Watching your toddler throw her shoes across the room and scream at them for not going on her feet correctly might make you stifle a laugh from time to time. But however cute you may think your toddler’s angry outbursts are on the surface, dealing with violent behavior is not to be taken lightly. If your toddler has violent tendencies, it’s time to take action now.
Look at yourself first. If your toddler is showing signs of violence, look to yourself and your spouse to see if you are the cause of the problem. Do you have violent tendencies? Do you find yourself hurling things across the room or cursing violently when something doesn’t go your way? If you have violent episodes, your kids will learn to do the same. Dealing with their violent tendencies means dealing with your own.
Stay calm at all times. When your little girl flies off the handle and starts acting violently or aggressively, do not lose your cool. When she sees you react to her behavior, it only fuels her behavior. Feel free to imagine picking her up and putting her in her room for the rest of her toddler years, but don’t act on those feelings. Stay calm.
Speak firmly to your toddler. If he hits you or another person, firmly tell him that hitting is bad. Keep it simple. Try, “We don’t hit. Hitting is painful,” and then enlist whatever punishment is suitable for your son’s age and his misdemeanor. This shows you mean business.
Forbid violent games during playtime. If you see your daughter hitting one doll with another doll, tell her that it’s not nice to hit and that her dolls will go to time out if they continue to hit one another. Children who play violently are one step away from acting violently.
Do know be intimidated by a child who displays violent behaviors. And if you are, do not let them see it. The more you work your schedule around your kid’s violent episodes, the more likely he is to continue his behavior.
Punish your child, and be consistent about it. When she acts violently, there must be consequences. Tell her upfront that violent behavior results in consequences, such as losing her favorite toy, her favorite outfit, or the privilege of eating her favorite dessert. Whatever you decide, stick with it. Kids won’t stop their violent behavior if they aren’t paying for it.