Aggression is part of the normal development process of young children, as it is used as a means of communication before verbal skills are established.
Toddler aggression usually begins at 17 months and tends to peak between 18 and 24 months. Babies’ tantrums are a normal expression of frustration. How do you deal with your aggressive child? Here’s what you should do when your child is behaving aggressively:
1. Be calm
Don’t yell at the child, instead, stay calm and tell them what to do and what not to do.
A low tone is ideal while talking to a young child who has just shown aggressive behaviour. You should also use direct eye contact.
Use simple but powerful words like “stop” and “no”.
Hitting a child is likely to reinforce aggressive behavior and is totally inappropriate.
Most importantly, it teaches them that it is okay to hit someone.
The child may then imitate the act by hitting you or other people. Therefore, it is essential that parents keep calm.
2. Understand the behavior
Assemble what you see and identify the trigger for problematic, aggressive behavior.
For example, does your child hit when someone unexpectedly takes a toy? Or when they are tired or exhausted?
Asking a young child to explain their behavior is usually unhelpful and may aggravate the situation if they are unable to express their great feelings in words.
However, calmly presenting your understanding of the situation, simple language can help a young child learn to express their feelings in words.
If your toddler has advanced language skills, he may be able to meet your explanation with one of them.
3. Draw and distract
If the toddler’s behavior is out of control, removing him from the situation, if possible, may be the best way to set limits on the behavior.
Explain why you are doing these actions but if they are so upset they may not be able to process the words you say.
A calm, calm tone of voice will be most helpful in reducing problematic, aggressive behavior.
At the height of an emotional outburst, young children may lose emerging thinking skills.
Your child may communicate that he needs a break, or that he needs more help from you in managing his big feelings.
Distraction often works well with young children, no matter how silly or simple.
For example, showing something like a bird flying past or introducing humor when appropriate can change the tone and nature of the interaction.
4. Use the timeout
A time-out is a good way to let the child know that certain behaviors, such as hitting, are not socially acceptable and will not be tolerated.
But don’t leave your child alone with big, out of control feelings. Once he has calmed down enough to remain still and listen, a short time can be helpful.
However, a parent must be present with the young child during the tantrum and during the time-out.
Take the child out of the situation and to a place where there are no distractions; Like another room in the house or a quiet corner in the garden.
Explain calmly that what they did was wrong in a gentle tone. In the midst of a meltdown, a few words are usually better because long verbal explanations can be difficult for a young child to process in the heat of the moment.
Once the timeout is up and everyone is calm, let your child know that you love him, be open to what the child has to say and listen patiently.
It may give you some information about the underlying reason for the child’s behaviour.
The above steps help a young child calm down after a bout of problematic aggression.
Source of information: “Healthy” website.