Between the ages of 1–3 is when children find it difficult to control their emotions, and when they can also have difficulty in communicating or expressing themselves adequately. This can lead to displays of unwanted emotion such as crying or hurting themselves, especially when they do not get their own way. Unfortunately, parents often look to solve these problems by giving into their child’s demands but this only reinforces these negative behaviors as children view them as an effective and necessary step to getting what they want. The best way to deal with children’s unwanted behavior is by refusing to give in, attempting instead to better understand them and identify what is at the root of their unhappiness, before gradually training the child to communicate their desires in an appropriate manner. For example, if a child is screaming and shouting, parents should stand waiting at a distance, only entering into conversation with them once their cries have died down, as this will help to teach them how to better manage and control their own emotions.
For children who attempt to cause damage to themselves, others, or their food when angry, parents should try to hug their child until they calm down. It may be necessary to grab them gently when they’re facing the other way to prevent them from turning their violence against the parents. It is natural for children to writhe around and push parents away while doing this, so parents must be ready to hug them tightly and be patient while the child’s temper subsides. If parents behave in this manner consistently each time the child loses his or her temper, the child will eventually learn that these unwanted behaviors are not the way to get what they want. The result will be a reduction of such behavior before cutting it out completely.
It is important that parents do not lose their own temper, or try to teach a child who is still angry, as this could further inflame the situation. Instead, they should wait until the child has calmed down sufficiently to listen to what is being said while not having given in to the demands. This will help children understand that losing their temper will result in adults becoming more strict in not meeting their demands. However, if parents react by losing their temper, hitting the child or shouting at them, that child will eventually begin to copy and replicate these behaviors. It is vital that parents remain calm, approachable and patient until the child grows up and shows an attitude improvement.