We all have moments as parents where we wonder where our children learnt to exhibit such aggressive behavior. One minute they are perfectly pleasant and the next they’re having a meltdown and throwing hands at you to get what they want. This behavior may leave you feeling stunned and stuped, but don’t worry, it’s completely normal for toddlers to behave aggressively. In fact, it’s a normal part of their development. And this is all due to their need for independence, emerging language skills, unexplored emotions and under development impulse control. You can see how the situation is ripe for negative behavior to arise. But there are ways to quell their aggressive behavior while still remaining calm and in control. Sounds like a dream? Well, it doesn’t have to be. In this article, we’ll outline a couple of ways in which you can handle your feisty little toddler.
1. Keep Your Cool
Telling yourself to “keep calm”, isn’t as easy as the slogan suggests. Especially not when you’re dealing with an angry, out of control toddler who can’t seem to stop screaming or worse, hitting you. But hitting your child and yelling right back is not the best way to handle this situation. In fact, all you’re doing is showing them that their aggressive behavior is perfectly fine to exhibit, which is absolutely untrue. Telling them that they are bad isn’t good either as this will get them riled up and escalate the situation. Instead, showing them that you can remain cool and control your temper will teach them to do the same. Not to mention that they will respect you more for your restraint as they grow older.
2. Set Clear Limits
Enforcing boundaries and limits, physical and otherwise will do wonders for your kids. This is why it’s so important to respond immediately when your tiny tot starts being aggressive. One thing that works very well is removing them from the situation or environment physically and mentally and giving them a time out. It doesn’t have to be a long time, even a minute or two will do. Enough to shake them out of their funk and give them a chance to cool down. In time, they will slowly start to connect the actions to the consequences. They’ll figure out that hitting, biting and yelling will only get them benched and away from all the action. And since no child likes to be left out, that’s the key to calming them down quickly.
3. Give Your Kids Logical Consequences
Giving your kids a long lecture, most of which they don’t understand or won’t pay attention to will not make a difference in terms of altering their behavior. What you need to do is meet out consequences that will actually make an impact on your kids, enough to make them want to change their response to the situation at hand. For example, if your child is throwing balls at all the other kids in the play area, take them out immediately. Then you can sit down, watch the other kids play and tell them that they can only go back in if they’ll play without hurting the other children. You can tell them the next time they repeat the action, you’re taking them home. Trying to reason with them at this age rarely ever works. Instead lay down the consequences for that specific circumstance in front of them and help them make the right decision. Eventually, they will realize that all their actions have consequences and that they should act with empathy. But for now, keep it simple.
4. Keep An Eye On What They Are Watching
With even kid’s shows becoming increasingly violent and exhibiting aggressive behavior like shoving, beating, yelling and threatening, it’s very important to be mindful of what your young children are exposed to. Make sure you choose programs for them that teaches them the right values, is age-appropriate and does not condone aggressive behavior. You can even watch specific episodes to discuss how characters work out their conflicts and think about better ways to resolve problems together. Then when they are having a meltdown, you can refer to the conversation and tell them how their favorite character behaved in order to get them to follow a good example. Be it yourself or the characters they see on their favorite shows, it’s important to ensure that your little one is always surrounded by good role models so that they don’t pick up any negative mannerisms subconsciously.
Raising a child is a tough job. Not only do you need to keep them happy and healthy but you need to discipline them and teach them how to act right. But this doesn’t have to be impossible. With these few tricks, you’ll help them get over their aggressive behavior in no time!