Terrible twos. A child experiences an awakening of consciousness.

Reframing the terrible twos.

Parents often dread or begrudge the terrible twos, and for good reason: they are the first and most enduring source of child and family conflict.  Yet the origin of these conflicts and associated tantrums and unrest is a profound and healthy leap forward in a child’s development.  We seldom come into these episodes of ParentTalk with a rhetorical mission in mind.  This week is an exception, as we look to reconsider the terrible twos as a “big bang of consciousness,” the first of many stages in the development of a child’s imagination, selfhood, and a larger understanding of their place within their families and their worlds.

As with all of these discussions, our hope is to create and enhance lines of understanding between parents and their children.  In this episode, Arthur and Susan use this reframing of the “terrible twos” to help parents better understand many of the more enduring challenges of daily parenting—from discipline, to toilet training, to negotiating conflicts associated with sibling rivalry.  For parents and loved ones of young children, this episode is a can’t miss.

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“What does brain development have to do with the everyday conflicts I get into with my 15-, 18-, or 24-month-old child?  That’s the question. They’re not just closely related.  They’re causal.  The fact that we have a big bang of consciousness is the reason why a child is going to have these tantrums.”

– Susan Glaser

Episode Highlights:

– Understanding consciousness in early childhood.

– The Big Bang of Consciousness, and how it relates to the terrible twos.

– Imagination and conflict.

– What tantrums tell us about a child’s development.

– Applying understandings of child development to family conflict, tantrums, and discipline.