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Your Two-Year-Old: Terrible or Tender
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Your Two-Year-Old: Terrible or Tender

3.71  ·  Rating Details ·  466 Ratings  ·  71 Reviews
Are two-year-olds really so terrible, or does the world have a slightly skewed view of this sometimes difficult, sometimes adorable lot? Drs. Ames and Ilg, recognized worldwide as authorities on child behavior and development, offer parents practical advice and enlightening psychological insights on children this age.
What are two-year-old girls and boys thinking and fee
Paperback, 160 pages
Published July 15th 1980 by Dell (first published August 15th 1976)
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Mar 17, 2009 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this--albeit somewhat outdated--series. There's nothing revolutionary in here, but it's a reassuring voice that tells you what your irrational little critter is going through. Unlike other parenting books that are packed with more information than you need (thorough lists of equipment, possible meals, etc.), this one focuses solely on your two yo's mental and emotional life and how it affects you. A quick read that gave me an extra dose of empathy.
Beth A.
Apr 08, 2009 Beth A. rated it really liked it
Recommended to Beth A. by: Laura
Shelves: nonfiction, parenting
This book was written in 1976. I was 4. But I haven't seen a more recent book that so specifically describes approximate age related behaviors and how they relate to discipline issues.
Ames' writing is easy to read. It's gentle, kind, and compassionate, reminding me to be, too.

I laughed when Ames described that one of two year olds favorite games is putting their dolls or stuffed animals to bed. I often see my daughter spreading a favorite blanket over her stuffed animal babies.

She describes so
Feb 20, 2010 Becky rated it it was ok
It took me almost two months to read this because it was non-fiction and not terribly insightful.
I did enjoy the things that were totally backwards from today like when she suggested buckling your toddler up in the backseat because some toddlers can be distracting to the driver but on the other hand the front seat allows the child to see more. I learned some things like typical children go through a phase about 18 months and then the "terrible twos" are typically at two and a half years old. The
Jul 11, 2012 Kryptique rated it liked it
This book was written in the 1970s and I found some of it very dated. For instance, some techinques involve giving "licks" or tying your child into their room. There is a LOT of very sexist advice about what mothers and fathers should do and very rigid roles, as well as some other pretty out of date notions.
That said, I was reading for advice about my daughter's behavior and how I can react. I did like the specific points that had me nodding in agreement---how giving choices can be great sometim
Nov 25, 2015 Christa rated it liked it
My favorite line is: "Do not be surprised if you are unduly fatigued at the end of day." I was also entertained by: "domestic play also includes having dolls or animals be sick, asleep, cold, warm, or nice," and "Even when nothing else is accepted most will eat crispy, circus-type foods such as popcorn, peanuts, or crackers."
This book was helpful as an overview but could use a good editor—the same idea is conveyed several times each page without any additional depth.
Also the 1976-ness of it sh
Feb 05, 2017 Ruth rated it it was ok
Shelves: parenting
Nice to read more parent-centered advice than many advice today is, but in other ways seems fairly outdated, like the ideas about what toddler boys and girls like.
Feb 01, 2017 Chase rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
from the 70s but so relevant right now.
Jan 30, 2014 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
I really appreciate that this book exists. I can't stand books that tell me how to raise my child and what methods are best. This book is not that. This book does tell you how your child may be acting at the age of two and two and a half (the book actually separates the two ages). It gives advice on potential ways to help you along with raising a two year old, but also mentions alternatives that might be better depending on your child. More than anything, it has helped me be a little more sympat ...more
Sep 27, 2008 Alison rated it really liked it
I found this book, first published in the 80s, through a recommendation in The Blessing of a Skinned Knee. As promised, it's a good resource for parents who wonder if the oppositional behavior of a toddler is "normal." The authors present a comprehensive portrait of a two-year-old's physical, mental, emotional, and social development, including possible variations that may occur with different children. They give practical, common-sense tips for making life easier with a small tyrant. The only d ...more
May 29, 2011 Sarah rated it really liked it
This was a really great read on the developmental normalities of a 2-year-old. It was very helpful and informative, regardless of the fact that it is out of date in places. Many times I felt like I was reading about my son, and it was nice to confirm that his behavior is typical. It was not so much for practical use, but to understand their mental and physical states at this age.

The last chapter is questions that were written to the author by parents. I found them to be totally useless. Many ti
Mar 16, 2015 Laura rated it did not like it
I know it's a classic, but this book REALLY needs updating. I suspect most of us don't have to worry about whether or not to put our 2 year old child in the front seat or the back seat of the car (honestly, even in the late 70s when I was 2, car seats were the norm), I don't think most Americans consider spanking their children (I found it disturbing that according to this book the most common story 2 year old girls told was about being spanked), not that the book supported spanking, it just off ...more
Joe Silber
Oct 25, 2013 Joe Silber rated it really liked it
Easy to read, wryly amusing, and sometimes very dated book that none the less provides a good overview of "normal" 2 year old behavior. I occasionally laughed out loud at reading a description of toddler behavior that was all too familiar, such as this: "The person he wants [to help him] is whatever person is not available at the moment, and if everyone is available, his demand may change to 'Me do it myself.'" Don't expect miracle cures here, just common sense and reassurance that your struggle ...more
Ginger Clausen
Sep 08, 2012 Ginger Clausen rated it it was amazing
This is the best series of books for parenting children aged 1-8! These books have helped me countless times in raising my four kids! The books show the stages of learning that chidren go through so you can understand why your child is behaving the way they are- what they are learning and how that affects their behavior. Kids are pretty predictable as they go through the basic stages such as self awareness and attachment to parents, learning, etc.
Katie Casey
Oct 24, 2012 Katie Casey rated it really liked it
I previously read Your One-Year-Old: The Fun-Loving, Fussy 12-To 24-Month-Old and now that Micah has turned 2 had to read this one too! These are great (though a little out-dated) books that help parents know what developmental milestones to expect and how to deal with typical problems that may come up.
Reianna Cambridge
May 08, 2009 Reianna Cambridge rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! It mostly explains why a two-year-old does what they do. I felt like this book was just like opening my two-year-old's brain and telling me what's inside. My absolute favorite part was at the very end. The book gives you a list of toys that are perfect for this age and a list of books that are really good to read to your two-year-old. I will definitly read the other ones they have as he gets older.
Nov 18, 2007 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Great book that describes the two year old in terms of pshyical, emotional, moral development, typical behaviors, problems, language development, sex differneces - and more! It helped me to place Catherine in context and to relax about some of her more challenging moments and to savor the sweeter ones.
Aug 31, 2012 langa rated it liked it
Shelves: parenting, 2012
A bit dated, but still enlightening. I appreciated getting a sense of the normal range of behaviours for the age and also techniques that can be helpful when working with a 2 year old. It was interesting to understand how a 2 year old views their world. Also, always helpful is the reminder about the approximate ages when a child will experience disequilibrium and equilibrium.
Dec 30, 2013 Stefanie rated it did not like it
I thought this was a terrible book. If you have a two year old you know what they do, but this book provides a play by play of them just in case you don't actually have a kid. There's nothing insightful about their behavior and the section of questions is filled with outdated housewife problems and normalcy in spanking. Worse than the What to Expect series!
Hannah Notess
Jul 16, 2014 Hannah Notess rated it liked it
Great helpful descriptions of the developmental stage and what kids this age like to do and are interested in. Some things are hilariously dated ("A boy may like to have his own phonograph...") but the descriptions of how 2 year olds act are very useful.

Plus the line "Dear Doctor, my child is a combination of all the naughty children who ever were..." gives us some good laugh mileage.
Jess Dollar
I read these books when my older kids were little. Now I have another toddler and need some reminding of what's normal so I found this and read it. It's hilariously sexist and outdated but still on point with normal 2 year old behavior. Just ignore the parts about giving toddlers tranquilizers and putting them in the front seat of the car!
May 30, 2010 Anne rated it it was amazing
This book saved me from daily tears and my oldest from daily spankings. I have turned to it over and over again through the years, for each of my own children, and for countless nieces, nephews, neighbors, and friends. Even though it was written years ago, it's insight into what is normal and what can be expected from your 2 year old is timeless. This book started me on the series.
Aug 13, 2010 Jannie rated it it was ok
It was good until the authors explained that the best way to potty train a child is to put newspaper on the ground and let your child run around nude until they go on the paper. That, and all hyper kids should be medicated. Are they writing about kids or dogs?
Jul 07, 2016 Theresia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: parenting
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Makeesha Fisher
Mar 31, 2008 Makeesha Fisher rated it it was amazing
If you ignore the spanking tips and outdated ideas and pictures in these books, all of them in the series are really invaluable - esp. in giving insight into the developmental areas that often drive behavior.
Sep 14, 2008 Alyson rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting
I think I read this book over the summer but it was titled differently (I remember the author's name and believe that it's a series by age). Good tips about the developmental progress of 2-yr.-olds and what to expect in general.
Keith Peters
Jul 04, 2016 Keith Peters rated it it was ok
Shelves: kindle, parenting
Scattered and incomplete. There's some decent suggestions to be patient and loving with your kid but they're not explicit. There's also a frightful amount of condoning corporal punishment as well as a distinct lack of responsibility for training your children.
Feb 17, 2010 Jacki rated it really liked it
A little outdated as it was written back in the 80s, but I still found a lot of really useful information. It was great to come to understand what to expect and what was normal as well as getting some tips on the best ways to approach problematic behavior.
Apr 08, 2011 Kathryn rated it really liked it
Some things are definitely outdated (the book was published in 1976) but it has good descriptions of normal behaviour for and characteristics of two-year-olds. I wouldn't take discipline advice from it but is good for finding out what is typical for two-year-olds.
Aug 06, 2014 Paul rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
If you can get past some of the outdated thinking this series of books really are a helpful guide to parents. Found a lot of behaviors I recognize already and it helps me to think ahead for the coming year.
Jan 25, 2014 Sharoneaton rated it it was ok
Shelves: parenting
Upon reading the second book in this series, the datedness of the material really showed. However there was still good content related to where two year olds are in their development that added some perspective.
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