And In This Corner We Have...

My 2-year-old has started hitting when he gets frustrated. It’s getting embarrassing when we go out to play with friends! How can I discourage him from reacting with aggression?

One day you have an angelic little baby who can do no wrong....the next day you're scouring the shelves at Home Depot looking for hard hats to hand out at playdates. Here are a few suggestions for working through aggressive behaviour.

Keep a close watch: We've all sat watching our little one minding their own business in the children's library when another child comes running up and thumps him on the head, and mom is no where to be found. Hey, it happens. You can’t always catch them in time to prevent it, but if you don't see it happen, you can't correct it. If you're having challenges with aggression, plan to stay nearby for a while so you can enforce a zero tolerance policy.

Punch a pillow? I don't think so: This is a common suggestion. "You can't hit your friends but if you're mad you can hit your pillow." Personally I don't follow this rule with kids. When adults need to be physically aggressive to let out frustration they get a one way ticket to anger management class. Seize the opportunity to teach them a lesson in self control and help them to find other ways to handle angry emotions.

Nanny Carrie's Tip: Tackle one problem at a time. If your toddler is shouting and yelling 'No' when he's battling it out with a playmate--praise him. Emphasize how happy you are that he chose to use his words to express frustration. There's time to work on manners later, but let him know you're proud that he kept his hands to himself.

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Author: Nanny Carrie

Nanny Carrie always knew she wanted a big family, so she made it her business to borrow everybody else's children until she had her own. You can find her embracing the organized chaos of life with five kids and loving (almost) every minute!

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