Avoiding Clashes

Trying to avoid temper tantrums, defiance and other difficult toddler behavior? Start by creating a home environment that is so child-proofed, it’s difficult for your little one to get into any trouble.


Provide a variety of safe playthings to explore (and change them out every few days): Offer a cardboard box to climb into; create a little house under a table, etc.

Redirect undesired behavior in a positive way—“I know you can use a quiet voice. Let’s see you try it,” instead of “Don’t shout!”

Try these additional strategies:

  • Avoid battling over things that require developmental readiness—toilet training, eating and sleep issues.
  • Offer simple choices: “Do you want to wear the red or green shirt today?” But don’t provide a choice if there isn’t one. If you need to run an errand, don’t ask your child whether she wants to come. Simply tell her, “We’re going in the car to pick up the dry cleaning now.”
  • Make a game out of a task your child doesn’t want to do: “Let’s race to see how fast we can pick up your toys.”

Disclaimer: This page is not intended to provide medical advice about your child. Always seek the advice of a physician, qualified healthcare provider or child-development specialist with any questions you have about your child's health, medical condition or development. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you read here.

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