Parenting toddlers can be extremely challenging, specially for the first-time parents. It’s supposed to be the most joyful period of parenthood but, it becomes stressful. This article will cover the following domains:
- What are the common problematic behaviours of toddlers?
- Why these behaviours occur?
- How to resolve these issues?
As a parenting coach, I often meet with wonderful parents, feeling helpless when it comes to coping with their loving child’s meltdowns. Let me share with you the most common behavioural problems parents come to me with:
- Not listening
- Throwing tantrums
- Crying when any demand is turned down
- Exhibiting stubbornness
- Excessive screen time
- Talking back
- Using bad words
- Lack of emotional regulation
- Excessive energy
- Hurting others when angry
- Fussiness around specific toys, foods, & clothes.
Does this sound familiar to you? Are some of these your sore spots?
We will soon talk about how to deal with these, but first let’s take a peek into ‘why’, of these behaviours.
You might want to understand few things:
- Toddlers don’t have the same understanding of situations as adults.
- Toddlers are bestowed with lot of energy.
- Toddlers are curious
- Toddlers are getting accustomed to this world
- Toddlers don’t have concept of time
- Toddlers function with the intent of seeking attention.
Now if you pay close attention to above mentioned facts, you’ll see that toddler are creating an experience for themselves. They need time for it, & parents have their plates of life filled with responsibilities, & don’t have open ended time. Due to this gap between parents & toddlers, emotions race high at both the ends. Parents get flustered, & end up yelling or snapping at their kids. Toddlers on the other hand become more determined of seeking parent’s attention.
This is an ongoing loop.
Now how can parents disrupt this loop, cope positively with behavioural issues?
- Focus on spending quality time with your kids, not quantity.
- Ensure positive relationship with your spouse, kids get impacted by how they witness their parents treat each other.
- Make sure to communicate clearly with your toddler, don’t give mixed messages
- Reserve saying ‘no’, to your toddler for specific behaviours. Example: If your toddler is taking away another child’s toy, you establish a ‘no’. On the other hand, if your child wants to go park, but you’re tired, don’t say, ‘no’, simply request for some delay. Say something along the lines, “I know you really want to go to the park, & I would love to tale you to park, but give me some time to rest”.
- When the meltdown happens, you stay calm. When you start yelling, your child’s mind isn’t in position to receive messages. They get scared.
- Give them a hug, if they don’t want to be held, it’s ok for you to leave them & let them release the energy that has been generated due to overwhelming emotions.
- Don’t let your toddler get the idea, that if they push you via meltdown, you will give into their demands.
- Never start blaming each other for your child’s behaviour, specially in their presence.
- Monitor their screen time & content exposure.
These are some of the ways to cope with your toddler’s behaviour issues. Put them in practice, but also be mindful that modifying behaviour is a process, and processes take time.
If you any specific questions, or you would like me to help you with parenting practices, or if you have some thoughts that you would like to share, feel free to reach out at [email protected].