The Term Aggression:
Before we try to understand aggressive behaviour in toddlers, let us first ponder upon the term aggression.
Aggression can be termed as a feeling of irritability, rage, and frustration. It is not just an emotional trait seen in humans but is also evident in animals. When a person or an animal feels displeased emotionally or physically or finds his or her motives unaccomplished, a sudden pop up of an emotional trait can be seen in the behavior of a person or an animal, which we profoundly called as aggression.
Aggressive Behaviour in Toddlers: Causes And Effects
The toddler age ranges from 12 to 36 months, where the children are absorbing a lot of things from their environment and improving their life skills with what we call learning by doing.
Aggressive behaviour in toddlers is a widespread aspect where we see the parent struggling to calm down their little ones.
The children of this age are still advancing in their language; they need constant support from an adult who can understand their needs while reaching their milestones.
Like adults, children tend to get irritated when they find their essentials are not heard, understood, or overlooked. This leads to a prompt display of unpleasant behaviour which is quoted as aggression.
Impact On The Behaviour
A sudden onset of scream, hitting, breaking toys or an outbreak of a child’s tantrums, etc. is the display of aggressive behaviour in toddlers. Anger holds a lot of impact on the psychological and physical functioning and well being of the child. Some of the significant behavioural consequences are as follows:
>> Lack Of Confidence: Aggression in toddlers causes lack of confidence in the child’s personality. It is seen that children who are exposed to an aggressive environment or show signs of aggression are more vulnerable emotionally and physically. These children generally lack a sense of security and have a low confidence level.
>> Impulsive In Nature: Toddlers who are aggressive show spontaneous nature patterns where they tend to act on situations quickly and mindlessly.
>> Lack Of Empathy Towards Kin And Others: To build empathy in children, it’s essential to channelize emotional skills for toddlers. The children who are quick to show their aggression have low empathy towards their kin and fellows; they generally don’t care about others’ feelings and needs and tend to get selfish to fulfill their ends.
>> Violence And Anger Come Together Hand In Hand: It is noticed when a child is aggressive, he shows signs of abuse which, if not checked at the right time, can get inculcate in the characteristics of the child for life.
Taming The Aggression Through The Social And Emotional Development Of Toddlers
Aggression is an essential trait for humans to show their displeasure towards something. This aggression can turn into a big problem for a person if not tackled carefully during his childhood. The anger can have a massive effect on a person’s social, economic, and mental development.
To tackle this impulsive behavior, parent and teachers play a significant role in molding the child’s psychology and nature. As a responsible caregiver, the children should be exposed by the parent and teachers to a healthy environment. The people around them should set an example when they are faced with conflicts and displeasure. As the children are a keen observer and rightly said, “children are like wet cement, whatever falls on them makes an impression,” we as their adults are responsible for who they become tomorrow.
Encouraging Patience To Check Aggressive Behaviour In Toddlers
The caregivers should help built patience in the toddlers in the following ways:
1). Rewarding the child when he shows tolerance towards something.
2). Making a child a great listener by telling them moral stories and side by side inculcating those qualities in them by appreciation, as not only the children but also adults love to be appreciated.
3). Building empathy towards others: The children should be sensitized towards others’ feelings, and they should be made aware of the importance of happiness of everyone rather than focusing on one’sone’s own needs.
4). Quality of being selfless: The child should be taught selflessness by helping them becoming givers rather than takers where they can share their old toys and stuff with not so privileged children. They should be evaluated as to how they feel when they help someone or give something to someone.
5). The children who show the pattern of aggression should be engaged in hands-on activities like messy play, breathing exercises, water play, etc. which will calm their urge of rage and anger and distract their high energies in productive learning.
How To Manage A Toddler Who Shows Patterns Of Aggression
- When we see a child throwing a tantrum in front of guests and others, we often feel embarrassed and try to stop the child in any manner we can. When the child does not calm down, we tend to lose control and show the same aggression what the child is exhibiting, but this will only create more trouble.
- Whenever a caregiver finds a child losing control of his temper, take a deep breath, and hold on to your embarrassment for a while.
- It is advisable to get down on the knees to the child’s level and comfort the child first.
- The next step should be to make the child drink water if he wants, and if it’s hot, make him comfortable by loosening his clothes a little because sometimes it can be heat and uneasy garments that can make a child irritable.
- When the child will see that he has all your attention over him, he will calm down. This is the time you ask the child patiently what he wants.
- If the child is demanding something that is not right, make the child understand the pros and cons but in a place where others are not there to judge the child.
- If he still asks for the same engage him in some other activity he enjoys while keeping the thing out of sight for which he was displeased.
- Sometimes, when a child is sleepy or hungry also shows pangs of anger, try to make him comfortable in what he needs to trust the gut feeling as sometimes children cant express why they are upset.
A child is a mirror of his environment. We must provide a healthy and happy environment for the children around us. They are little people who exhibit all the emotional traits in a very higher range of what we generally present as adults.
It is essential for a child to feel emotionally and physically secure to curb down his anger issues. At this time where we are fighting with the pandemic, economic insecurities, and mental stress, we can never imagine what profound impact it is putting on the young minds of our children.
In this time where children are being quarantined at their homes and where schools and playgrounds are deserted, we cannot imagine what long time affects it is putting on their emotional and physical well being. Being home all day under the constant influence of screen time where caregivers are busy with their work from home schedules, let’s think about our little wonders, how they are feeling with the sudden change in their lives.
Let us all join hands and pledge together to be a more responsible individual towards our children who thrive for our care, love, and attention a little more during these hard times. We are together in this; let’s build a better world together.
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