So, toddler aggression when to worry is something that most parents are concerned about. The period between 18 months to about 3 years is a very significant point in your child’s overall development.
That’s because it’s the time that they are becoming aware of themselves as solely individuals. During this period, most toddlers detach themselves from their mother’s shade and start thinking individually.
It’s the time they assert their likes and dislikes, making them more eager to communicate their views. So, they ultimately want to be heard as sense-making individuals without being taken lightly.
The problem is that most or all of them haven’t yet developed the needed self-control to act individually. Hence, things like turn-taking, patience, and sharing are still unlearned characteristics by your toddler.
And this is where the aggression comes from, whenever their views aren’t taken seriously. Here, we’ll look at toddler aggression when to worry signs and how to help them control reactions and strong emotions.
This is important considering that your toddler is now becoming a separate individual from you and other meaningful people around their environment.
How to Handle Aggressive Toddler Behavior
Your reaction as a parent is highly essential in ensuring that your kid is going through this the right way. One thing to understand is that your toddler isn’t destined to stay in this state of terror forever.
It’s only a phase that most, if not all toddlers are expected to go through in their early ages. Thus, understanding that makes it easier for you when tackling the issue.
Sometimes your child doesn’t even need any anger motivation to start rioting, shaving, or even biting. In most cases, your child only needs some attention and they assume that getting angry is the best way to attract attention. To them, it’s good news because it usually works most of the time.
But the case is different with parents dealing with aggressive toddlers – it isn’t good news. So, how do you handle both you and your toddler during this aggressive phase that they are in? The following guide can help.
Whenever you encounter an aggressive approach from your toddler, ensure that you keep your cool. Although it may be hard sometimes, keeping your cool is one of the best ways to counter any aggressive gesture from your toddler.
Moreover, overreacting will only give them a signal of victory and they might be using the same strategy to get always get your attention. Besides that, toddlers love to see parents get angry from their aggressive actions.
So, best believe that you’ll only be giving them more adrenaline if you react to their anger gestures.
When approached aggressively by your toddler, it’s obvious that you won’t sit quiet like a tree. You’ll have to react in one way or another and the best way to do it would be to react minimally.
It’s sometimes a hard reaction to pull up considering the heat of the moment, but works magic significantly. So instead of raising your voice on them after an aggressive encounter, you can use light words to respond – such as “we don’t hit because it hurts”.
Afterward, you can redirect their attention to something else to prevent them from doing the same thing. Reacting minimally is a calm and effective way of ensuring that you properly manage your child’s aggressive behavior.
That’s because they are too young to understand punishments at this age. So to them, a calm but disagreeing response indicates a clear warning.
Note that this won’t be a one-time-thing during this aggressive period in your toddler. So, be prepared to always counter them with such response whenever they hit, kick, or bite.
Observe Their Playtime
Like other areas, you need to be highly vigilant of your child’s playtime during this whole aggression period. They can easily incorporate simple anger behaviors during playtime and transfer it to other people.
Hence, observing their playtime gives you a chance of spotting any of occurring aggressive behavior. When you do, you can easily discourage them from incorporating such ideas while playing.
This might eventually sink into their system, and help them minimize some of their aggressive behavior.
Limit Their Exposure to Violence
Because they are in their development phase, toddlers usually pick up things from other mediums including people and TV programs to emulate. This is where you need to limit your child’s exposure to violence.
Allowing minimal or too much violent content might lead your kid into thinking that violence is a condoned physical behavior. Hence, it might become significantly difficult to erase that narrative as they grow older.
Therefore, you need to limit your toddler’s exposure to local news, toy weapons, or violent video games that their siblings might be playing. Such information will easily creep up into their imagination realm, and they’ll be more focused on making violence come alive.
Note that it’s human nature for your child to pick up things from their environment and try to enact them. The best solution is limiting any form of violence exposure that your child might pick up from their daily activities.
Understand What Triggers Your Child
There are various things that might trigger your child’s aggressive behavior, and understanding them first is the best way to start. Thus, the following are some of the common things that may trigger your child’s aggressive behavior:
- or Stressed
When you can understand what triggers that aggressive nature in your toddler, dealing with it becomes easier. It enables you to anticipate a potential anger trigger in them and act quickly to counter before it gets out of hand.
Be the Role Model
Yes, you need to model good behavior to your toddler when they approach you aggressively. If they see you react to their actions angrily and ranting all over, they’ll pick up the same idea and think that it’s good.
That’s because they try to replicate what they see around them and the people that they are with. So, stay cool and avoid overreacting if you want them to learn self-control to prevent them from getting angry often.
Help them Channel their Anger Appropriately
Physical anger release is the most common way a toddler will exhibit their aggressive nature. Hence, showing them how to do it appropriately is another good way of dealing with an aggressive toddler.
You can do this by encouraging them to kick a soccer ball when angry, roar like a tiger, or kick the beanbag. It won’t only minimize their anger reactions, but it can also redirect their anger and turn it to playtime.
Finally, give it time. As explained earlier, this is only a phase and your toddler will be out of the aggression behavior after sometime.
They’ll soon mature up and realize that it isn’t good for them to react angrily.
Toddler Aggression towards Mother
Toddlers are comprehensively aggressive towards most people because they are finding their individual touch from others. And because mothers are the closest people that toddlers spend with, they may direct too much of their anger towards them.
Remember, they want to get under their mother’s shadow and invent their individual ways. So, they mostly disagree with anything from their mothers in an aggressive nature.
Fortunately, you can apply the above information to deal with this situation accordingly. However, you can start worrying about your toddler’s aggressive behavior if they are getting worse, and are progressively showing aggressive behavior.
When to Seek Professional Help
As explained earlier, aggressive behavior is a typical phase that all toddlers have to go through. It is part of their early childhood development and parents need to understand that well.
But in some cases, your toddler might exhibit this kind of behavior excessively. When this happens, it interferes with their ability to positively interact with others or play with his/her friends.
An excess aggressive behavior by your toddler will also prevent them from exploring and learning other things. That’s because they won’t be able to adequately interact with other activities and age mates to discover things together.
This is where you need to start worrying and seek guidance from a professional pediatrician or a child development professional to help you come up with a solution. And below are some of the signs to tell you that your toddler has gone beyond their normal aggressive behaviors:
- Too reckless and fearless – This is visible when you notice your toddler exhibiting don’t care and daredevil nature in whatever they do. Such signs include breaking things and disrupting other people’s space.
- Always Over-stimulated – Most toddlers need to feel a high-intensity sensory stimulation all the time, which causes them to start shoving, pushing, hitting, and even biting on a regular. If you see this in your child regularly, understand that they may require professional help as soon as possible.
- Acts Aggressively when Unprovoked – Sometimes your toddler won’t even require an action to bring out the aggressive behavior in them. You might just be minding your business, only for them to start throwing tantrums regularly.
- Regular Overreaction – Your child may require professional help if they keep overreacting with aggressive behaviors all the time. This might be during a major life change or getting an instruction that they don’t feel like obeying.
- Difficult to Interact With – While playing with other children, your toddler might always cause disruptive behavior. You’ll know it’s time to get some professional help if they do this regularly, even when unprovoked.
What Causes Aggressive Behaviors in Toddlers?
Aside from it being a development phase, there are other causes that can trigger the aggressive behavior in your toddler to come out. Below are some of the common triggers that may cause your toddler to start throwing anger tantrums.
Inability to Communicate Their Views
When your toddler finds it hard to get their point forward, throwing a tantrum becomes their most effective alternative to getting heard. Hence, they’ll act as harshly as possible to ensure that you take them seriously and listen to their demands.
Hungry or Tired
As the saying goes – ‘a hungry man is an angry man’. The saying couldn’t be more accurate and relatable when it comes to what may trigger your child’s aggressive behavior.
Also, your child may decide to throw a tantrum as an indication that they are tired. Those two, are also some of the most common causes for angry toddlers.
Whether it’s hunger, fatigue, or the inability to communicate their views, toddlers will ultimately act angrily to gain your attention. That’s because most people stop paying attention to them as they are now older to manage most of their time alone.
Therefore, your toddler may easily start to show aggressive behavior for you to pay more attention to them.
This might be another contributing factor to your child’s aggressive nature. What your toddler sees on a daily basis will most likely impact their behavior.
Because they are in a developing stage, they’ll want to emulate what they see and learn as explained earlier. So, if they are more exposed to violence without limitations, it will ultimately trigger their aggressive nature.
You need to limit such exposure as earlier explained to avoid getting a more troubling outcome in the future.
There you have it, a comprehensive guide on your toddler’s aggressive behavior and how to cope with it. Toddlers will usually go through this phase as a part of their development milestones.
But now that you know it’s a natural process (for the most part), dealing with it shouldn’t be that hard. You can employ the above detailed ideas and you’ll find them highly useful and effective in most cases.
But if the problem exceeds your knowledge and is increasingly becoming worse, you shouldn’t hesitate in seeking professional help for your little naughty boy or girl.
It will help you achieve effective results and ensure that your child is in safe hands at all times. That said, we hope to have adequately helped you deal with your toddler’s aggressive nature, among other relevant problems.