Introduction

Introduction
Screaming, hitting, throwing objects: many toddlers display aggressive behaviours that leave parents at a loss. How can you help your child manage his negative emotions?

Screaming, hitting, throwing objects: many toddlers display aggressive behaviours that leave parents at a loss. How can you help your child manage his negative emotions and help him express himself in a more suitable manner?

Sophie often observes aggressive behaviour in her youngest daughter, two-and-a-half-year old Nahla. “She bites, hits, pinches, pushes, screams, throws or knocks over objects. There was even a period when she would systematically bite her sister and slap me whenever she was frustrated.” A short while ago, Sophie noticed a change in her daughter, but until just recently, the young mother was at her wits’ end. “I dreaded each day, each evening and each night, in anticipation of her next tantrum,” she says.

“Many parents avoid using the word ‘aggressive’ when referring to their toddlers,” says Isabelle Vinet, General Coordinator at the Centre of Excellence for Early Childhood Development. But this is exactly what this type of behaviour is. Even if it isn’t the intention of most toddlers to behave aggressively, it is still unacceptable and it’s important to put a stop to it.

Aggressive behaviour is above all an expression of anger manifested through an act that causes harm to someone or something.

Your role is therefore essential in helping your child develop self-control and in teaching him how to manage his emotions. Your toddler needs to understand early on that his aggressive behaviour will not be tolerated. He must also be taught what he can do as an alternative to express himself when he is angry.