Why is your one-year-old an­gry all the time? It’s im­por­tant to first un­der­stand the rea­sons be­hind these out­bursts, says DR RICHARD C. WOOLF­SON.

Young Parents (Singapore) - - Contents -

Why is your tot an­gry all the time? It’s im­por­tant to first un­der­stand the rea­sons be­hind these out­bursts.

Don’t be sur­prised if you feel your one-year-old is an­gry all the time – it doesn’t mean she has started her ter­ri­ble twos al­ready. ft just means that she is a typ­i­cal tod­dler who is full of her self-im­por­tance.

She thinks the world re­volves around her, so if she doesn’t get ex­actly what she wants, when she wants it, she ex­plodes with rage. fn a flash, your nor­mally quiet, friendly, lov­ing one-year-old can trans­form into Miss An­gry who won’t tol­er­ate any­one stand­ing in her way.

But in most in­stances, she is not be­ing naughty when she has a tantrum; it’s just that her youth­ful frus­tra­tion has reached boil­ing point and an an­gry tantrum is her in­stinc­tive way of re­leas­ing this in­ner ten­sion.

The first step in tam­ing her anger is to first un­der­stand the rea­sons be­hind these out­bursts. For ex­am­ple, these are what she is try­ing to tell you:

“I’m very tired.”

Tired­ness and an­gry be­hav­iour are closely linked at this stage in your in­fant’s life. then she gets ex­hausted, she be­comes ir­ri­ta­ble and rest­less.

“I want to put the shape in the hole but I can’t.”

vour one-year-old’s thresh­old for frus­tra­tion is low, and a small chal­lenge can eas­ily trig­ger a fu­ri­ous tantrum.

“I don’t like be­ing told what to do.”

vour tod­dler loves you and wants to be loved by you. But she also wants to be the one who lays down the rules at home.

“I’m hun­gry and I want an­other snack.” “I want to do this by my­self.”

vour one-year-old wants to be in­de­pen­dent and to do things with­out help. But she be­comes fu­ri­ous when she can’t man­age on her own.

Pre­ven­tion is bet­ter than cure, of course. So if you see her anger build­ing up, do your best to calm her.

For ex­am­ple, if she is strug­gling to do com­plete a task by her­self, of­fer her some sup­port be­fore she ex­plodes with rage. ff she is fum­ing be­cause you refuse to give her any more bis­cuits, of­fer her a piece of fruit as an al­ter­na­tive.

fn other words, use your un­der­stand­ing of the tem­per trig­gers to soothe her be­fore she reaches that dreaded point of no re­turn.

Stand your ground

De­spite your best in­ten­tions, how­ever, you can’t al­ways stop her tantrums. then your one-year-old does trans­form into Miss An­gry, re­sist the temp­ta­tion to give in to her de­mands be­cause you want to calm her down.

That will only teach her that when you say “no”, you re­ally mean: “No, but if you get an­gry f’ll change my mind.” And you’ll soon find that the fre­quency of her tantrums ac­tu­ally in­creases. That’s why it’s im­por­tant to stand your ground, no mat­ter how much she rages at you.

then pos­si­ble, re­move her from the source of her frus­tra­tion (for ex­am­ple, the shape that won’t go into the puz­zle board, her older brother who won’t let her touch his toys). The change of con­text can break the ten­sion and help your tod­dler re­lax.

Once she is calm again

– and that may take sev­eral min­utes – sit with her, soothe her, cud­dle her, give her a drink of wa­ter and chat to her. Tell her that you were very up­set by her out­burst. This mes­sage will get through even­tu­ally.

There will be times, of course, when she copes with­out los­ing her tem­per. then that hap­pens, make a big fuss of her, tell her how pleased you are and give her a spe­cial treat. This re­in­forces her pos­i­tive be­hav­iour.

If you see her anger build­ing up, do your best to calm her and re­move her from the source of her frus­tra­tion.

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