When toddlers exhibit bad behaviors, it can stem from a number of reasons. Children at this age aren’t deliberately trying to misbehave or stress you out. Whether the cause is emotional, biological or environmental, these negative behaviors always happen for a reason. And while it’s important for parents to understand that our toddlers are doing everything they can with the limited skills they have, we can all admit that dealing with a defiant toddler can be extremely tiresome.
If you’ve been struggling with your toddler’s mood swings or bad behaviors at home, you’re not alone. The good news is we’ve come up with a list of solutions to help you address your toddler’s difficult-to-manage behaviors.
Focus on positive behaviors
Children are more likely to be cooperative when parents focus on their child’s positive behaviors instead of the negative ones. It is natural for young kids to misbehave, throw tantrums and have meltdowns from time to time. Rather than paying attention to these undesirable behaviors, try to focus on the good ones instead.
Make it a point to acknowledge and recognize each little good action your little one does. Even if it’s something as simple as finishing all of the vegetables on his or her plate, or being cooperative during the bedtime routine, be sure to let your child know that you recognize and appreciate these things. You can do this verbally or by giving your child a loving embrace.
Let’s admit it. We often find ourselves reacting immediately when our children misbehave. Most of the time, our responses are accompanied by an overreaction such as screaming and yelling. What have you noticed when you’ve reacted this way? Was it helpful? Did it make a difference? Probably not.
Receiving negative reactions from adults will not do any good when your child is in the midst of a meltdown. Chances are, kids will just ignore this type of reaction from you and continue their tantrums. The best thing to do is to stay calm. This is of course easier said than done, as it takes a lot of willpower to maintain your composure during an outburst. However, this is one of the best ways to actually respond to your child’s difficult behavior.
Validate the reason behind the misbehavior
When toddlers exhibit disruptive or bad behaviors, this can happen due to several factors. They’re not being “naughty” or “bad” because they’re just born to behave this way. There’s always an underlying reason and a trigger to these types of behaviors. Take some time to find out the reason behind your child’s outburst before lashing out.
Talk to your child and ask him or her what happened. If your child tried to destroy his or her sibling’s toys, don’t immediately be accusatory or automatically take the other sibling’s side. Most of the time, there is a reason behind what happened. If your child explains that it’s because his or her brother also threw a doll, take this opportunity to point out and focus on the emotions instead of on their resulting actions. Empathize with your child and let him or her know you understand that it was ok to feel angry and upset. However, make sure little ones also understand how to appropriately respond in these types of situations moving forward. You may also consider putting them in a time-out as a consequence.
Use non-violent disciplining techniques
Contrary to some more traditional beliefs, using physical punishment to discipline children rarely works. It may stop the meltdown in the moment but it will not teach your child anything. In fact, it may lead your child to display even more defiant behaviors in the future. In order to instill appropriate behavior in young kids, using non-violent discipline methods is the way to go. Time-outs, for example, are a good consequence for misbehavior without imposing physical punishment.
Cultivate a nurturing and loving relationship with your child
Several scientific studies claim that one of the reasons why toddlers and children misbehave may be due to lack of a positive and loving parent-child relationship. One of the ways you can be a better parent and enforce discipline is by establishing a positive relationship with your little one. It is easier to correct a bad behavior when you have a solid and loving connection with your child.
Make it a point to build a strong bond with your little one. You can be more sensitive by taking the time to be more attentive to your child’s needs. Find ways to show children affection and make them feel loved.
Dealing with challenging behaviors in toddlers is, no doubt, one of the most difficult aspects of parenting. If you’re been searching for solutions, these are some tips you can try to help you address the challenges you’ve been facing at home with your little one.
For more parenting tips, check out our parent resources page for more information https://akersacademy.com/blog/.