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Nananakit, Nangangagat! 6 Ways To Handle Your Toddler's Aggressive Behavior
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  • Parents can’t help but worry when their cheerful, active tot suddenly becomes a fan of hitting and biting. It may come as a surprise, but toddler aggression is a normal part of development.

    Apart from being unable to control his impulses, your child is also learning to be independent, which can lead to undesirable feelings like frustration and anger. A violent reaction is “simply your child’s way of trying to communicate his emotions,” Melissa Otero, Psy.D., a child psychologist in Connecticut, told Parents.

    How to stop toddler aggression

    It doesn’t mean, however, that you should tolerate this undesirable behavior. Here are tips to curb your toddler’s aggressive behavior so he learns to develop other ways to express his emotions.

    1. Set limits and provide consequences.

    React the moment your toddler hits you or his sibling. Don’t wait for him to hit a second or third time. This lets him know right away that he’s done something wrong.

    Explain clearly why you’re putting a stop to his behavior. “Hitting is not allowed because you are hurting me.” Warn him that if he continues, you will no longer play with him.

    You can also provide logical consequences. These help a child learn that unpleasant things happen when they misbehave. It allows them to take responsibility for their actions.

    If he hits you again, remove him from the situation and let him have quiet time so he realizes that what he did is wrong. Only allow him to play again when he has calmed down.


    2. Don’t lose your temper.

    Hitting him back, telling him he’s ‘bad’, or yelling may stop misbehavior temporarily, but it will not change him. He might grow more frustrated and become more aggressive.

    Remember that children learn to behave from what we model. Keeping your cool can be the first step to teaching him to control his temper.  

    3. Teach him an alternative.

    Your toddler becomes aggressive because he cannot express himself well. Try verbalizing what he’s feeling so he can learn and identify different emotions.

    Try telling him, “You’re angry because your toy doesn’t work,” or “You’re sad because daddy left for work.” If he’s a little older, you can also ask him what made him upset.

    Emphasize that while it’s ok to feel angry or sad, it’s not ok to hit, bite, or kick just because you’re feeling them. Provide an alternative like telling Mommy or asking for help when he feels that way.

    4. Limit screen time.

    Even kid-friendly shows can have shouting, hitting, and pushing, so make sure to monitor what your children are watching. If he sees something undesirable, talk to him about it — “That wasn’t a nice way for him to get what he wanted, right?”

    5. Balance his activities with downtime.

    Toddlers have a lot of energy and playtime helps keep them from getting cranky. According to the World Health Organization, toddlers need to be active for at least 180 minutes every day. If they can’t be outdoors, try setting up a play area where they can dance, hop, run, or climb.

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    You should also provide your toddlers some down time where he can play quietly by himself. This helps him relax and it also frees up more time for you to focus on other things.

    6. Praise good behavior.

    Your child needs to know when he’s done something good or if he’s behaving well. “Giving hugs, smiles and positive feedback when he’s being good is the best way to help shape his behavior,” says David Anderson, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute, to Parents.

    Dealing with toddlers mean being consistent with your rules and consequences. It also means having a lot of patience. So keep calm, moms and dads. You’ve got this!

    Click here for an effective technique that a mom learned from her child's therapist to help makulit and malikot toddlers focus.  

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