How to Handle Your Childs Aggression

Because they haven’t developed a good sense of self-control yet, toddlers can sometimes get pretty aggressive—hitting, biting and scratching, for example. That kind of behavior understandably makes parents worry about their child’s developing temperament.

But it doesn’t mean you’re raising a schoolyard bully. Research suggests that toddlers use this aggression as a survival mechanism of sorts. Not only is this behavior normal but it’s misunderstood by many parents.

What your child probably doesn’t “get” right now is the idea of cause and effect. She might feel badly when a peer is hurt but she doesn’t understand “why.”

Try to put yourself in your child’s small shoes.


There are a variety of ways you can settle down this behavior, including:

  • Setting limits – When your child hits or bites, step in and remind him that this hurts and is not allowed. Distract your child with another activity or—if things don’t improve—remove him from the situation entirely.
  • Observing your toddler’s behavior around her peers
  • Being a positive role model

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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