How to deal with an aggressive toddler - GulfToday

How to deal with an aggressive toddler


This photo is used for illustrative purpose.

Imagine this scenario: Your 3-year-old son tends to react physically when he is angry instead of talking it out or letting anyone intervene. If you have a boy, you may be quite familiar with this kind of behaviour from them.

You may have encouraged him to use words when he’s angry but he did not get it. You may have punished him by sending him to his room for the rest of the day.

So how to approach this?

Since it is true that boys, by nature, are more aggressive than girls, these problems are not that unusual when it comes to 3-year-old boys and aren’t, in and of themselves, cause for alarm.

This is not to say that aggression from a boy that age ought to be overlooked, but female teachers and mothers are more shocked by it than are males, including most dads. (But then, women are even more shocked when aggressive behaviour comes from a girl.)


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There is no apocalyptic significance to this sort of behaviour. Even occasional biting — which tends to provoke near-hysteria among preschool staff (and mothers of bitten children) — is not pathological at this age and does not predict later adjustment problems. In the previous sentence, however, “occasional” is the operative word.

Boys are also more impulsive than girls and language is not their natural problem-solving medium. Trying to persuade your son to “use words” when he’s angry may be a laudable effort, to be sure, but you’re not likely to obtain much success with this approach for another year or two…or three.

This is another example of women expecting boys to be more like girls. Boys respond to concrete consequences. At much earlier ages, girls respond to words and are more successful at using them in social negotiations.

Use the “Three Strikes, You’re Out!” plan. Also, add 15 minutes of in-school time-out when one of the target misbehaviours occurs.

In the final analysis, the success of this plan hinges on everyone keeping their cool and cutting him no slack.

Tribune News Service

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