Guest Post by Katie Parsons

I have two little women in the house under the age of four. Some would say that I have a “terrible two” and a “terrible-er three” to contend with on a regular basis.

While I resent the term “terrible” in regards to my children, I can see where the term originates. Children of this age tend to be stubborn, opinionated and unafraid to let you know how they really feel. This can range from inconvenient to downright embarrassing depending where you are when a meltdown takes place and the severity of it. If you have children this age or ever have, I do not really need to go into more detail here.

For all of the terrib… um …. difficult times, children of this age group have some pretty admirable traits too. In fact some of the characteristics are one in the same if you look at them from different perspectives. Listening to my little girls interact with each other this morning, I realized that there are a few traits that I could use a little more of in my own life too.

Here are a few ways we could all use a little more “terrible” toddler in our adult lives.

Kids Tell You What They Want. Kids not only tell you what they want, they downright demand it. No amount of distraction can sway a young one from repeating something that they want over and over again. And then again, like two minutes later. This can be frustrating for parents and caregivers but kids are actually demonstrating something that adults tend to lack: determination. **my two-year-old stepdaughter is repeatedly crying “Snoopy Book!” from her bed because I just took it away so she would fall asleep**

The truth is that most adults back down more than they really should. If we want something, we should learn to have a little bit more determination and keep at it until we have it.

Kids Have Ingenuity. If you tell a toddler/pre-schooler that she cannot have a cookie, you can bet that she will start hatching a plan on how to get that cookie, no matter what you say. This relates to my first point but takes it a bit further. Kids do not just ask for or demand things — they think of their own plan on a way to get it. I can hear the sound of our kid-sized step stool being pushed toward a kitchen counter from four rooms away. So maybe the plan to get a cookie with a step stool ends up being an ill-fated one. Still. The wheels are always turning.

I think that as adults, we spend a lot of time waiting. Just waiting. For something to happen to us, or for us. We wait for other people or circumstances to determine our next step in life. We should take a hint from our kids and just grab the reigns. So maybe we won’t get the cookie the first time. That’s when it’s time to be ingenious and hatch a new plan.

Kids Are Emotional. If you want to know what two or three year olds are thinking, just look at their faces. Better yet, just ask them. “I’m mad” is a pretty common phrase in my house. I don’t hear “I’m sad” quite as often, but generally the waterworks and uncontrollable sobbing give that emotion away. My kids tell me when something is funny, or scary, or makes them happy. They do not stop to rationalize how or why they feel a certain way. They simply let the emotions flow through them and run a natural course.

Adults should acknowledge how they feel. Maybe it does not have to be with a pout and foot stomp, but saying how we really feel could go a long way toward understanding the implications of our lives and actions.


Katie Parsons is a freelance writer with background in news media and publishing. She is the creator of Mumbling Mommy, a blog with a community of writers from across the country with varied backgrounds. Katie got her start blogging on the Tribune Media Services blog “Moms at Work” and many of her posts were syndicated. Now that she has three young ones and another one on the way, Katie works from her home office on the sunny east coast of Florida and takes on a variety of writing, editing and research projects. She is near completion of a memoir that covers her first pregnancy as a single mother. You can contact Katie by emailing her at


Blog Readers: Let’s Talk…Doesn’t Katie raise such great points? How do you think your determination, ingenuity, and emotions have changed as you’ve aged? How about in your children…Any fun stories of how they display their determination or ingenuity?

*This post originally published on Mumbling Mommy

**Cookie jar photo by Stuart Miles /



Three Ways Adults Should Be More Like Two Year Olds

26 thoughts on “Three Ways Adults Should Be More Like Two Year Olds

  • March 28, 2012 at 8:47 am

    Cute post! I think I’ve kept the emotions thing as I’ve aged. I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve, though I hope I don’t stomp around saying, “I’m mad” all the time!

    • March 28, 2012 at 2:12 pm

      LOL, Lindsay, I guess if you did stomp around, at least your hubby would know where you stand. 🙂

  • March 28, 2012 at 8:58 am

    I think she does! I think when we balance it in the right way, it can be an asset to our writing. 🙂

    • March 28, 2012 at 2:37 pm

      So true, Karen. Balance seems to be the key to everything, doesn’t it? 🙂

  • March 28, 2012 at 9:08 am

    Know what’s weird, I think I went through about 4-5 years where I hardly ever cried. This is very weird if you know me and what an emotional, feeling person I can be. Lots of takeaways in this post!
    ~ Wendy

    • March 28, 2012 at 2:38 pm

      I’ve gone through stages like that too, Wendy. And lately I feel like I’m making up for lost ground. 😉

  • March 28, 2012 at 10:01 am

    Oh, this is so cute! The last point about kids expressing their emotions was great…I’ve definitely become more “free” with my emotions in the past few years instead of holding so tight and bottling. 🙂 Great stuff, here!

    • March 28, 2012 at 2:45 pm

      Melissa, I find that I’m less afraid of my emotions as I get older too. It’s like we go through a period of 10-15 years where it’s not cool to cry. But we eventually settle back into our own skin again. 🙂

  • March 28, 2012 at 10:41 am

    Wonderful post!

    We have two children (one who is an adult now) 10 yrs apart, so they’re not little ones anymore, but I well remember those wee years of self-discovery and newfound independence.

    I found that when our second blessing came along, I was a lot more laid back. Good thing; she’s our free spirit! 🙂

    Sarah, if this looks weird, WP has changed the settings again, & I’m no longer able to comment using my own website addy. I had to log in to my old WP acct to comment, but we’ll see if this makes it through….

    • March 28, 2012 at 2:48 pm

      The comment looks great, Cindy. Glad you were able to find a workaround! 🙂

      And I’m finding that I’m more laid-back with Child #2 as well. Not sure if that means I’m more relaxed or just more exhausted, lol.

  • March 28, 2012 at 10:48 am

    As far as emotions, I have less tantrums as I age. Less, not zero! LOL

    I thought this post was excellent! 🙂

    • March 28, 2012 at 2:49 pm

      LOL, Jessica. My tantrums seems to increase as my children’s increase. And yes, I’m working on it but I’m still not there. 🙂

  • March 28, 2012 at 10:57 am

    Well done Katie.

    Our youngest is interested in brushing his teeth… I mean all the time, so we started locking the kid’s bathroom. He figured out where the little key is above the door rail, slid a chair and another stepper over, stacked them up, and got the key down to open the door. I was shocked yet impressed by our little guy (he has a developmental disorder). I wish I had that motivation sometimes.

    • March 28, 2012 at 2:52 pm

      LOL, Slamdunk. My son is obsessed with brushing his teeth too lately. Except he tries to be funny and brush his cheeks, nose, and eyebrows. (Thank you, Veggie Tales, for giving him the idea…sheesh.) 🙂

  • March 28, 2012 at 11:09 am

    Oh my, I LOVE this post and completely agree!!! I’m more restrained in my emotions as an adult, which is good in some ways and bad in others.

    LOVE, LOVE this. 🙂

    • March 28, 2012 at 2:54 pm

      So glad you liked this, Jessica! Wasn’t there a Saturday Night Live skit where someone was trying to make themselves cry and they just couldn’t do it? Or maybe it was a movie. I can’t remember…

  • March 28, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    My kids are adults now (college and grad school), but I can remember those toddler days like it was yesterday. It was a challenging time, but a wonderful time…I cherish the memories. The one thing I love about my 3 kids is that they are all very close. They see or call each other every day.

    Something I’ve learned – at 2 or 22 – kids never stop telling you what they want…haha.

    • March 28, 2012 at 2:58 pm

      Loree, How neat that your kids are close now. It’s a testament to a strong upbringing. 🙂

  • March 28, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    Fun post packed with some great truths. I spent too much of my life waiting. Took me four decades before I dusted off the dream of my seven-year-old self and pursued it. Of course, since that dream was to be a published author, all that waiting time was good practice since we do plenty of it in this profession. 🙂

    • March 28, 2012 at 2:59 pm

      Oh yes, Keli! A superhuman dose of patience is a must for this business. 🙂

    • March 28, 2012 at 3:32 pm

      I have a feeling your life is so much quieter than mine, Susan. 🙂

  • March 28, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    my kid’s creative genius surprises me all the time. it’s a real delight to see her stick with something until she gets it, especially if she takes a route i wouldn’t have thought of before.

    great post, katie!

    • March 28, 2012 at 3:54 pm

      Jeannie, If only you could see my son’s creative genius right now. It’s supposed to be rest time, and I think he’s tried to sneak a snack from the pantry about 20 times in the last hour. 🙂

  • March 28, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    I’ve not really believed in the terrible twos, but threes – yes, that year can be rough. 🙂

    • March 28, 2012 at 8:38 pm

      Hi Stacy! We had rough twos and threes in my house…and now fours. 🙂

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