If you have a toddler and are a concerned parent, you will eventually be disturbed by some of their behavior. All toddlers do things that make you sit and wonder, “what the heck are they doing?” Luckily, most of these behaviors are stages. If you see disturbing behavior in your child and you are a little more than concerned, discuss it with your pediatrician.
Disturbing Behavior in Toddlers
Slapping – Fortunately, this is only a stage, and your toddler will eventually stop this disturbing behavior. As a parent, you will be very upset when your toddler strikes another person. You will probably become very apologetic, and you may want your toddler to apologize as well. He or she may not apologize, so be prepared. Slapping can also come about because the toddler saw someone else do it.
Climbing – Climbing is a very disturbing behavior because parents tend to worry about their children hurting themselves. It is a very dangerous for toddlers, and parents need to watch their toddlers closely. After climbing usually comes the disturbing act of jumping on furniture. This behavior needs to be deterred if at all possible.
Temper tantrums – Temper tantrums are disturbing to everyone. Parents may be concerned about temper tantrums when they seem to be for no reason. But every behavior has a reason. Temper tantrums are usually caused by frustration. Toddlers don’t know how to express themselves besides acting out. If there is crying for no reason or temper tantrums that last, you may want to take your toddler to the doctor. This could be a sign of another problem.
Separation anxiety – Luckily, this is just a phase toddlers go through. It’s disturbing for any parent to watch their child cry as they leave. The best thing to do is to quickly say goodbye and make a big deal out of coming back. Separation anxiety can also be caused by problems of where the child is being taken. You may want to stay out of your child’s sight and see how long he or she cries when you leave. If it is longer than 20 minutes every day, you may want to look into your daycare.
Head banging – A disturbing behavior that can be extremely hazardous to your toddler is head banging. This needs to be interrupted immediately, and the toddler needs to be held until this passes. This could be a sign of a medical condition and it should be reported to your pediatrician.
Pushing – Pushing seems to be a phase. It is also a learned behavior, usually from other toddlers. This is a disturbing behavior that should immediately be addressed, never by spanking, but by diverting and timeouts.
Snatching toys – Snatching toys could be a sign of something else going on with your child. This is somewhat aggressive behavior and needs to be addressed immediately. It is also a stage, but let your pediatrician know if it is something that is exhibited toward one particular child or if your toddler cries around one particular person.
Tips to deal with disturbing behavior:
Relax – Your toddler is going to pick up on your mood. First and foremost, relax before dealing with a toddler’s disturbing behavior. You don’t want your toddler thinking something is wrong.
Do not spank – Try not to spank a toddler. This may be easier said than done when it comes to natural reactions. If you relax first, it will not be so hard. Toddlers will get one of two things from a spanking. He or she will either think it is OK to hit others or will fear you. Either scenario is not good.
Do not act worried – If you act worried, the toddler is going to sense your anxiousness. Toddlers may act worse because they will be on edge.
Noise – Distract your toddler to stop the disturbing behavior. Do anything to get the toddler’s attention. Once the toddler focuses on you, tell him or her no. Let them know if their behavior was bad.
Redirect – Direct your toddler to play or to participate in another activity. This will take his or her mind off of the disturbing behavior.
Discipline – Depending on what the toddler was doing that was disturbing, you may have to put him or her in a timeout.
Making apologies – You can apologize for toddlers and ask them to say they are sorry. But they may not want to apologize, and you are going to be in a position that will turn into a power struggle. This is not something you want. Don’t ask the toddler to apologize. Tell your toddler he or she can apologize or you are going to take away one of their favorite toys. Stand behind what you tell them.
Consistent discipline – However you discipline, the most important thing is that you are consistent with the action. If they do something and you tell them no, the next time they try it you need to say no again.
Avoid inappropriate shows and actions – Toddlers pick up on everything. Whatever they see, they copy it. If you don’t want your child kicking or pretending to shoot people, don’t let him or her watch it on television. If you do not want your toddler cussing, you need to make sure he or she does not hear it.
Parent by example – Say please and thank you. If you are courteous, your toddler will be too. They will follow your example more than they will learn by what you tell them.
Reward good behavior – Always reward good behavior. That does not mean you should bribe your child to act good. That means when your child is being good, you need to tell them what a good boy or girl he or she is being.