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It’s very tempting to jump in and help your child in all sorts of situations. Allowing them to try things out, like dressing themselves, teaches them how to look after themselves, even if you do find it slightly frustrating at times! Download Book 1, ‘Being a Parent’ FREE right now!

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PostHeaderIcon Strong-Willed Two-Year Old. Help!

My two-year old daughter is becoming increasingly demanding and strong-willed. I don’t seem to be able to move without her either screaming or hanging onto me all the time. It’s as if she just wants her own way all the time. It’s incredibly frustrating as I can’t get anything done and sometimes I find I’m so tired I lose my temper and shout at her, which I’m always sorry for afterwards.

Have you any suggestions on how to get through this ‘terrible two’s’ phase any easier?

Sandra, Epping, UK

Supernanny’s reply:

Children learn about attachment to their mother, or primary care-giver, at an early age but if for any reason this attachment isn’t secure, such as the child or yourself may have spent some time in hospital, the child can become quite anxious when you leave her or are out of her sight.

While you may find her behaviour a sign of her developing a strong will and ‘trying to get her own way’, she genuinely does feel as if she’s being left alone.

The one thing children of all ages require is attention. If they can’t get good attention, they’ll behave in such a way as to get any attention, good or bad. Pushing her away and getting angry will only make the situation worse.

I would suggest spending as much time with her as possible over the next few days, playing or reading with her and ensuring that you let her know if you have to go into another room so that she is aware and can come with you. At the same time, if you can start to accept and acknowledge her feelings (see Book 2 ‘Feelings’) and speak to her openly and congruently about what you have to do, you will find she will quickly be a happier child. A child’s natural state is happiness and within a week of giving her lots of good attention, you should find a significant change.

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Being open and honest are possibly the most important factors in family communication. Sadly however, it happens rarely due to the fact we are not encouraged to say how we feel as children. If we are scared to tell the truth we will justify lying to save ourselves but being open and honest allows other people to trust us and feel safe with us.
Have you noticed how little children do not know how to be dishonest? ‘From out of the mouths of babes…’ as the expression goes, however they stop doing that when they are ticked off for being blunt and then learn to keep things to themselves.

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Basic relating skills, like communicating our feelings with openness and honesty, and valuing our own and others’ needs, could be considered basic survival skills. Book 10 enables you to examine and practise these skills.

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