It can be heartbreaking to watch your little angel start to exhibit unsavory behavior. Tantrums can be a major headache — literally — and so can a toddler’s persistent crying. Even worse may be the tendency for some toddlers to bite or hit their peers. However, before you call a child psychologist, it’s prudent to know ways to address these behaviors on your own.
Aggressive or Violent Behavior
Toddlers are experiencing all kinds of extreme emotions at this stage in their development, and sometimes these emotions result in biting, hitting or other kinds of aggressive acts. If you see this behavior in your child, intervene immediately and firmly. Let your child know that this behavior is unacceptable, but refrain from violence — like spanking — as this would send a mixed message to your child. Tell your child that such aggression upsets you. Make sure that you also reward and praise your child for kind and friendly behavior toward others as well.
Toddlers are notorious for having emotional meltdowns, especially in the most inopportune places, like a quiet restaurant or a supermarket. These outbursts are quite common. When they occur, remain calm and distract your little one, perhaps with his favorite toy — just make sure you pack it with you beforehand. You can also gently admonish your child to use her “inside voice.”
If your toddler cries excessively, figure out what is troubling him so much. Separation anxiety often causes a lot of distress for toddlers; if this is the cause, tell him that you will be leaving soon and that you will be coming back. However, if you notice that he is often holding his head or stomach when he cries, he may be trying to tell you that he is experiencing severe physical discomfort; if this is the case, consult your pediatrician immediately.
When To Be Concerned
These behaviors are all part of a normal toddlerhood, so don’t worry if your little one displays some or all of them at some point in her development. The only factor that may be a cause for concern is if the behavior is persistent and the toddler does not seem to be maturing past it. If the negative behavior is not going away, or if it escalates or presents itself along with other problems, consult your pediatrician.