Why Do Toddlers Act Up


I am having tons of headaches with my 28 months old toddler. He is not as obedient as he used to be, his catch phrase now is “No!” “I don’t want!” Even the slightest matter can cause Gulf War to break out between me and him.  Every day during dinner I have to constantly remind him to chew and swallow his food while I have to tailgate him as he runs and jumps around, yet he just keeps the food in his mouth, every feed takes around 1-2 hours, my patience runs out quickly as I have an infant crying hysterically looking for me, sometimes I resort to hitting him on his hand to punish him.

I realized the more I scold him, the more he rebels and purposely does the opposite. Even when we are outside, he simply refuses to follow instructions. I have to drag him out of the playground when it is time to go home, major meltdown like lying flat on fours on the floor kicking away as well as screaming hoarsely. I have eyes all on me and it makes me look like a mother who has failed to educate my child. 

Disobedient children are our worst nightmare, but from their standpoint, they could be curious and do not know the consequences of their behaviour nor quite understand what "defiance“ is. Based on their age and cognitive abilities, toddlers that age probably cannot fully comprehend the full implications of what we say unless they are simple, clear and precise. On the other hand, toddlers are constantly exposed to the environment around them and gradually as they develop self-awareness, have their own ideas, and try to do things their way, they will start defying what we expect of them with their forever “NOs” and “I DON’T WANTs”. This is probably your first indication that the child has entered the "first period of resistance".

Ways To Deal With A Defiant Child

- Have a family board where rules of behavior are clearly stated.
- Use a firm tone to remind and explain your requests to them when they do not listen
- Timeouts must be diligently executed when children display unacceptable behavior
- Toddlers are always watching you, so make sure that your behavior is role-model material
- Remember, consistency is key to effective discipline

- While having house rules are important, demonstrating and pointing out how they should be done is equally crucial. We should never assume.
- Be patient and split the steps into digestible pieces so that it is easier for them to follow
- Work with school educators to understand your child’s progress in school and what needs special attention.
- Have a reward system and compliment right behavior. Keep a diary of your child’s behavior so that they can earn points towards a special toy or any other privilege. 

Ultimately, parenting and disciplining a toddler takes a lot of work and sometimes nothing would seem to work. Remember to always give yourself a break and try to understand why bad behaviour occurs. Speak to other parents and join parenting groups to find out how other parents handle misbehaviour. Believe me, you are definitely not the only parent wondering “Why My Toddler Acts Up?”.



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