Study explains the terrible twos

webjockeywebjockey Posts: 2,786Registered Users
Having no experience with children other than the one that came out of my hoo-nanny-nanny, I'm curious if this is true for those who have experience with this age group.

from babble.com:

Two-year-olds act in response to things. They have no idea why they do what they do, they just do it. And then they are confused by the responses they get when they do. Does it do the same thing the 100th time? Let's fine out! But by the age of about 32 months kids begin to think about their behavior in terms of what will come of it. They feel they have some amount of control over their worlds. Ta da! The lightbulb appears, and they magically move from "stimulus-outcome learning" to "fully intentional goal-directed action".




from http://www.bounty.com/Study-explains-science-behind-the-terrible-....news/18477789

Children begin to demonstrate goal-orientated behaviour in response to expected outcomes from the age of three, new research suggests.

A study conducted at the University of Cambridge found that children aged 32 months and older act in relation to the values they place on the anticipated outcomes of their behaviour, showing the beginnings of the child developing behavioural autonomy.

The findings showed that by the age of three toddlers are able to pursue specific, more abstract goals outside of what they can directly sense.

According to the authors, "the period between two and three years of age brings about a transition in behavioral control from stimulus-outcome learning to fully intentional goal-directed action".

By internalising their control over certain events, toddlers can "act in ways that will help them reach the goals they value most".

Previous studies have also revealed that goal-orientated, intentional behaviour tends to develop in children between the age of two and three, explaining the significance of the 'terrible twos'.
hello.world.

Comments

  • Brown_Eyed_GirlBrown_Eyed_Girl Posts: 1,353Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    Interesting. I'm curious to see what others think too.
  • Oregano  (formerly babywavy)Oregano (formerly babywavy) Posts: 5,297Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    As a mother of a 3 year old, and 9 month old, that was too wordy for me to understand at 9 am.

    A couple of things I learned is that 2 year olds are like monkeys. They just DO. They are able to manipulate, and get into everything. They're curious about what everything is, and does, but they do not understand the outcome of what they do. They know they have the ability to do something, but the fact that you have control over whether or not they DO it can send them into a frenzy. I swear Curious George was developed with a 2 year old in mind. If pretend like your 2 year old is a monkey, and respond accordingly, you will probably do alright. :tongue5:

    Someone on the board mentioned once that 2 was the age of 'how can I control ME' whereas 3 is the age of 'how can I control YOU' - I think that is pretty accurate.
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  • marielle448marielle448 Posts: 1,823Registered Users
    :laughing5::laughing5:

    Sorry but it's so funny to read a whole study planned around whether or not 2 year olds have impulse control. Ask any mom, and she'll have her own case study underneath her feet.

    Although on a more serious note I'm glad to see information like that put out because you'd be surprised how many parents refuse to entertain the idea that their child's behavior has NOTHING to do with them or trying to be defiant on purpose. Watch a parent and child around the age of 18 months and the child trying to get something with fierce intensity. Some parents will say no while staying on the couch. Some will continue to say no, others will spank the child. Child still continues. Some parents will finally have a brilliant moment of clarity and realize that with the impulse at such a high level maybe moving it out of the way and engaging the child with something else might work OR introducing a 1-finger-touch might help to satiate the urge.
  • cosmicflycosmicfly Posts: 1,814Registered Users
    I think at around 2 1/2 with both kids, I began to see a glimmer of self control emerging, and I worked hard with them to "control your impulses".. Those were the exact words I used with Max, because he was a very impulsive kid, still is. There's definitely a time when they are young that they just can't control themselves without outside help though.

    I do think that for many kids, mine included, there is a difference between those implusive behaviors that are so annoying and that they just repeat over and over and behaviors that are more deliberate. WHat I mean is, many times they are doing something to see what happens each time, but there are times when they definitely want to see their caregivers' reactions to a behavior. I think that as adults, we project onto them that they know in advance that a behavior will elicit a negative reaction- I think they just need to see what the reaction will be. Not to say that a child can't be taught not to repeat a behavior- it's just a lot of work for a parent, especially one who wants to parent from the couch (kind of like I want to do right now, thank goodness my little one is napping and my big one is off at a birthday party).
  • Mamacurl3Mamacurl3 Posts: 1,559Registered Users
    Children in general are naturally impulsive and self-centered and skills like impulse control and selflessness are something they learn as they age. 2's are hard because they are so incredibly impulsive and need to learn by testing. 3's are hard because they eventually pick up the skills of maniuplation and their emotions and tantrums can be more intense. They are learning more about their emotions and often get confused by how they are feeling, we need to be there to coach them through their emotions, give them the words to express how they feel, allow them their emotions and set healthy limits on negative emotions.
    In my experience anyway;)
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  • marielle448marielle448 Posts: 1,823Registered Users
    see I'm not crazy about ascribing the word manipulaton to a child. The ways I do see children learning to manipulate is from their parents. Parents who like to use their own emotions as ways to manipulate their children into good behavior. Telling a child to behave so they don't "make" mommy angry. If a child believes that their own behavior is responsible for mommy or daddy's moods then they hold onto a large amount of power. Then parents wonder where their children learned such a thing.

    My kids don't like half the stuff I do because it prevents them from having the fun they wish to have. I still don't manipulate them into thinking that their behavior or moods affect me and how I react to them. A really great book to read on this subject is Easy to Love Difficult to Discipline. It's about taking ownership of your emotions and reactions vs. playing victim and passing off the responsibility to everyone else.
  • M2LRM2LR Posts: 8,630Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    Another really great book is Dr. Harvey Karp's "The Happiest Baby on the Block" and "The Happiest Toddler on the Block."

    I think, since I have a recently turned 2 year old, it's about impulse control. They don't know how/when/where things are acceptable, and how to have control over them and they also lack the verbal abilities to say that they are mad, sad, etc. Instead of telling me that she's mad when I don't give her juice, she cries, hits the wall, lays down on the floor and kicks her feet. As long as *I* don't play into this and immediately give her what she wants, she will eventually learn that tantrums do not equal "getting your way" or whatever.
    :rambo:
  • Mamacurl3Mamacurl3 Posts: 1,559Registered Users
    see I'm not crazy about ascribing the word manipulaton to a child. The ways I do see children learning to manipulate is from their parents.

    I see your point, manipulation can be a harsh word....esp if ascribed to a child. Though in a sense, based on one of the definitions of manipulate (5. manipulate - control (others or oneself) or influence skillfully, usually to one's advantage;) this is what children do. They learn about cause and effect this way; a baby who repeatedly drops a toy on the floor so that the parent will bend over every time to pick up the toy and give it back, is manipulating the situation and learning about the cause and effect of his/her behavior. I wasn't trying to imply that a child is manipulative, in a sense of deviance, rather than manipulating his/her environment and learning from as a result. kwim?
    I think I've heard of that book Marie, I'll have to take a peak at it. I completely agree that we have to take ownership of our emotions, and teach them to take ownership of theirs and in turn provide them with the skills to manage their own. It's a tough thing to do.
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  • marielle448marielle448 Posts: 1,823Registered Users
    Mamacurl3 wrote: »
    see I'm not crazy about ascribing the word manipulaton to a child. The ways I do see children learning to manipulate is from their parents.

    I see your point, manipulation can be a harsh word....esp if ascribed to a child. Though in a sense, based on one of the definitions of manipulate (5. manipulate - control (others or oneself) or influence skillfully, usually to one's advantage;) this is what children do. They learn about cause and effect this way; a baby who repeatedly drops a toy on the floor so that the parent will bend over every time to pick up the toy and give it back, is manipulating the situation and learning about the cause and effect of his/her behavior. I wasn't trying to imply that a child is manipulative, in a sense of deviance, rather than manipulating his/her environment and learning from as a result. kwim?
    I think I've heard of that book Marie, I'll have to take a peak at it. I completely agree that we have to take ownership of our emotions, and teach them to take ownership of theirs and in turn provide them with the skills to manage their own. It's a tough thing to do.

    not to belabor the point but in your example the parent is giving up control willingly. As a parent, if I don't feel like picking up the toy again and again (which is usually the case believe me) then I have the choice to put up the toy, engage the child with something else OR willingly choose to pick up the toy over and over.

    The child in that case is not manipulating the parent, it has nothing to do with mom. The child is engaged with the law of gravity and really could care less that mom is picking up the toy. They're more interested in seeing if the toy drops every single time they drop it.

    I think a lot of times when an adult describes a case of a child under the age of say 5 manipulating it's more the case of a parent who has given up control willingly by deciding not to proactively parent. I believe in positive discipline but it's definitely not permissive or side line parenting. So a parent who decides to just give up and hand the baton to the child will find themselves describing the situation as manipulative and the child will keep pushing and pushing to establish a boundary in order to feel safe.

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