Is your toddler being defiant and throwing those temper tantrums? Do you find it consistently difficult to make your toddler listen to you? Are you on the verge of losing your cool?
If you are frantically nodding yes to the above questions, we are here to help! Read on to find how you can deal with your defiant toddler in a smart and caring way.
How To Deal With A Defiant Toddler?
Here are some smart and effective tips that will help you deal with your defiant toddler:
1. Show That You Understand:
One of the first mistakes you might make as a parent is to go against your toddler’s wishes, which is prone to make the situation more difficult.
Instead of obviously going against your toddler’s wish, try and show that you do understand his predicament.
Tell your toddler that you can understand that playing till late is so much fun, but also emphasize the need to sleep. Saying something simple like ‘Yes baby, I know it’s so much fun to play, but let’s go to bed now and listen to that bedtime story’ can do the trick. Hug your toddler and make him feel that you are on his side.
Do not give in to the need to shout or show your anger. Be patient yet firm. This is how to deal with a defiant toddler.
[ Read: Anger Management In Toddlers ]
2. Keep Affirming The Right Behavior:
Your toddler has to be told over and over again about his unacceptable behavior.
Instead of nagging, try and affirm the right way to behave well without losing your cool.
If your toddler is throwing his toys at you instead of picking them up, tell him ‘we play with our toys, we don’t throw them.’ If your toddler wants to lie down on the floor and scream, tell him gently but firmly that behavior like this is not acceptable.
Make sure you always tell your toddler how you want him to behave instead of just telling him not to behave a certain way.This is one way on how to handle a defiant toddler. Dealing with a defiant toddler is tough task but you can do it.
[ Read: Behavior Problems In Toddlers ]
3. Set Those Limits:
Setting limits for your toddler will make it easier for your little one to follow rules.
Make sure your toddler knows what he is allowed to do and what is completely off limits.
Always give clear instructions that are easier for your toddler to understand. ‘If you don’t like this vegetable, eat it up fast and then have the juice.’ ‘If you are angry with your brother, tell him, you cannot hit him.’
Your toddler may not always practice what you teach, but as a parent you have to keep reminding him of an acceptable code of conduct.
[ Read: Parenting Tips For Toddlers ]
4. Know When To Let It Be:
No one likes to hear a ‘no’ all the time, especially your enthusiastic and independent toddler.
Learn when you need to put your foot down and when it is okay to let go.
Let your toddler sometimes indulge, unless you fear it can turn into a regular habit. Make sure you tell your toddler that you are allowing it as a special fun treat.
Saying things like ‘okay, let us play some extra time today as a special treat’ will tell your toddler that you are allowing the behavior only for ‘today’ and not for every day. Allowing your toddler sometimes to eat without any grown up assistance or getting ready without your help will make him feel independent and responsible. You can ask him to follow the routine at other times.
[ Read: Tips To Stop Your Toddler From Whining ]
5. Avoid Tricky Situations:
As a parent, you already know where and under what circumstances your toddler can turn most defiant.
Try and avoid situations where you know for a fact that your toddler may not listen to you. It is especially true of very loud or fancy places where others can easily notice your toddler’s temperamental behavior and add to your exasperation.
Look at alternate solutions and how you can deal with it. If you feel your toddler will be uncomfortable look for a way you can manage both your needs. Instead of meeting the family at that very fancy restaurant, why not set up a get-together at a nearby park where your toddler will also have something to do?
Why Does Your Toddler Behave Defiantly?
For you, it is the worst nightmare you could face as a parent. But for your toddler, being defiant is a natural and normal way of growing up. At this age, your toddler is in one of the most exciting phases of life. He is exploring many things, he is dealing with new emotions, and looking at many new avenues every day. Your toddler can walk, talk and express himself, your toddler can almost do anything that a grown up can – at least that is how it looks to him. Even as he tries to do it all at once, you constantly try to stop him or do it all for him. Your check on his independence leads to the most natural reaction – your toddler turns defiant!
Understanding your toddler’s thought process will help you know why he behaves in a defiant and difficult way. Remember, your toddler is not doing any of this to put you in a spot in front of others. He is not doing it to spite you or to take out a personal grudge. All he is doing is trying to experiment with things and struggling to understand new emotions.
Tips To Help Your Toddler With Love:
Of course, it is natural for you to lose your cool and want to shout at your defiant toddler. But it will only make matters worse and make you feel guilty when you calm down, probably within the next minute itself!
When your toddler behaves defiantly, here are a few things you can do to handle him with care:
- Take a deep breath and remind yourself that your toddler is just an innocent child.
- Give your toddler a hug and a smile. Also, give him your undivided attention.
- Try distracting him. Show him some interesting activity that you plan to do once your toddler finishes or gives up the task on hand.
If you are worried about what other people who are watching you and your toddler may be thinking, tell yourself they too have been through this or will be through this.
All toddlers will show a defiant behavior at some time or the other, so don’t beat yourself about it or lose your temper. Handle your toddler in a calm way, without being judgmental about it.
Did you find any of these tips useful and do you have some more tips of your own to share? Do write it in the comments section below.
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