I vividly remember Judd Apatow's Slate diary from two years ago in which he described his 2-year-old daughter Iris's meltdown at a mall, because it so epitomizes what it's like to be around a toddler. "Iris had such a knipshit (as we used to say) — a total meltdown — that I thought I was going to get arrested by cops who thought that I had kidnapped her. All I did was tell her that we already owned Shrek when she asked if we could buy it. Sometimes that is all it takes. She sat down in the video store and screamed at me, 'Get out of the store!' about 50 times." It goes on from there, but Apatow's vignette proves what any toddler-wrangler already knows: they're all little stinkers.
A new study from Lehigh University, which shows that mothers argue with their toddlers an average of 20-25 times per hour, proves the stinkerness of toddlers beyond a shadow of a doubt. But toddler moms should not despair, according to CBS News. "Those conflicts were more likely to get resolved without major drama if the kids had a good relationship with their mother and weren't especially temperamental, active, or impulsive, according to surveys completed by the moms," it reports. "Such conflicts are normal and frequent during the toddler and early preschool years," Laible's team writes.
But what if your child remains difficult beyond the terrible twos? Today's Washington Post summarizes two books about dealing with tantrum prone offspring, Effective Parenting for the Hard-to-Manage Child by D.C. area psychologists Georgia DeGangi and Anne Kendall, and The Kazdin Method for Parenting the Defiant Child With No Pills, No Therapy and No Contest of Wills, by Yale professor Alan Kazdin (with Carlo Rotella). Both books essentially suggest using behavioral modification techniques on children to calm them down. (P.S., behavioral modification is what animal trainers use on their charges, and also what "Shamu" writer Amy Sutherland advocates use of on husbands.)