The "terrible twos" don’t exist – it’s just bad parenting.

The terrible twos don’t exist.

Apparently parents create it. A generation of entitled self-indulgent parents who take their children to areas well beyond them and just expect them to fit in.

If we didn’t leave our homes and expose our toddlers to vast brightly lit shopping centres or noisy pubs or restaurants we wouldn’t experience the “terrible twos”.

If we just allowed them to be children and not expect them to fit into our lives, we wouldn’t have to deal with tantrums and meltdowns.

It’s not the child, it’s the way they are being raised.

That’s the opinion of a British behaviour expert, Gillian Bridge, who has told The Times that parents from other cultures were often “mystified” by the “terrible twos” concept.

“We expect to take our children to an awful lot of places and get them to fit in with adult arenas which we wouldn’t have thought appropriate years ago,” she said.

Yes, that’s right, that kicking, screaming, foot-stamping toddler who just threw a fist full of peas at the wall. That’s your fault.

That red-faced, bawling semi she-devil howling “Mine-Mine-Mine-Mine-Mine-Mine-Mine” at the Kinder Eggs display in the supermarket. That’s your fault.

A British behaviour expert says it's the fault of "the parents".

According to the author of The Significance Delusion toddlers in countries like the UK, the US and Australia are routinely taken to places where they are unlikely to behave well, such as the pub or cinema.

Your two-year-old refusing to put on her shoes, or let you change her nappy.


She says that parents are "inconsistent” and often did not behave to the standard they expected of their children.

She says we are “indulgent of childhood, holding no expectations that a young child should exercise self-control”.

She’s got a lot to say about how the terrible twos don’t exist.

Well I’d like to politely point out to Gillian Bridge that, with all due respect she is wrong.

And here is my proof:

Shauna's children at the age of two. Jasper, Odie and Emme. Image supplied.

That’s my three kids at the age of two. And while you might see three delightfully gorgeous cherubs. What I see is evidence.


Evidence that the terrible twos bloody well DOES exist.

While you might see three sets of big eyes, three sweet smiles and three cute little darlings.

I see memories.

Memories of tantrums, memories of wailing, memories of blunt refusal to do absolutely anything unless it suited them.

I hear the sound of no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no NO ringing in my ears.

Of “MINE".

"I've witnessed the twos, three times over." Image Supplied.

I remember the blows of tiny fists raining down on me at bedtime and dragging a shoeless two-year-old into a car because he don’t-wanna-ever leave the park.

I’ve witnessed the terrible twos first hand, three times over, and I can categorically state that it wasn’t ever in a pub.

(They were always kind of happy on the odd occasion they did go to a pub as they got a juice, a rare treat of hot chips and lots of slightly inebriated adults willing to twirl them around on demand).

My kids have had tantrums at playgroups and tantrums in the park. They’ve been difficult at bedtime and a howling mess after an afternoon nap.

They were all at once glorious and terrible two-year-olds whether it be at home, or at an “adult arena” such as our local Woolies for our twice weekly shop.

I’m not sure what behaviour expert Gillian Bridge suggests us to do – unless she is suggesting we quit our jobs, plant a veggie patch and become self-sufficient while our toddler gets through the 12 months of two but it’s a little hard not to expose them to “adult arenas".

Just won't tell them about the "three-nager."

What they need to know is that the terrible twos is very very real and very very scary. They just have to surrender. They have to realise their lives have been taken over by a mini dictator and the only way through is to bunker down until their little fireball hits the age of three.

We won’t worry them right now by with telling them about the "three-nager" they are about to meet.

Disclaimer: My three all made it through the terrible twos, three-nagers, ferocious fours and I've lived to tell the tale and still adore them.

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