My son is not quite two yet (he will be two in 2 months) but I have already started to notice some "different" behavior. Now by "different" I mean bad behavior that I have not seen before. Not happy about this, what happened to my sweet little boy? So my questions are when do the terrible twos typically start? How long does this phase usually last for? and Is there anything I can do to prevent some of this bad behavior from starting?

asked 02 Dec '09, 18:21

Melissa%201's gravatar image

Melissa 1
accept rate: 15%

Mobility and curiosity are also factors. When they can get into things and you tell them "no," it can spark a tantrum.

To me, the Twos aren't that bad because then it is generally done out of innocence. I think the Threes are worse because when you tell them "no," they smile at you, then do it anyway. They do it just to push the boundaries.


answered 02 Dec '09, 22:22

mkcoehoorn's gravatar image

accept rate: 8%

edited 02 Dec '09, 23:36


I totally agree. My 2 1/2 yr old daughter wants to do what she wants, when she wants and when the "no" factor arrives she gets very upset. And in our case she also does things she's not supposed to do on purpose, so there is no innocence there, maybe she entered the 3's early. lol

(02 Dec '09, 23:38) Sabrina

Agreed. I always thought that whoever coined the phrase "the terrible twos" never dealt with a three-year-old.

(03 Dec '09, 11:40) Graeme

Well with my first daughter it started at about 18 months. I could not figure it out for a while till one day at least with my kids I figured out they were mostly mad because she had something to say and I could not understand what it was she wanted. So when my second child came I taught her Sign language Just the simple baby sign to start then more but I know it sounds funny but with Her I did not go through the terrible twos It was nice and I contribute it to me being able to know what she wanted from me. Timetosign.com and Signing time are really great resource to help.


answered 02 Dec '09, 19:47

Mary's gravatar image

accept rate: 10%

+1 for overcoming the communication barrier. I loved this answer!

(02 Dec '09, 20:00) Emi

In my experience, they start about as soon as a toddler begins to establish a significant vocabulary and grasp real verbal communication. In other words, as soon as they start can losing arguments :D


answered 02 Dec '09, 22:07

Joel%20Coehoorn's gravatar image

Joel Coehoorn
accept rate: 18%

+1 Just loved this answer..

(03 Dec '09, 13:47) Emi

Our little girl just turned two this week. She's a good girl and usually cute as a button, but last month she started acting out at bedtime. Over the past few weeks we started to notice mood swings and tantrums over failures on her part to communicate to us exactly what she wants (her language is not perfect yet, but getting there). Another thing that has become apparent in the past two weeks is her will to clothe herself without our help, which at this point is impossible for her.

I guess the Terrible Twos manifest in many ways, according to stages of growth in the child. Some children get them earlier, some later. There's no definite age, but it should be around age two. Sorry, that's my best answer :-P


answered 02 Dec '09, 21:06

Yuval's gravatar image

accept rate: 6%

I can see signs of it now at 14 months!

The terrible twos are said to be caused (among other things) by the child knowing (or not knowing!) what it wants, but not having the vocabulary or ability to express it and hence getting annoyed. So it's whenever this starts to happen...


answered 02 Dec '09, 22:31

Mungo's gravatar image

accept rate: 3%

Don't worry, the issue of your boy having "different" (and sometimes exasperating) behaviors you haven't seen before is just a phase. It will soon pass, most likely within twenty or so years.

But seriously... We also noticed "terrible two" behavior start around 18 months, and in some ways it still continues (he's 3+ now). Though I have to admit that at no point was he unmanageable in the way that I think is stereotypical "terrible two," so on the whole we have nothing to complain about and 90% of the time he's a delight.

It varies a huge amount from child to child.


answered 03 Dec '09, 17:54

lgritz's gravatar image

accept rate: 14%

I will try to answer

Is there anything I can do to prevent some of this bad behavior from starting?

by giving my personel view on how you can reduce or try to eliminate Terrible Two syndrome as much as possible.

We have seen and also experienced that friends whose children attended playgroups and nurseries and who interacted with young children of similar ages were not behaving as badly as toddlers who were always at home with their parent or carer.

I have copied a section of an answer that I think may be useful to you.

Playing with other children that are his age could be fun and add another dimension to his "little world"

I have often thought about the "Terrible Two Syndrome" and have honestly wondered whether toddlers are bored but they are unable to say that to us, perhaps they need more challenging enviroments at that age, somewhere they can discover things, play, share, and most important of all be part of a group and not a little individual fighting for more attention.

Our daughter attended a nursery when she was 20 months old because I offered a job. I was not too sure about sending her to a nursery, that young. But when I looked at the situation from a different perspective, I realised that it was certainly worth trying.

So depending on where you are and the opportunities available to you I would recommend finding nursery enviroments/or play groups with other children of similar ages.


answered 03 Dec '09, 13:24

Emi's gravatar image

accept rate: 19%

edited 03 Dec '09, 17:45

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Asked: 02 Dec '09, 18:21

Seen: 10,935 times

Last updated: 03 Dec '09, 17:54