Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

You and Your Willful Toddler

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

You and Your Willful Toddler

Article excerpt

Your little one just won't listen. She gets upset at changes. She will not follow routines. It feels like she is sabotaging you and the whole family. Everything revolves around her and her potential to explode.

You are just plain worn out, and you are beginning to not like you. You should love and adore this child, and somehow it has become an adversarial relationship; not at all the one you envisioned with her when she was a baby.

Well, you do love and adore her. But daily routine has become more about control than nurturing and you both have to get back on track.

What could possibly be the matter? How do you spin what seems like a negative spiral into a positive trajectory?

Toddlers are by nature defiant. So first off, DO NOT TAKE IT PERSONALLY

Think about how you would feel if you knew what you wanted but could not say it right, could not move as quickly as you wanted, and felt constantly frustrated. How would you act?

Hmmmm.... bet not too different. Early on it is best to let individuals "own" their own feelings and behaviors.

Natural consequences seem to be an automatic teacher, but so do consistent limits and boundaries. Those boundaries when consistently applied provide the structure that gives rise to feelings of both security and safety.

Nothing trumps love, attention, praise and ROUTINE. So first off if you say you are counting to 3 and then the toy disappears for example, then it disappears. Not doing so teaches the child that crying gets the toy back. By going back on the limit you set, you are just letting yourself in for a more forceful exhibition the next time.

The Mayo Clinic stresses love and acceptance and structure that is constant is key for helping toddlers mature. However their research does address tantrums and behaviors that may indicate developmental issues.

".... Sometimes, however, temper tantrums can indicate an underlying issue, such as:

* Developmental delay

* Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Rarely, temper tantrums may indicate a more serious condition, such as Asperger's syndrome. To determine whether your son's temper tantrums are cause for concern or simply an age-appropriate response to frustration, ask yourself these questions:

* How often and in what settings do the temper tantrums occur?

* Is your son's speech development on track?

* Are your son's motor abilities and curiosity normal for his age?

* Are you able to manage the tantrums?

* Has your son ever injured himself or others during a tantrum? …

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