Gillian Bridge, a former lecturer and therapist who is now a trained psycholinguistic consultant, said the tantrums are down to parents’ lax discipline and “unrealistic expectations”.
Bridge said too often, toddlers are taken to places for adults where they are unlikely to behave well, such as the pub or the cinema.
In this instance, she said parents discipline children even though their behaviour is only to be expected in that situation.
“We expect to take our children to an awful lot of places and get them to fit in with adult arenas which we wouldn’t have thought appropriate years ago,” she told The Times.
Bridge explained the concept in her latest book ‘The Significance Delusion’.
Speaking about the behaviour she’s noticed at the nursery gates, she wrote: “There we will find harassed mums and dads who are either vainly attempting to restrain their struggling, squawking tinies or hopelessly giving up on the attempt, while all around them voices mutter sympathetically about the ‘terrible twos’.
“It’s as though these parents have to endure some kind of innate human torment, a rite of passage.”
She explained that in other cultures, such as Asia and some parts of Europe, parents are more “indulgent of childhood” and don’t have the expectation that children will have self-control in such situations.
However, she said there is an acceptance in Britain and America of the “semi-feral behaviour called the terrible twos”.
Responding to Bridge’s comments and the topic she has researched in her book, Siobhan Freegard, founder of video parenting site ChannelMum.com told The Huffington Post UK: “Anyone claiming toddlers from different cultures don’t have tantrums clearly hasn’t travelled much!
“Although there are some small-scale studies which support the theory, they typical involve just 30 mums in lab conditions, not out in the real world where things are rather different.
“The key thing is to realise toddler tantrums aren’t bad behaviour. Rather they’re an expression of your child growing up, becoming independent and trying to find their own way in the world.”
Freegard added: “If you are going through the ‘terrible twos’ - and whether this is at 15 months or three years - cut yourself and your child some slack and try to see the world from their perspective. A little understanding goes a long way in helping make the twos much more tranquil.
“Mums are already under enough pressure and don’t need more lectures blaming them for what is a normal, natural and even desirable part of child development.”
What do you think?
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