Sunday, January 10, 2010

5 Keys to Stopping Toddler Bad Behavior and Aggressive Toddlers

Either you have seen it or you have experienced it personally. Aggressive toddler behavior can catch you off guard and make you feel like you are not a good parent. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is important to remember that every parent goes through aggressive toddler behavior at some time or another and you can absolutely do something about.

Here are 5 keys to stopping bad behavior from your toddler:

1. First, remember that you are the parent and you always have control, whether or not you feel like you are in control. Sometimes, when we experience a particularly nasty bout of aggressive toddler behavior, we can feel like we have no control over our child. You have to remain calm and be firm. Stick to your plan of action, and carry it out. Never let your child feel like they have the upper hand, or you will lose all control of your child.

2. Even though aggressive toddler behavior can be alarming at times, you need to remember the context in which your child is behaving. Most young children are still learning communication skills. If they cannot communicate effectively with you, then they may become aggressive out of frustration. Imagine if you were trying to communicate with someone and they had no idea what you were trying to say. You might become frustrated and display aggressive toddler behavior yourself!

3. Get down to your child's level - try squatting down

so that you are making direct eye contact. Allow your child time to try to speak to you and explain why they are upset. After you get the gist of what is happening, you can deal more effectively with the situation.

4. Lead by example. If your toddler sees that the general communication in the household is by argument, yelling or otherwise, they will model this behavior. Aggressive toddler behavior can result from your toddler witnessing you having an argument with your spouse or one of their siblings. If you don't want your child to hit, then you do not hit your child or anyone else. Children only learn what they see. If you deal with a situation in a calm and rational manner, then your child will absorb this and learn to model this behavior.

5. Have a common plan of attack. If your child is in daycare, make sure that your daycare deals with your child's behavior in the same way that you do. Consistency is the key here. If everyone deals with these situations in a different way, your child may become confused and frustrated, therefore escalating aggressive toddler behavior.

Dealing with a toddler is draining sometimes. You need to have a sense of humor and you have to learn to relax. Giving your toddler some of your time, in a one on one situation can help them to realize that they are important in your life and it will reassure them that they have a rightful place in your family unit. Having a look at the whole picture and identifying any triggers that may cause aggressive behavior is a great starting point.

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