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.