Child Psychology: Problematic Behaviour and how to help a Toddler Cope Up

Parenthood can be challenging as the toddlers begin to grow a little. While they are a year old or so, they aren’t as assertive. Furthermore, they consider themselves as a part of their parents.

However, the transition happens at the age of 2 or 3. Herein, they begin to communicate what they want and how they want it their own way.

Logic isn’t a part of a toddler’s cognitive abilities at that age, and hence cannot be used to tackle an issue. This becomes a problematic situation for parents as they do not acknowledge and address the issue the way they possibly should.

Reaching the root cause of a situation is vital to be able to deduce a solution. Here is a guide as to what can you expect your toddler to behave like and what’s the potential answer for the same.

What is a Toddler’s ‘Challenging Behaviour’?

Being at a complex age and stage in life, you must allow your toddlers to oscillate between emotions. They may instantly switch from pride to guilt to shame to joy and so on.

This wild swing of emotions may intimidate you, but it’s very normal for children to go through this. They may be filled with joy on receiving a gift and suddenly start crying if it breaks.

Coping with such experiences is only possible if they have the necessary support system. This is where, you, as parents play a role.

How do you know your Child is struggling with his Emotions?

Here are some cues that you can take from your child’s behaviour to conclude that he’s not at peace with his emotional intelligence-

·         He throws things in anger.

·         He breaks down on not being able to communicate his thoughts.

·         He’ll say no when he actually intends a ‘yes’.

·         He won’t settle for anything other than what he wants, even if you get him something that’s quite similar.

·         He gets frustrated on not being able to get things done in his way.

How do you know your Toddler can Manage Emotions?

It’s not compulsory for your toddler to face emotional blockage. If your child shows below-stated traits, then he’s able to figure out his feelings-

·         Tries to communicate his predicaments through words or actions. This also means communicating anger, and not venting it out on toys or other things.

·          Reassures himself when he thinks that he’s upset.

·         Intends to find solutions to problems by re-visiting them.

When and how can you help your Child?

Now that you have figured out whether or not your toddler needs your assistance to sort out his emotions, here is what you can do-

1.  Talk about emotions

When dealing with emotions, the first thing is to help your children label them. This means that you can exemplify real life situations for him to understand what feeling signifies what emotion.

For instance, getting a compliment makes you happy. Assert this in front of your child for him to learn a response to compliments.

Additionally, you can also teach him to label negative emotions, like sadness. This can be sadness of parting from a toy or a loved one, or the like. Once he acknowledges the emotion, it’s easier to gain control over the reaction.

2.  Teach emotion management

After labelling emotions, it’s vital to make your child understand that there can be healthy responses to every sort of emotion. For instance, if your toddler gets angry when you aren’t letting him go out of the door, then you need to give him non-hurtful options for response.

This may include drawing an angry picture or cuddling up in a cosy corner instead of throwing things or hurting himself.

3.      Show empathy

In order to be able to teach your child how to handle things, you need to get in his shoes and understand what he’s feeling. For example, why is he hurt when his toy broke, or why does he want to only eat chocolates.

Until you tell him that you understand and validate his emotion and not deem it irrational, it’s hard to teach him otherwise.

4.      Let him make decisions

Helping your toddler make his own decisions is an excellent way of providing him autonomy. This gives him scope to manage his own feelings.

Instead of reacting with ‘not this way’, ‘don’t do this’, or ‘not this one’, give him favorable alternatives. For instance, if you want him to eat veggies, then you can give him three options like lady finger, pumpkin, or bottle gourd and ask him to choose.

5.      Help him practice ‘self-control’

In daily life, you can do so much to help your child practice self-control and positive behavioral response. For example, if you’re playing music, then you can tell your child that everyone will get to hear their choice of song turn by turn. This will help him adapt to situations where he has to patiently wait and share.

In Essence

Parenting a toddler of 2-3 year old can be quite tricky as you see a significant change in the behavioral pattern. However, when dealt with caution and compassion, it’s quite easy to teach your child emotion management.

Modeling is the easiest way to teach your child positive behavior. Since children copy people around them, it’s better to put a good example in front of them. This will help them in understanding and regulating behavior.