Toddlers are known for trying to push limits as a way to learn how the world around them functions. At times, this type of behaviour is acceptable but we all have to draw a line and react when pushing limits turns to aggressive behaviour towards other kids or even us, parents.
Here are several ideas how to react and correct this type of behavior and we welcome your own ideas (you can share them as a comment on the bottom of this article).
I find this so difficult with twins. They are constantly being rough with each other. When I see it happen, I remove the offender and comfort the offended (at times it can be difficult to tell.) I explain to the offender that they have to be gentle and that hitting and biting are bad (with a firm ‘no’). Having twins does high light different characters in children. One is naturally more gentle and the other is more boisterous.
Shared by Dr.Orlena Kerek, mother to 3 boys (6, 4 and 2 year olds) and girl (2 year old), author at Snotty Noses
Recognize child’s emotional state
I find hitting is usually a symptom of a frustrated child who doesn’t have the verbal or cognitive skills to solve the problem. I have more success by recognizing the child’s frustration or emotional state first, then applying the time out strategy and talking about the situation.
Shared by Deborah, mother to 2 boys (8 and 6 year old) and 3 girls (9, 4 and 1 year old), author at Mommy Crusader and her Knights and Ladies.
“Hands are not for hitting.”
Our 13 month old has started this recently. We hold her hand, say ‘ouch’ and tell her that ‘hands aren’t for hitting… Hands are for holding’. We then distract her. She doesn’t really know that she is hurting us. She is only testing to see what happens when she hits. How will we react. Her siblings did this too and our behavior was the same then too. They didn’t continue this behavior. We also go out of our way to praise her or reward her when she kisses us or shows positive behavior. This teaches her what behavior is getting her more attention and love. When she hits her brother or sister, we say ‘uh-oh! Hands aren’t for hitting… Hands are for holding’. We let them hold hands, walk a few steps and then we distract her. The older kids now understand this and we don’t have to intervene. For biting, I found that my kids bite when they were teething. We would pull them away, tell them they hurt us and then ask them if they wanted something to chew on. A favorite teether or some teething gel always helped.
Shared by Betsy, mother to 2 boys (3 years and 6 months), author at Betsy’s Photography
Keep it cool and stay calm
What Orlena said about twins is so true! I’ll add that I always try not to react as sometimes I think they are looking for that reaction and pushing limits. The cooler and calmer I can be the easier it is to defuse the situation.
Shared by Laura, mother to 2 twin boys(2,5 years old), author at Sunny Day Family
We put a stop to biting by inviting my son (then 2), to put his arm in his own mouth and gently bite down to see how it felt. He hadn’t realized it was so painful. We talked about how biting was hurtful and there are better ways to play or communicate. Hitting has been more of a problem for us, so we have spent time talking about how to communicate using our words not through our actions.
Shared by Ayesha, mother to 3 (7 and 2 and 1 years old), author at Words’n’Needles
Use positive parenting strategies
Whenever my son does something that hurts someone else, I first look for the underlying need or feeling that led to the behaviour. With my son, it’s almost always that he’s tired, or hungry, or seeking attention. When he was 2, he went through a biting stage, and it always seemed to be before bedtime when he was tired and a bit cranky. My husband and I tried to acknowledge that he was feeling tired first by saying something like, ” I see you are feeling grumpy and tired. It’s NOT okay to bite though. I EXPECT you to use your WORDS to show that.” Then we would often give him a teething toy and tell him that if he felt like biting, he could go and get it out of the fridge. This seemed to work and eventually, my son began going to get the teething ring himself when he felt like biting something. To read more about helping support kids when they’re aggressive using positive parenting strategies – visit our site
Shared by Sue, mother to 3 year old boy, author at One Time Though
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