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The terrible two's - how to deal with tantrums

Jag gillar inte alls uttrycket trotsåldern. Troligen för att jag själv är mycket nöjd och stolt över min trotsighet och blir glad när jag ser egenskapen hos barn. Men så ni fattar vad jag menar – jag pratar om barn i två-tre-eller fyraårsårsåldern som får psykbryt och ilskeutbrott av oftast minimala orsaker.

Börja med dig själv – se till att du inte hamnar i trotsåldern själv!

When your child has reached this stage of development, you as a parent have temporary higher demands placed upon you. You should not get worked up and don't lose your temper at the child. Especially not to the child. In addition, it is an advantage if you manage to fool the child with food, take them to preschool and get the child to bed for some time.

Så börja med dig själv: se till att du orkar. Det är det gamla vanliga: ät ordentligt, lägg dig i tid på kvällarna, träna gärna och se till att du träffar vänner ibland. Om du är illtrött när du ska hämta din tvååring på dagis, pausa på ett fik. Ta en kaffe och en banan, eller bulle, eller smoothie och varva ner i 20 minuter innan du går till förskolan. Hinner du inte: ta ett mellanmål på pendeltåget.

Never forget the snacks during the Terrible Two's

It does not always help from afar, but if you have a child who is close to anger, so for god's sake, make sure the child gets food every three hours. Hunger is your worst enemy when your child is old age. Bring a fruit or raisin package to eat in the carriage home from kindergarten.


Snacks at daycare are good against temper tantrums
Sleep for a three-year-old child

Much easier said than done, but try to maximize the child's opportunities for a good night's sleep by making sure the bed is comfortable, the room is dark and reasonably cool.

And keep the same sleeping time and laying down routine every night. Conflicts around laying down are usually worth addressing. In my family, it is an important principle that the parent decides when it is bedtime. If the children protest I stay with them and remind them of this. When they get up, I put them back in bed.

You can read more about nocturnal children here. 

Choose your battles!

As I said, I choose the laying down time. On the other hand, the controversy is not about which bed they should sleep in, what toys they should have, what is on the table to eat, or what to wear. Rain jacket, sun hat, backpack and rubber boots was what my two year old wanted to wear when we were out in the sun eating ice cream. Why not? He was satisfied, I was satisfied. I had a short temper myself. Cute, matching pajamas may not need to be the most important thing at this particular age.

Choose your battles, what is there to contend with here?

Ipad, mobile and other screens then, can it help or is it a struggle to choose?

Read more about Ipad, mobile and screens for young children in this post.

Confirm the child's feeling!

It's my favorite number two. “Oj, vad du är arg och ledsen” is something my kids usually like to hear when they're angry. Sometimes they say “Ja! Dumma mamma, dumma pappa, dumma storebror!”. Then I usually answer “Känns det så, det måste kännas väldigt ensamt för dig om mamma är dum, pappa är dum och storebror är dum. Hur är det med favoritnallen, är han också dum? “ Try it, it often has a redeeming effect on my three year old.

Don't argue!

To say “men att du fick fel färg på strumporna, det är väl inte så viktigt, de rosa strumporna är ju lika fina som de röda, tycker jag”  has never helped. So I've stopped doing that.

Remember the framework of the situation

Det kan kanske tyckas nära att argumentera, men är inte samma sak. Du som vuxen bestämmer ramarna för barnets vardag. När det är dags att lägga sig. När det är dags att äta. Vad som ska stå på bordet. När det är dags att gå på pottan/byta blöja. När film stängs på och av. Att man inte får slåss.

If needed: remember the current framework. “Du får vara arg, du får säga att jag är dum, men du får inte bitas! Stopp!” or “Jag hör att du vill bygga lego, men nu är det matdags, då tar jag med dig till bordet”.

Prepare for the next activity!

If the child's outburst often comes when the child is about to change activity, such as stopping to watch movies and start eating food, or stop being out and about, etc., prepare the child for doing one or the other soon. Not so infrequently the child can then say “Ja, ska bara bygga färdigt sandkakan först” or “ja, när jag tittat färdigt på den här Byggare Boben” etc, and in my experience it is that if you wait those extra minutes then everything goes smoother then.

När du inte orkar…

When you can't cope with the baby anymore, take a break. Let the child be with someone else, and please read this post on the topic:

Att känna sig som en hemsk förälder – när man inte orkar vara mamma

Also read the nice guest blog post by a mother with borderline personality disorder and a broken childhood who had to fight extra hard to learn to be a good mother.

Becoming a good mother when one's own childhood was awful

Read more:

To aim high enough

Få bebis att somna –  tips för att natta med framgång

Ipad eller mobil till små barn  – är det farligt?

What can I write about my child on Facebook?

Att känna sig som en hemsk förälder  –  när man inte orkar vara mamma

Becoming a good mother when one's own childhood was awful

Food for young children who eat poorly or refuse food

Podium about struggling with colic, fear of RS virus and children who refuse to bathe

All posts about parenting challenges can be found here

33 thoughts on “Trotsåldern – så hanterar du treårstrots hos barn”

  1. I have a daughter who will soon be five. She has now for a long period been angry and "defiant" in laying.
    It starts with the fact that she absolutely does not want to go to toilet and pee, nor brush her teeth. But once we have succeeded in doing so, it is time to read the book (which she loves). But she does not come to rest. She eels, kicks and makes noises for herself to not fall asleep. Sometimes it just screams and I lose patience and get unnecessarily angry, usually end up not being a book at all then.

    I really have no idea how to deal with this. The laying has taken almost 2 hours each evening and sometimes longer. This has never been a problem before.
    Thanks in advance!

  2. I have a daughter who will soon be five. She has now for a long period been angry and "defiant" in laying.
    It starts with the fact that she absolutely does not want to go to toilet and pee, nor brush her teeth. But once we have succeeded in doing so, it is time to read the book (which she loves). But he does not come to rest. She eels, kicks and makes noises for herself to not fall asleep. Sometimes it just screams and I lose patience and get unnecessarily angry, usually end up not being a book at all then.

    I really have no idea how to deal with this. The laying has taken almost 2 hours each evening and sometimes longer. This has never been a problem before.
    Thanks in advance!

  3. I try everything with my daughter. She has a will of steel ... as do I. In some cases, ship law goes to ...! There is hysterical screaming cry; - I want, will, etc. Nothing works what I do but when dad gets in the same seat he manages to do much better. She listens to him. This makes me feel terribly small and unsuccessful as a mom. ..

  4. I have a wonderful daughter who is 2 years and 3 months. About a week ago, she started by saying no to all suggestions. Do not want to go to the toilet, eat, go to kindergarten, you name it. During the days things go pretty well. Sometimes she gets a real outbreak and then she throws things but it goes over immediately. The worst is in the evenings at bedtime. We try to follow the evening routines but the last days she ended up crying for 15-20 minutes and fell asleep after she got tired. Some tips?

  5. My 4-year-old daughter is in a really bad period now and then she sometimes decides that nothing is right and whatever you want it is wrong. Did a quick search on google "how to deal with abusive age" and this post was one of the first to show up and it counted "start with yourself." And "make sure to cope." To remind me of the strategy i myself chosen and wanted to use me with my children but who so easily end up at the sneak when you are in the middle of everyday jokes and children who throw things at each other and never seem to be kind and happy any longer without finding reasons to 'mess' .

    In short, thanks for a very good post, just right reminder without being pretentious and pointy-sticky.

  6. This was exactly what I needed to read!

    My daughter (2.5), who is a happy and independent child almost even, has begun to break in hope and be sad for the little one. Have reasoned at home as you write about choosing times, setting limits on violent expressions and confirming the feeling.
    In recent days, the preschool has pointed out that she is very sensitive so I have begun to doubt that she is “normally defiant” but feels better now 🙂

  7. Oh what a great forum I found. Is just in a situation where I just want to shut myself in the toilet and just cry. Could it be wrong for my upbringing? Have I failed completely? Why isn't my 2 year old girl happy and happy just like all her other friends at preschool? Why is she screaming? Throwing down and kicking? Frustrated? Angry? Dissatisfied? Why are all her friends in the lucia led singing while she screams with anger next to her? Why doesn't she want to eat? (No she does not follow her weight curve) always conflict with toothbrushing. Have I failed so completely? I love her most of all. I am a preschool teacher, sir god I should be an expert on this kind of thing. But I have no idea, not even a little ... I've begun to "ignore" her outbursts here at home. Children scream she may be angry. But gone? In the shop of friends? At kindergarten? Not a clue .. and liiiite of her outburst probably depends on the food, but she refuses to eat (usually) and believe me we have tried all the tricks that go (she eats porridge morning and evening). Now I sound very negative and bitter. But now the goblet has run over. I'm powerless, is it despite or is it about upbringing? Have we done something wrong? Or is there a rubbish personality in it too? Very good posts and tips that I should definitely try. Just count to 10 breaths and hope it will be a quiet teen

  8. Oh what a great forum I found. Is just in a situation where I just want to shut myself in the toilet and just cry. Could it be wrong for my upbringing? Have I failed completely? Why isn't my 2 year old girl happy and happy just like all her other friends at preschool? Why is she screaming? Throwing down and kicking? Frustrated? Angry? Dissatisfied? Why are all her friends in the lucia led singing while she screams with anger next to her? Why doesn't she want to eat? (No she does not follow her weight curve) always conflict with toothbrushing. Have I failed so completely? I love her most of all. I am a preschool teacher, sir god I should be an expert on this kind of thing. But I have no idea, not even a little ... I've begun to "ignore" her outbursts here at home. Children scream she may be angry. But gone? In the shop of friends? At kindergarten? Not a clue .. and liiiite of her outburst probably depends on the food, but she refuses to eat (usually) and believe me we have tried all the tricks that go (she eats porridge morning and evening). Now I sound very negative and bitter. But now the goblet has run over. I'm powerless, is it despite or is it about upbringing? Have we done something wrong? Or is there a rubbish personality in it too? Very good posts and tips that I should definitely try. Just count to 10 breaths and hope it will be a quiet teen

  9. I'm trying here because I feel we really need advice now. Our son is just right defiant, fat, curious and lovely, just as a 1.5 year old should be. But at one point we have problems. After loving all our cats throughout his life, happily cuddling with them and patting them, running around the apartment with a leash behind him, laughing so he almost solidifies and a cat chasing after, this family idol has now been broken. He has started screaming in falsetto when he sees the cats. The cats are fleeing and have started to be scared of him, we get a headache because he is really screaming for a long time and we don't know how to handle it. We have tried to say no, to get angry, to be disappointed, to explain that the cats are sad and scared, to ignore him, to praise him when he is kind to the cats and not scream, we have always sat on his knees at his level when we talked to him, we even tried to ignore him in weak moments but nothing helps. He keeps screaming, doesn't seem to react at all to us telling him and we feel so sorry for the cats being really stressed by this. Does anyone have any idea how we can solve this? Previously, we have always been able to get him to stop doing things when we told him. I realize this is just a new game for him with the kisses, he screams and they run - super fun…

  10. What I can feel frustrating is that all tips revolve around how I best handle a child, but I find that the difficulties usually arise since the second came.
    Developing children's own ability to resolve conflicts, take turns, agree on rules, respect for the integrity of others and how they are a good friend is something I focus on a lot.
    Then proactive diversionary maneuvers are amazingly powerful tools!

    1. My "problems" came when the 2nd was about 7 months and started to take care of it ... it separates 22 months between them.
      Have a hard time distracting the big one because he doesn't speak very well and understands mkt but not all words. One is just over 3 years now and the other 17 months, is maternal joy with the little one right now.

  11. What good text that I really needed to read right now. Sit. With bad conscience and sadness that I screamed at my soon to be three year old son. Really crossed the border and threw his boots into the wall, among other things ... Really never want this to happen again. Have to think about these tips, not forgetting these basic needs…

    1. Same here, has a son who is 3 years + 3 months and a son who is 17 months… the big one really bears us. He challenges me all the time and never gets satisfied .. He talks very badly with what is extra frustrating (goes with a speech therapist) But that it is always "fight" as soon as you change clothes / change clothes, change diapers or otherwise is really heavy. Needed to hear these words with, however, all other children here seem to talk more so then it is easier to talk the children to the right or "fool" them.
      Have anxiety every time I get the big one from kindergarten when I have to adapt the whole em to him so he should not have any outbreaks. Is a mum with the little one and he is compliant and go

    2. Also sorry ...
      My 3.5 year old son can sometimes not accept a no and what happened today was that he was not allowed to pour water into the jug and go out and out of the house with it.
      Then he screams and yawns and starts swinging the pitcher at me. Then I got mad and pissed him off, pulled the jug out of his hand and scolded him.
      To 98% it is about myself not being educational enough but not always. Would like to have tips on what to do in these situations. I am alone with the conflicts, which is extremely stressful. I'm almost always relaxed, unstressed and flexible but it doesn't always help ...

  12. I have no direct tips, but have a now four-year-old daughter who sometimes during her three-year life had huge eruptions-like when you just have to let the storm out and have her arms ready when it calms down. Tough when little brother came at the same time.
    My best advice is to take your own time-out, breathe and count to ten.
    Don't give your child too many options.
    ALWAYS let the child press the lift button first. ALWAYS.
    And maybe call your parents and give them feedback so many years later: thank you for "standing out" with me when I was the same. I think I got a completely different respect for my pears since I became a själv myself

  13. My boy is only 8 months so far, but already there is a lot of will and discovery desire in that little body and he has now started to break down completely when he is not allowed to continue with what he wants at the moment, for example. splash in the sink or be out on the balcony. This is a bit new and I find it wonderful and exciting! The little doll starts to unfurl its wings, I'm so curious about him! At first, I was slightly appalled by these emotional storms but when I got to thinking about it I came to: 1. He does not want to argue / get his will through / defy my will, he wants to splash / investigate / look more 2. What does it look like his perspective? Well, I'm the one who quarrels with him! He is passionate about discovering life and I take the right to cancel what is super important to him. No wonder he gets wooded. When I think about it, it usually feels quite okay that he gets to do what he wants for a while, and if we don't have time or I don't have the energy or really don't want, then I interrupt but confirm his feelings, comfort him and tells me why I interrupted and then try to be honest with my own feelings and needs (which is awkward! but probably the most important bit ...).

    Realize, of course, that this challenge will grow significantly with the child, his body control and his world ... hope, however, that it will continue to feel exciting anyway! In the back of my mind I have two concepts that I think help me so much: from Jesper Juul: children always want to collaborate with their parents, conflicts mean that something does not work for the child that makes it impossible for them to cooperate, from NVC: everything we humans do , we do to satisfy needs, and all people have the same needs and they are all beautiful.

    One question, can you elaborate why you think it is so important to keep rock hard at bedtime? Interesting theme! Do you feel that this is the most effective strategy for giving your children the most sleep?

  14. Have a child of 2.5. Very own will, great integrity. It's fun but so damn hard sometimes. Often I just stand there with a scream-crying kid who may be lying in a rigid arch on the floor or sidewalk and I do not realize where things went wrong. After an eternity of screams: "Dddd-you took off my fleece shirt !!". Sorry like, just tried to help you with the arm stuck.

    I often feel inadequate. Don't want to nag, bribe, threaten or cheat but still end up there too often.

    I always try to be calm, let go of everything else (ignore that I get a little late for work) and let things take their time, give the child much responsibility and trust the child, put words to my feelings, apologize when I do wrong.

    Soon a little sibling will come and I hope we haven't taken any water over our heads.

  15. Thanks for the wise words. Agree on how important it is that both children and parents sleep and eat enough to be able to be patient. I don't believe in nagging and 'winning' battles. With my children (4 and 1.5) it has worked with a lot of heat, some fixed routines and dialogue.
    I have read the book 'five times more love' by Martin Forster and received lots of good, concrete tips, highly recommend it.

  16. With us it feels like we have conflicts every day, with two 5 year olds and a 2 year old.
    Of course it is good that they have their own will (get it again now that I was obviously the stubbornness myself), we just have to teach them what is ok behavior and what is not. Fighting and being mean to others is not ok behavior. Unfortunately, they don't seem to care much about what we say until we lose patience and raise our voice, which I don't like at all: - / and not even that sometimes helps.
    The thing about being alert when it is approaching to do something else, turn off the TV, eat, go away etc. it does NOT work on one 5 year old who gets totally rabid almost every time. Although I received a confirmation that he heard what I said, there will be screams and noise every time it is time. Still, I warn in good time three to four times before it's time * sigh *
    What worked best when he started showing bad attitude is to ask "do you really want us to start arguing about this?" Or "do you want us to argue and scream or do you want us to have a cozy and enjoyable evening / day / excursion? ”, do not always work but usually.
    Any good tips on how to work on getting the least "mummy"? For the last six months, it is only me who applies, which is very stressful since the others also want to spend time with me and my husband also wants to be able to spend time with the minstrings without her protesting…
    But clearly I have more patience when I am rested and not stressed or hungry 😉

    1. Oh. It seems tough to you. Can you and your husband help more? Divide the kids so you (you) do five-year-old stuff with the big ones and your husband does things with the two-year-old? Do you have any other adults who can help sometimes? Maybe even five-year-olds need their own time with an adult one by one?

    2. And ask preschool staff for advice about your angry five year old. How does it work there? Do they have any tips?

    3. it seems that it works well at preschool what we were told when i asked before. Only at home he is like that, assumes he feels safe in daring to test us which is not good 😉
      we try to divide them sometimes so that only one child can come along with for example shopping and sometimes I have free Fridays then they have great turns to have a "mother's day" when they get to decide the schedule, they like it and they are completely different then they are themselves than everyone else is. Then they get all the attention for themselves 😉
      It will probably go over eventually, live on the jump…
      Lucky for the good moments considering the painful 😀

  17. I want to emphasize that it is not just about children of pre-teen age. Many of the above tips I use when the five-year-old or the nine-year-old break down 🙂

  18. What works for me when nothing else goes into my ears is that I ask if we have to argue with each other. Then he always looks at me and answers no and does what I asked for, like wearing his pants or eating the sandwich. Nothing I do too often.

  19. Also love that my 2.5-year-old daughter has a well-developed will! So have I and my daughter's will has made her start walking at nine months, decided on her own to stop diaper when she was just two and that she was running the alphabet at the same time. Fantastic, and what life force there is in the will! However, sometimes it needs to be handled. Undeniably. I've started setting the egg bell or timers on the phone. Now she is quite impressed with it. In the playground, at home, in front of the TV. She buys it! Sometimes I try to change activity without it and then she often asks for it. I realize it is a way for her to buy herself some more time but usually it is enough to set the timer for one minute and then she buys the concept. The clock seems to give her predictability and security for what is going on and right now (!) It works very well.

    Glad you are back !!

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