Angry Toddlers – Tips For Avoidance And Appeasement

Toys out the cotDealing with an angry toddler is not easy and because toddlers are not equipped with the necessary verbal skills to express their feelings or their fears, parents will be forced to contend with temper tantrums, biting attacks and may even have to dodge flying projectiles. Rather than having to put up with a screaming, tantrum throwing tot, moms should figure out a plan of action on how they intend to deal with the next outburst. If the child is unwell or tired, the smallest incident can spark an attack!

Anger is generally sparked by jealousy (my toy!). As the child grows they soon learn that sharing is part of life. In the meantime, parents can try to avoid jealousy attacks by distracting the toddler. Rather than rushing off to retrieve the stolen toy, positive parenting skills should be used by explaining to the child that the toy will return sooner than later and suggesting another toy or activity. By rescuing the toy, a valuable lesson will be lost and the toddler will take longer to grasp the concept of sharing.

An angry spell can also be sparked when the dreaded word -no!’ is mentioned. In fact the anger that is sparked by -no’ can last a lot longer than toddlerhood and will be present well into adolescence. There is no way to get around this; children have no alternative but to learn to accept the word. Parents could try to use the 3Cs of positive parenting, Courage, Conviction and Consistency. Be courageous and stand your ground, remember that no means no! Conviction – having faith and confidence in your parenting abilities and that you are only doing what you believe is right for your kids. Consistency, stick to your own rules and continue to be the parent you are meant to be. Giving in to the demands, may very well appease the child for a short while, but the lesson will be lost!

Avoidance is not easy, and it is better to face the triggers head on and deal with them. Toddlers are resilient and usually a few minutes after a tantrum, they are happily playing with the enemy or giving mom tons of cuddles. Instead of attempting to find ways to prevent a toddler from throwing a tantrum, help the child to understand that their behaviour is not acceptable. In the same vein, appeasement is not the right way out either, if parents give in to each and every whim and desire of their child, they will be setting themselves up for failure, as eventually the demands will become too great and the child will never understand the meaning of the word -no’, even as an adult.

The terrible twos are words that best moods describe an average toddler. They know what they want but they don’t know how to get it and they will try their best to wear their (already weary) parents down, to get their way. If you are at your wit’s end, and don’t have the strength to face yet another episode of flying arms, kicking legs and angry screams, remember the 3 Cs and try:

  • Distraction: When you notice a tantrum coming on, distract the toddler. Show them another toy, take them for a walk outside, and give them a task to do.
  • Time out! For a little tot, nothing is worse than being left out or ignored. Let your angered child spend a few minutes on a chair away from the family.
  • Talking. Speak firmly and show the annoyed tot that you are in charge! Try not to raise your voice but speak in a firm, even tone.

It is not easy parenting a toddler, these little people have minds of their own and parents need to stand together to form a united front, stand their ground and love their toddler unconditionally – temper tantrums and all!


 – Kathy Baron


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