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11 Ways To Handle Difficult Toddler Behavior

by | Parenting

Jul 14, 2020

Difficult toddlers’ behaviors are everyday experiences for many people. Understanding why it happens is important for handling it.

I got this from a frustrated mother lately. ”So I am officially in Nixon’s tantrum phase as much as I would like to feel perturbed in particular when the wailing gets intense in a shrill way for silly reasons. How do I handle this situation? It is so bizarre to me, and I feel emotionally blackmailed. This is a perk of something. However, I can’t lay my hands on it yet.”

A lot of us have kids within the age bracket of eight months to three years old. Strategizing ways to handle difficult toddler behavior at this age is usually not just a piece of cake.

It can make a person feel so guilty, confused, and annoyed. Notwithstanding, most parents have not done any injustice to their toddlers.  

You may have many things on your to-do list to get off before the sunsets, but your child’s incessant throwing of tantrums has made you lose track of the day.

As toddlers begin to grow and develop, they use tantrums to communicate their need for self-control, and others with this tear-jerking act.

Is it easy to handle tantrums?

No, it is not easy. Erik Erikson’s stages of psychosexual development analyses the idea of toddler behavior brilliantly. When you see your child throwing tantrums, it is a positive sign. This means, toddlers are looking for ways to convey their autonomy, tastes, and will for the first time. 

Your toddler is growing and developing skills that would later help in life now and much later. It is a blessing if you can understand and manage your child properly as they sprout. On the contrary, it could become a curse, too, if you fail at guiding your toddler.

In this blog post, I have come up with ways to deal with child behavior problems based on my research and experience while raising about four toddlers from different family backgrounds.

1. State expectations clearly beforehand

Allow your toddlers to identify your do’s and don’ts. It makes them act responsibly in any situation. Moreover, it creates room for you to discipline them when they err.

A few months ago, my pal had left her two toddlers under my care. At this moment, I realized I had to put my best foot forward to sail above the difficult behavior of these kids. While they were with me, I told them on no condition should they open the door for anyone to enter the house without my permission.

On a fateful evening, I just left the bathroom hurriedly to pick up something in the kitchen. When the door flung open. Behold, two men in my living room. At that point, I reminded them of our agreement and denied them of watching their favorite cartoon. The rest of their stay was pleasant until their mama calls.

2. Provide alternatives rather than saying “no”

I find it very helpful when someone says ‘no’ to me but gives me other options. Endeavor to make your toddlers have other choices when they suggest something not really good to your ears.

Picture this scenario; you are in an electronic store. You wanted to buy a particular make, but it is not available. Between these two traders, who would you like to purchase something from again next time?

First trader: No, I don’t have it.


Second Trader: No, I don’t have. But we have this item. It serves the same purpose too.

Sounds like you will prefer the second trader’s response.

3. Choose your battles

The goal of parenting is to train future leaders out of these toddlers today. For that good reason, have some fixed rules for them to abide by. Rules such as no talking while eating, no playing with sharp objects, putting on your seat belt, etc. However, you can choose to be flexible at it once in a while.

4. Allow your toddler to select between two options of the same result

Allowing your toddler to choose is an energy saver. Consequently, you still get them to do your bidding without any hitch.

For example, “are you ready to eat now or in 3 minutes?” Or “would you like to do your assignment now, or should I help you with it?”. Bravo!, you get the same result from different options.

5. Give warnings with a timer

Kids will conduct themselves properly if you inform them of specific instructions earlier with a warning. I discover that using a timer works smoothly without any uproar from them. When I say, “one last time, do this”. They tend to obey more quickly than ever.

6. Choose logical consequences

Let your toddler be the one to choose the consequences of his or her actions based on moral reasoning. Examples:

  • Spoiling something: attracts a penalty of not playing with a favorite toy
  • Fighting: attracts a penalty of being grounded at home.

7. Empathize/Paraphrase

One of the ways to put an end to difficult behavior is to make them feel heard and understood. In some situations, kids may not be able to voice out their feelings verbally. Therefore, this leads to irritating acts. If you are good at paraphrasing, it will help your toddler express themselves better in their own words.

8. Give a hug

Hugging your toddler gives them absolute reassurance that you are there for them. This helps them to cooperate with you better. Notwithstanding, if their acting out has gone physical, it’s better to allow them to be.

9. Do not negotiate what is not negotiable

Although you give your toddler enough empathy after creating some rules and regulations, they are still obstinate. It is best not to go into a power struggle with them. Instead, take a time out with your little ones.

10. Create time for them

Set time aside for toddlers, no matter how busy you are as parents/guardians. Get yourself actively involved in the lives of your offspring. So you can bond with them. Moreso, you are likely to understand yourselves better.

For example, kids tend to be naughty when their parents are not on the lookout for them. However, creating time to be with them will make you discover how adorable they can be.

11 Ways To Handle Difficult Toddler Behavior

11. Be patient

There is no shortcut to success when handling a difficult toddler as a parent. You don’t need to panic at this stage of their life. Trying to knock some sense into them would only worsen the situation at hand.

Sometimes, the best thing to do is to be relaxed and let them regain their senses. Just as this popular saying goes, “after the storm, comes calm.”

Bottom Line

Desiring to make your little child turn a new leaf without leading them astray is effective if you follow the tips mentioned above. Endeavor to bring up your toddler in the way they should grow without regrets. In so doing, you will be a proud parent.

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By Rachael Ukpebor

Rachael Ukpebor is an Editorial Assistant for Whatsdalatest. She graduated with honours from the University of Benin with a degree in Sociology and Anthropology. She covers beauty, relationship, and lifestyle topics at WDS, everything from best skincare and makeup hacks, to relationships. Her favourite music is Lovin' You by Minnie Riperton.

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