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What would the difference be if we called them the Terrific Twos?

Why not the “Terrific Twos”?
Why not the “Terrific Twos”? HEIDI WALKER

Today’s column was prompted by a note from a friend. She wrote to say she would love to be able to take one of my parenting communication workshops because she was deep in the throes of “The Terrible Twos.” I wrote back and asked, “What would the difference be if you turn it around and called them the ‘Terrific Twos?’”

This week I would love some feedback from readers to include in a future blog post that will help to turn the tide on the phrase “The Terrible Twos.” Labels are destructive, and there is no more destructive phrase than this one, as far as I am concerned.

I think that the twos are terrific, and I want more parents to look at their child’s two-year and toddler stage in this way.

I remember loving the fact that I now had some inkling to what my little ones were thinking about and wanting to do , as opposed to when they were sitting there as a baby without the language or physical capabilities to really get it all out. I loved seeing their personality developing and getting a glimpse of the child they were becoming. I remember it felt like I could almost see the cognitive and physical developments taking place so quickly. I loved the twos for each of my three children and made a conscious effort to refrain from describing this stage as anything but terrific.

According to Alan Kazdin, Ph.D., director of the Parenting Center at Yale, the phrase “Terrible Twos” has been around since the 1950s. He says, “It’s an old fashioned idea and not supported by research.” So why do we continue to use this phrase when it doesn’t help our relationship-building with our children at this stage?

Help me get rid of this phrase by going to the comment section of this story on and sharing your memories or current experiences of what you love about “The Terrific Twos.” Your comment could be used in a future blog post.