swings. We always start here whenever we visit the park, and usually soon after she wanders off to explore the slide or the roundabout. But on that day, it was all about the swings so we stayed for a bit but soon enough there were several children wanting to play on them too. So I asked Emma if we should try something new. She firmly said no, but after a while long I felt bad for the people waiting and got her out. We went over to the sandpit but she ran back over and stood there crying in front of another toddler until she got off the swings. The Dad said to me “two and a half?” I nodded. He gave Emma a tissue and said “yep, I’ve got two of them – one in each flavour” (looking at his twins) “it really is tough”. I remember thinking to myself, thank goodness it’s not just me.

Since Emma was a baby, I noticed how emotive she can be. When she gets upset, it feels like the worst thing in the world to her, she is fiercely independent and wants to do it all alone. For a while, this frustration she feels used to upset me too, but now I know that it’s just part of her growing up. Things have already changed dramatically as she can tell me much more using her words, but there’s still a way to go. That frustration manifests and I can see her looking up to the older children climbing the spider ropes at the park, and pointing to it as if to say “I want to do that!”. I want her to truly understand that one day she will. After all it feels like yesterday I would be helping her every step of the way and now she’s so much more mobile and doesn’t need mummy guiding her.

Yet even though this is just a phase, I want to help her as much as I can – so what should I do?

I know that Emma is a carrot not a stick kind of girl. I’ve been reading up on it recently and I’m just going to keep talking, keep explaining. I’ve been so surprised lately how much the little things really register and I’m hoping that by reassuring her a lot, it will help along the way. She’s still so young and I know there are a lot of changes in her life – she’ll shortly be moving up to the ‘toddler’ room at nursery and even settling her into this room has thrown up another layer of uncertainty for her. In the meantime, I keep repeating to myself all the cliches in the book, like ‘this too will pass’ and will be taking lots of deep breaths as I wait for the frustration she feels to fade. And it will pass, of course it will.

43 Comments

  1. August 15, 2017 / 5:58 am

    Learning to work through frustration now will definitely make her an awesome adult human! Great job momma! #DreamTeam

  2. August 15, 2017 / 6:19 am

    Mumma I feel you. My little munchkin is the same aged and we’re going threw this too. It’s frustrating on both ends. Sigh. Persistence is key here, just gotta keep swimming! Good luck xxx #dreamteam

  3. August 15, 2017 / 6:52 am

    The Popple does the same thing at the park – she hasn’t quite grasped the concept of sharing yet. It can be hard to manage, but I try to remind myself that it must be hard for her to not get what she wants and not understand why. And that it’s all a phase! #dreamteam

  4. August 15, 2017 / 7:13 am

    It absolutely will pass, I’m in this phase too and it’s really tough. I remind myself daily of how much things change and how quickly phases pass, helps me cope when we have days of non stop crying from both kids! Sounds like you’re doing everything right xx #dreamteam

  5. Tracey Abrahams
    August 15, 2017 / 7:29 am

    I saw this more with my youngest. He use to get very frustrated at not being able to do what his older brother could. #dreamteam

  6. August 15, 2017 / 9:30 am

    The frustration and anger stage really suprised me. I got frustrated and angry too! But have found that explanations really do help them process. Great post! #DreamTeam

    • August 16, 2017 / 7:19 am

      I remember saying agitatedly “You’re going to have to learn to talk because I don’t know what you want!’ when my eldest was going bananas and pointing at something….#Dreamteam

  7. August 15, 2017 / 9:40 am

    I’m not looking forward to this stage! It makes sense that they go through it though. They have a lot to learn and it must be overwhelming for them #DreamTeam

  8. August 15, 2017 / 9:59 am

    I love that the other Dad said that to you, I wish more parents would open up and admit to knowing about or experiencing the same thing! My son is 12 now and I can promise you that it does get easier, the frustration moves on and they generally just chill out a little more. #dreamteam

  9. August 15, 2017 / 11:15 am

    So many children are hyper-sensitive, they do get frustrated very very easily, but it does improve! They MUST have freedom, to be given tasking, things they are able to do, they gives them a lot of joy, in my experience (as a nanny working with hyper sensitive children). It’s all about just learning and building her confidence slowly. . . I’ve done different level obstacle courses in the garden before, things you know they will be able to do, so they can have that sense of achievement and independence and you know she’s safe (: P.S she looks like a real sweetie! #DreamTeam

    • August 15, 2017 / 11:29 am

      Aw thank you for the supportive message. I know exactly what you mean…I try giving her new things to do often and she loves helping me with day to day things – even loading the washing machine, makes her feel like she’s a big girl and I can see her confidence growing 🙂

  10. August 15, 2017 / 1:00 pm

    Whilst reading your post, I felt I was reading a bit of me and my little boy too. We are currently going through his 2 year old frustration as well and indeed like you, I am hoping this day will soon pass. In the meantime, I am going to channel some yoga strength in my day to keep me sane! I hope you can find a good outlet too. #DreamTeam

  11. August 15, 2017 / 1:38 pm

    My mummy remembers when I was that age and I had really bad episodes where I got frustrated because I couldn’t express myself. Every little thing set me off and it was always the end of the world!! Yes, it will pass – then replaced with something else!! 😉 #DreamTeam x

  12. Jodie
    August 15, 2017 / 2:04 pm

    My husband always says that phrase—this too shall pass. And it’s true. Maybe not fun in the process…but true…
    Jodie
    http://www.jtouchofstyle.com
    #DreamTeam

  13. August 15, 2017 / 3:06 pm

    Oh it will pass I promise you! It really is just a stage. As she develops more language skills she will also develop more patience and seeing another’s point of view. It’s so tricky so keep talking to her. I love that you do this. I also love that you keep reassuring her. The children with the stronger emotions are often the ones who need that extra cuddle as they take everything in. Keep strong and remember, she’s not being stubborn because it’s you, she is being stubborn or emotional because she can with you. If that makes sense! Lovely post. #dreamteam

  14. August 15, 2017 / 3:20 pm

    It easy to forget how hard it must be for them, not being able to communicate or process what they are feeling. Its cliche, but it does get easier #dreamteam

  15. August 15, 2017 / 3:43 pm

    I have to keep reminding myself that they are still little and are trying to understand so much. My eldest is behind with speech and language skills so she can get very frustrated when she doesn’t understand or can communicate to me what she wants or feels. We are slowly but surely getting there and I know by the time she will head off to school, things will hopefully be alot better. 🙂 x

    #dreamteam

  16. August 15, 2017 / 4:37 pm

    We are just coming out of this phase. For the last 6 months or so Clem has been exactly the same. They are just learning to communicate more, and starting to push boundaries and independence a bit more. It will get better x #dreamteam

  17. August 15, 2017 / 4:37 pm

    My mum calls it the terrible twos. I’m sure it’s down to the brain being more aware and wanting to decide. It’s a fine line between letting them be in charge of every decision to let them grow and managing them in the world because we’ve been there before and know the outcomes, like sharing the swing. Sometimes I think if I let these two young people sort out whose going to have this toy without intervening, then what will happen? I think they will start hitting each other but they’re intelligent people, will they read that the other is upset or fight for it or… but of course I intervene. I’m coaching social awareness and kindness. It’s a massive topic you’ve brought up. If you find the answers let me know. #DreamTeam

  18. August 15, 2017 / 4:58 pm

    When yo figure it all out, would you mind writing a detailed post on how to keep a two-year-old happy? Thanks! 😉 My littlest just turned two! Arrrrrgghhhhhh! Already it’s hard! #Dreamteam

  19. August 15, 2017 / 7:46 pm

    I can definitely relate to this. My daughter turned 3 last week and the last year was really hard in terms of her frustration and the resulting tantrums. My son went through the same thing, although not quite as extreme, and I’m not sure when he grew out of it, just that he did bit by bit. Things seemed to have eased slightly in the past couple of weeks but I fear that might be more to do with having her daddy home and he’s due to leave again in a couple of weeks so it could get worse again. Fingers crossed the phase passes quickly for all of us x
    #DreamTeam

  20. August 15, 2017 / 8:16 pm

    I think this age is difficult time because they are learning to speak and be quite frustrating to express themselves. It will calm down though when they can communicate more easier X #dreamteam

  21. August 15, 2017 / 10:14 pm

    It is so hard when they reach this stage but I also found that explanations go a long way with them, as does getting down to their eye level and giving lots of reassurance and cuddles!
    Good luck!
    We’ve just entered the threeanger stage!
    #dreamteam

  22. August 15, 2017 / 10:35 pm

    Emma sounds like a lot like Betsy when she was that age. Those personality traits put them in good stead I think! It’s flipping hard though, isn’t it? We have found with Boo that we can’t really spring surprises on her, she hates that. For example we’re going on a train and she absolutely loves having a window seat. If there isn’t one available? All hell breaks loose. But if we warn her while we’re waiting on the platform that the train may be too busy for a window seat then the realisation of no seat becomes easier to deal with. I hope that makes sense?

  23. August 16, 2017 / 1:23 am

    Guuuuuuuuuurl…
    Wait.
    Til.
    Three.

    #dreamteam

  24. August 16, 2017 / 4:23 am

    I’m in the same boat, got a 2.5 year old and the tantrums are real. But you seem to have a lot more patience than I do sometimes. It’s good to keep reminding ourselves that they are just 2, and it’s completely normal for their age. At the same time, I don’t want her to make a habit of throwing a tantrum or getting highly upset over a small thing. I don’t want it to seem “acceptable” when she’s older of course. It’s a tough one, but like you said, it will pass and we’ll be worrying about something else when they’re older. That’s motherhood. Lol.

  25. August 16, 2017 / 1:25 pm

    We’re just coming to the end of the “terrific two’s” for the second time and I feel your pain hon. I think so much of their frustration comes from just not quite having the words to convey the emotion and frustration. I’ve found with both of mine that as their vocabulary expands the tantrums abate. This too really shall pass lovely. It sounds like your supporting her and helping her to develop through it in a brilliant way. xx

  26. August 16, 2017 / 1:52 pm

    Like they would say it is all part of their development and growing into their own little person. The growing pains and the dreaded terrible twos – how I still remember that.

  27. August 16, 2017 / 2:04 pm

    My son is turning two soon and he already started throwing mini tantrums and wanting to do things his way. I keep telling myself it’s just a phase, they don’t call it terrible twos for nothing #dreamteam

  28. August 16, 2017 / 2:06 pm

    Feel your pain! Dealing with similar with my 4 year old! #DreamTeam

  29. August 16, 2017 / 6:40 pm

    Hi, what a nice dad to say that to you and offer a tissue. I think I would have wanted to go back to the swings as well #dreamteam

  30. August 16, 2017 / 7:11 pm

    #dreamteam ready for the most annoying comment ever: Don’t let her frustrations frustrate you. (easier said than done) but as us tiny humans seem to mimic the people around us, especially from a vibration point of view if you can stay positive and laugh it does help the moment pass quicker for you and your little miss independent. Best wishes x

  31. popcornforlunch
    August 16, 2017 / 9:03 pm

    Bless her, its such a confusing time and there’s just so much to learn (like taking turns and sharing)! I do remember the heightened emotions of my older two as 2 year olds. Everything was such a drama! But now that they’re able to understand and process it all things are easier for them (and us!) x #DreamTeam

  32. August 17, 2017 / 3:00 pm

    It’s great to read that there’s empathetic people out there happy to help. Our little ones have a lot to learn and master. They’ll get there with care and support from us and their peers. #DreamTeam

  33. August 17, 2017 / 4:15 pm

    Bridget, she’s at a tough age. My friends’ daughter (very emotive – I called it dramatic) just turned three, and I keep telling them “the terrible two’s” run from about 1 1/2 to 3 1/2! You’re doing great.

  34. August 17, 2017 / 11:11 pm

    So much of our job is that teach them about their emotions, how emotions are ok but there’s a way to handle and express them! Sounds like you’re doing amazingly to me! We’ve just started using a calm down area which seems to work really well xx #dreamteam

  35. August 18, 2017 / 6:50 pm

    Frustrations change with each stage in my experience. I found each age an increasing challenge and even though others say that you shouldn’t put it down to age, it just seems to happen. Patience is the most important thing to remember – by the bucket load! Keep smiling! #DreamTeam

  36. August 18, 2017 / 9:28 pm

    For anyone doubting the ‘terrible two’s’ please do check out my please dont call them the terrible twos blog post. It isn’t all as bad as it seems 🙂 #dreamteam

  37. August 19, 2017 / 8:39 am

    I do feel lucky that as Baby Lighty can speak so well, we have missed a lot of the early two year old frustrations. Having said that I’ve just diffused a tantrum about wanting cocktail sausages and crisps for breakfast!! And we’re not quite at two and a half yet, so I’m sure there’s more to look forward to, ha!! #DreamTeam

  38. August 19, 2017 / 12:43 pm

    Ben has started to get frustrated and I completely get it. Right now its communication that is the issue and he has started to growl to show his anger and frustration which as much as I dont want a kid that growls, I dont want to suppress how he feels and instead try to work out from his jibberish what he wants! #dreamteam

  39. August 20, 2017 / 6:31 pm

    Carrot and stick? I’ve not heard of those terms before. Is it a character type? Gorgeous little Emma 🙂 They come through it in the end, or more it evolves into a different way of being. We somehow managed to skip the terrible 2’s! But the 3’s – well threenager was an understatement. #DreamTeam xx

  40. August 22, 2017 / 8:47 am

    Ah yep we have been through this recently. Not so much the lying on the ground style but full on meltdowns over things usually at home when i take something off her or I say no. I struggled at first and often tried to ignore it or walk away but that just made it escalate. The quickest way i can calm mine down is to crouch down to her level, speak really softly and gently, say “are you sad? i know you’re sad/cross because xyz. Did that make you sad because xyz? I understand you’re sad/cross but sometimes we have to do xyz…” and that usually works. I’m now a lot better at calming a tantrum than my hubby! One area where I feel a small win every now and again!! ha! Sorry i’m late this week xx #DreamTeam

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