Video:Tame Toddler Aggressionwith Kathy Moore
Young children have a tough time controlling their emotions, but there are ways you can prevent big blowouts. Learn to tame toddler aggression with these tips.See Transcript
Transcript:Tame Toddler AggressionHi, I am Kathy Moore for About.com Parenting. Young children particularly have a tough time controlling their emotions. Lashing out in violent frustration is an inappropriate but common childhood problem.
This program offers some ideas on how parents can proactively prevent biting, kicking and other lashing-out behaviors by teaching kids to channel their emotions in a non-violent direction.
Normal Child AggressionDid you know that toddlers are the single most aggressive group of humans? In fact according to a University of Montreal study more than 90% of 17-month-olds were sometimes physically aggressive toward others. If your child doesn't hit, kick, push or bite at least occasionally, you should consider yourself fortunate indeed.
The first step in taming toddler aggression is to understand what triggers the unwanted behavior.
What Triggers Aggression?I know my kids are more likely to act up aggressively when they are tired or hungry but lately I've also been looking out for other situations that can trigger aggression. What actions and language are you and other caregivers modeling for the child? Do you always react calmly to frustrations in your day? You can be sure the kids are watching and copying your actions so be careful to demonstrate the type of behavior you want your kids to model.
Examine Outside InfluencesTake a look at other influences on your child's conduct like television, video games, and unruly playmates. We recently had one of my daughter's playmates over and ever since that day my kids have started jumping on the furniture. It is amazing how impressionable kids are.
Teach CommunicationFor very young children, the lack of verbal skills can cause frustrations that lead to biting or other aggression. We have found that teaching our children sign language, starting at about 8 months, prevented this type of frustration in our home.
Deal With AggressionOnce you have addressed the triggers for aggressive behavior, there are some steps you can take to deal with situations as they arise.
1. Create Consistent Consequences or punishment that fits the offense. We use a time-out chair or sequester a favorite toy.
2. Teach Empathy. I ask- how would you like it if I did that to you?
3. Teach Alternative Resolutions. When our kids fight over a toy for instance, we encourage them to ask their sibling to share using a nice voice and saying please.
4. Reward Cooperation. If you praise your child for cooperating and sharing you are giving positive attention to conduct that you want to see more often. This is like sowing the seeds for better future behavior.
Harness Children's EnergyLastly I've noticed around our house that my kids seem to be more aggressive when they've been cooped up inside all day. So get your kids outside for some active play or a family hike and maybe they'll be too tired to be so aggressive when you get home.
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