How NOT to Deal with Toddler Tantrums and Challenging Behavior

Dear Parents,

Here’s what we should always keep in mind (including ME, always!): Toddlers are very emotional and they easily get frustrated when they can’t properly communicate what they want or don’t want. So instead of losing our control and regretting to be the worst mom (or dad), let’s keep our cool and understand our kids with their emotions and help them control their temper and get through it. Okaaay? ūüôā

So does your adorable and super cute one (or two or three)-year old sweet dear suddenly turn into a little monster and does nothing but drive you crazy?!

Well, hoooraaay!

Welcome to Toddlerhood, my friend!

Toddlers (aged 1 to 3) are my favorite kids and Toddler Stage¬†is one of the best years of a growing young child. It is a wonderful and amazing year full of firsts – first step, first run, first climb, first pose, first goodbye kiss, first power hug, first “please“,¬†first “thank you“, first “love you“, and¬†thousands of “mommmyyyyy!”. ūüėČ

But above all those awesome and¬†lovely firsts that we witnessed and made a big deal of, toddler stage is also the time when we face the many repeated¬†biting, uncontrollable screams, annoying tantrums, and never-ending small battles which almost always lead to crying. Uuugghhh…

Toddler tantrums are mostly the result of a kid’s frustration in being unable to communicate effectively. Many of them express their anger in a more aggressive manner¬†like biting, hitting, shouting, screaming, throwing, pushing, kicking, grabbing, pinching, or scratching.
This Christmas¬†season, toddler’s tantrums could get worse due to all the fun and pretty stressful holiday activities which your kids may partake. So before we jump off to the holiday craze, let’s better prepare ourselves on the possible meltdowns we’ll encounter to avoid spoiling our Christmas holidays.
Update: Or even if it’s past the holidays, on just any random regular day. how do we handle them?

How do we deal with our toddler’s tantrums and challenging behavior?
Honestly, I am NOT completely¬†sure, myself. I am also still trying to figure it out with my own kid. You see, every kid is different, and so is every parent and every parenting skill applied. One form of discipline may work with one kid but not with another; or the same disciplinary action may work in¬†a certain situation but may fail the next day. Don’t fret when you’re in a sticky situation with your kid. It’s important to note that it’s fairly normal for toddlers and other young kids to act this way. Yes, it’s normal but definitely not nice to tolerate for long. So now, let me share what I learned so far that never work with young kids. Here are the things that we should NEVER¬†try to do when our toddlers are acting out:
How NOT To Deal With Toddlers’ Challenging Behavior
+ few suggestions which I think are good alternatives that have worked at times

zion grasp

1. Don’t shout, yell, or speak so loudly – when your kid is shouting or screaming for certain things, he has a tendency to shout and scream as his frustrating way to get his point across to you and make sure YOU “hear” and get him.

I suggest that instead of shouting in frustration too, you need to speak calmly yet firmly. Toddlers understand but they need consistency.¬†Talk¬†to him as a little human being – that is, speaking softly in a clear and easily understood manner. Don’t baby talk to him but don’t speak like you’re giving a sermon to a teenager, neither. Speak in the right tone and choose your words carefully which must be appropriate for his age and situation.

2. Don’t reciprocate his actions –¬†when your kid hits/ bites/ kicks you or his playmates, don’t hit back nor bite/ kick/ or even flick since that will send a contradicting lesson. You’re teaching him that ¬†these are bad so why do it to him?

I suggest that you teach him what his hands, feet, or teeth are for. Demonstrate in a playful way that his hands are for hugging, clapping, giving a high five, or even playing peek-a-boo. Show him that his feet are for walking, running, or cycling. Play pretend to be a dentist and check up his teeth and tell him that his teeth gives him a beautiful smile and it hurts if he bites.

zion cry

3. Don’t label or speak ill – when your kid does something you dislike, don’t tell him that he is bad or careless or naughty or messy or dirty or slow. Not even stupid. (Seriously?!)

I suggest that when you’re almost about to say something not nice to your kid, bite your lips and tell that to yourself in your mind instead. Like, “You are careless, Rose!”¬†Hmmm.. Do you like how it sound? I don’t. Your kid won’t like it either. It will drag their confidence and self-esteem to the lowest level and whatever negative you label them will eventually become their character. So strive to stay positive amidst negative circumstances. Attack what they did, not who they are. You may tell them, “It is not good to bite or hit or throw or push”, but¬†not “YOU are so bad!”

4. Don’t ignore his struggles – when your child starts throwing a fist, you may have a tendency to avoid listening to his irritating cry. It’s more frustrating for them to see that we are neglecting them and failing to provide¬†their desires.

I suggest that instead of acting deaf to our kids, it’s always better to pay attention to their needs and wants (but not to every single whining, though). Observe and understand where their feelings of distress are coming from. Mind their behavior but don’t just give in to every demand since it may lead to a worse tantrum the next time. Talk about the situation, tell him the consequences of his actions, be direct with what you want him to do or say. When it’s his time to speak, listen carefully and give him your full attention. Encourage him by giving positive “if” solutions like “If you stop crying, I will buy¬†your toy”,¬†and not like,¬†“I will NOT¬†give your toy if you WON’T stop hitting”. It’s the same idea but differently structured. Focus on giving positive outcomes.

Mommy is craaazy! >:D

5. Don’t lose your patience –¬†there really are times (and many days!) when feel like you can’t take your toddler’s behavior anymore. It’s like you are gonna explode and backfire since your patience has reached level ZERO. In times when you feel that you can’t control the situation, don’t take things personally and never attempt to ¬†go for the “physical route”. I’ve done it before and I never felt good about it. Resorting to physical discipline and trying to control your child only teaches him to fear you, NOT to respect you. Don’t control your child to do good but rather teach him what is good.

I suggest that before you push your “Monster Mom” button inside of you, its best¬†to distant yourself from your kid first. You may be the one who will need more timeouts. So take a deep breath, count to ten, then sing the English Alphabet backwards and see how far you could go. Haha It may sound silly but it’s a good challenge to cool you off and shift your mood. ūüėÄ

There you go! That’s all I can think of, so far, in my experience dealing with my toddler’s tantrums and challenging behavior. Some of these may be common sense but I think it serves a good reminder at times. And I admit, even applying these things still doesn’t give me a perfect result. But that’s okay. I don’t like perfect, anyway. Perfect feels so unnatural, so fake. I don’t think there is really a perfect recipe for raising perfect kids, since there are no perfect parents, either.¬†These may not work every single time for every kid but at least we tried, right?

We are not perfect as moms but let’s continue to strive to be better parents.¬†

How about you? How do you deal with your kids challenging behavior? Do have some tips on how to effectively manage their tantrums? I’d love to hear it, share in the comments below! ūüėČ

Cheers to better parenting,

Mommy Rose



PS:¬†I never intend to take photos of my son cryingt. Just so happens he had few crying moments captured no matter how much I keep saying “SMILEEEE, SAY CHEEESEE!!!”¬†LOL sorry kid! ūüėõ

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  • Reply Pam / Hey, Miss Adventures!

    She's two now! She's thankfully easy to talk to but it's the milk issue and her spanking/pinching cousins and playmates that make us wonder what to do. Hopefully it's just a phase.

    June 26, 2015 at 7:40 am
  • Reply Pam / Hey, Miss Adventures!

    Haha. Sorry looking at the pictures can make you laugh but I know how hard it can be to deal with it in person. We struggle with the daughter, too, at times (mostly when she asks for milk but does not become patient enough to wait for it to be prepared.

    What we try to be consistent in doing is talk to her in a calm voice and just let her understand the situation so she doesn't resort to crying. We're not always successful though – she stops crying the moment she sees her bottle of milk. Haha.

    June 26, 2015 at 7:40 am
  • Reply Rose Angelie

    Oh I see. I think it's just a phase, (hopefully for my son too). I remember when my girl was two, she was into pinching and biting too, but just for a short time. With my son, he tends to be quite aggressive and active now, even before turning two – biting, scratching, pushing, shouting – which I think due to the (not so toddler-friendly) environment he's growing at. Or maybe he's really a spirited and strong-willed child. Or maybe because he's a boy.. Haha

    June 26, 2015 at 7:40 am
  • Reply Rose Angelie

    Hahaha No worries, I tend to laugh at these too! ūüėÄ Toddlers are so impatient little creatures. I'm not sure how old your girl is now but I think you'll deal with more crying (fake crying, whining!) when she reaches the terrible/terrific twos/threes. It's going to be fun! LOL

    June 26, 2015 at 7:40 am
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