I think the hardest part of having a toddler is the fact that they have SO much independence… yet you still have to do virtually everything for them. They don’t want to sit still long enough to eat, get their diaper changed (if they haven’t been potty-trained yet), get dressed, get their teeth brushed, get their hair brushed (or plaited or ribboned if you just so happen to have a girl), or anything that takes longer than thirty seconds. As the parent, you’re very much aware of how important these small things can be… you have enough life experience to know that skipping lunch will make for a hungry, cranky child later on, you know that brushing your teeth will keep them from rotting and falling out, you know that brushing your hair will keep it from knotting and tangling into an unmanageable mess, but a toddler doesn’t understand ANY of that. All they know is that you holding them down to brush their hair or sitting them down so they can eat lunch means that they’re losing out on valuable playtime.

I think that’s where the terrible two’s really come from (and believe me, that’s not a stage that I look forward to). I think that the toddler starts fighting for their own independence, but they see that they’re still really reliant on their parents, and that frustrates them. It would frustrate me too if I were them. Imagine being thirsty for your favorite apple juice, but when you tell your mother that you need something to drink, she brings out a cold glass of milk instead. How frustrating would it get after trying to communicate to her again and again that it’s the apple juice that you want, only it comes out wrong, and time and time again she brings out other beverages that you have no interest in. For someone who has little self-control and no concept of social behavior, throwing yourself in the floor would be a tempting way to let out your frustration.

It’s hard to be patient with a toddler, but it’s a learning experience. Sometimes it isn’t all about your frustration… you have to realize that they’re frustrated too.