STAGE 3: Age 2 – Assertiveness

Defining Factor:  She learns to say NO. She realizes that she has the power to disagree. She wants her way, even if she doesn’t know what her way is.  She is learning that she can assert herself, often not really knowing what she wants – simply knowing she wants something different from what you want.  

Observations From 101 Dads of Daughters

  • The terrible two’s—ah yes!



“People say there’s the terrible twos.  Well, I thought they were the wonderful ones, the terrific twos, the thrilling threes, the fantastic fours. 

I thought everything was easy.  Even when she was throwing temper tantrums, I didn’t get all hyped.  I was like, ‘Oh, here’s this huge spirit coming into this little body.  Of course, she’s going to yell and scream.’ ”

Lucas , fifty year old kindergarten teacher, father of a twenty-five year old daughter (divorced when she was four but stayed one-hundred percent involved throughout her life)


“Okay there’s a good story. Two years old, she’s leaving a room that I’m in with her.  She throws something down on the ground [because] she’s upset with me or something like that. I don’t know what.  [So] she’s walking out of the room and I tell her, ‘Get back in here and pick that up.’  She turns around to look at me and goes, ‘No’, and turns around to walk away.

So I use an even stronger voice, ‘Stop right where you are.  Now you get back in here [and] pick that up right now.’

She takes a step back and looks me straight in the eye and goes, ‘No,’ and walks away.  Then I pick it up myself.  That’s not fair!  She’s two years old.  She can’t be a teenager already {he laughs}.”

Ron, forty-seven year old school counselor and father of an eleven-year-old daughter and a twin eight-year-old daughter and son