Mother & Baby (Australia) - - Real Advice -

My tod­dler keeps lash­ing out at friends and fam­ily. How can I man­age this be­hav­iour?

Child psy­chol­o­gist Sally-Anne

McCor­mack says: Tod­dlers are funny, cu­ri­ous and adorable, but there are times when they can also be­have like lit­tle mon­sters, punch­ing or kick­ing those close to them.

This be­hav­iour may seem to come from nowhere, but it is of­ten due to feel­ing frus­trated or an­gry. They don’t have the lan­guage to ex­press th­ese emo­tions, so they lash out.

Gen­er­ally, mak­ing short but clear state­ments about the be­hav­iour is ben­e­fi­cial. A long-winded ex­pla­na­tion will not be un­der­stood – a sim­ple, “Don’t hit peo­ple, it hurts them” while re­mov­ing your tod­dler from the sit­u­a­tion works best. Try to be calm and di­rect in your re­sponse to their be­hav­iour.

Lit­tle ones are on a steep learn­ing curve, so be pa­tient. They have learned to crawl, walk, un­der­stand lan­guage, talk, use the toi­let and ac­quired other skills in a short pe­riod of time. If they are in a sit­u­a­tion that may trig­ger an out­burst, ei­ther do all you can to re­duce the risk, for ex­am­ple give them lunch before at­tend­ing to any­thing else, or be on the look­out so you can pre­vent an out­burst before it starts.

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