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How Do I Deal with Anger in a Toddler?

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  • Written By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 14 November 2016
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The first step in dealing with anger in a toddler is attempting to determine the cause of the outburst. Temper tantrums are common at this age and can often be diminished by setting clear boundaries and using distraction techniques. Extreme fatigue or physical illness may also cause anger in a toddler owing to the inability to clearly express feelings or sensations. Patience, understanding, and extra cuddling may be the best approach in these instances. Setting a good example and helping the toddler learn effective ways to deal with anger is an important discipline and may be the most effective way to deal with anger in a young child.

Temper tantrums are among the most common causes of anger in a toddler. These tantrums may be caused by a variety of factors, including communications barriers, the testing of boundaries, or simple impatience. It is important to set clear boundaries and make sure the toddler knows that there are consequences for irrational outbursts. Establishing time out, ignoring the child during the tantrum, or finding a distraction are common methods of dealing with toddler tantrums.

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Fatigue or interruption of the child's normal sleep schedule may lead to anger in a toddler. The best way to cope with this problem is to stick to a routine when it comes to sleep. If the child is not able to nap on schedule due to a doctor's appointment or some other factor, a little extra patience on the part of the parent may be in order. As soon as possible, the child should be eased back into the normal schedule.

Physical illness is another leading cause of anger in a toddler. This is further complicated by the child's inability to describe the feeling of an upset stomach or a throbbing ear. Symptoms such as fever, runny nose, or diarrhea should be evaluated by a doctor. Many toddlers can be comforted by a little extra cuddling and tenderness.

Parents who exhibit gentleness and emotional control can assist with the management of anger in a toddler by setting a positive example. Emotional outbursts are more common among children who are surrounded by family members who yell or fight a lot. Neglect can also lead to anger, so playing with the toddler and offering a lot of hugs and affection will go a long way toward helping the child cope with conflicting emotions. Any unexplained fussiness or tantrums should prompt a visit with a doctor to make sure there are no health concerns, and any parent or caregiver who becomes excessively frustrated by a difficult toddler should seek emotional support or counseling.

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