Aggressive behaviour including biting, tantrums and screaming is part of the toddler stage. This could be natural for you at the time, but for any spectators, witnessing your toddler’s aggressive reactions might be uncomfortable. However, aggressive behaviour is a normal stage in your child’s development. You need to be prepared with various strategies called for when dealing with aggressive behaviour.
Why does a toddler express aggressive behaviour?
Age of twos is a heart-melting period but sometimes very exhausting and stressful for parents. Your toddler has not yet fully acquired language skills but wants more independence and to have control. Often children may react impulsively to get what they want, and, most times these reactions are accompanied by wheezing screaming. In case the frustration is that bad they tend to bite and hit. A little tendency to hit and bite is completely normal for a toddler. That does not mean it should be ignored, of course. The method “leave the child, is small and does not know” is ineffective. In society aggressive behaviour is unacceptable, therefore you must show your toddler that there are many other ways to express their feelings.
Strategies prevent and deal with toddler aggressive behaviour
Show your toddler the consequences of using logic. If your child is in a sand pit with other children of the same age and they start pulling off children’s toys take them outside immediately. Take your toddler apart and explain that he can go back when he feels ready to join the fun without hurting other children. Avoid negotiating with your child, asking the question “You’d love it if another child would do the same to you?”. Small children do not possess cognitive maturity. Toddlers often change their behaviour based on verbal reasoning but they can understand consequences as well.
Be calm and diplomatic. Screaming at them, becoming aggressive and trying to show children how bad they are, will not help correct their behaviour, on the contrary, it will encourage giving serious examples of new things to try. In fact, children are watching you, take you as their model so showing a calm temperament and diplomacy can be your first step in the process of teaching them self-control.
Establish clear limits to them. Try to react immediately whenever your child is aggressive. Do not wait until they repeat themselves and, more importantly, do not attempt to stop them using the phrase “That’s enough!”. They should know instantly when they did something wrong. At this moment, the child will feel alone and after a while will be able to link his feelings with his behaviour.
Teach your toddler that there are alternatives. Wait until your child has calmed down, then calmly try to revise together what has happened. Ask if he can explain what triggered the outburst. At this stage, trying to draw attention is natural, as well as the anger feelings, although it is not okay to show them by hitting or biting others. Encourage him find a nicer way to respond – for example seeking help from an adult. Make sure your child understands that it is mandatory to say “sorry” after hitting or biting someone. Excuses can be insincere at first, but eventually they will acquire the habit of apologising when wrong.
Reward your toddler for good behavior. Rather than giving children increased attention only when they are wrong, try to encourage them to be good – for example, when toddlers take actions to correct behaviour praise them for how grown up and good they are (children want to be treated as adults).
Limit the amount of time spent watching TV. Cartoons and other shows designed for young children may be filled with shouting, threats, even scenes of aggression. Monitor the programs that they watch and set a timetable especially if he seems prone to aggressive behavior. When they watch a scene where forms of violence occur, sit and talk to them about the situations that arise: ex. “This was not a great way for the character to get what he wanted!”
Coach them in sports. The child may be a little terror at home due to energy, so you can encourage an organized behaviour by providing the opportunity to practice some sports activities: dance, ballet, swimming, skating, etc.
Seek specialised help. Do not be afraid to seek help from a psychologist.
Does your toddler show aggressive behaviour?