Why Do Toddlers Seem So Negative Sometimes, and Why Is It Normal?

You’ve probably heard of the “terrible twos,” and maybe you’ve even heard some parents refer to their kids as “threenagers”—but when it’s your own kid throwing massive tantrums and generally acting like a beast, you might wonder if they accidentally swapped personalities with a storybook dragon. How do you deal with negative toddlers in Greenwood, IN? And is it really normal?

The baby years make the terrible twos a shock

Between birth and 18 months to two years, your child was probably a relative angel. Even if they were suffering from colic and barely let you get any sleep, there were still those infectious baby giggles, the quiet moments and the easy portability that makes babies a lot easier to care for. That’s why a lot of parents are shocked when their child—who is really starting to display their own personality—starts acting far more temperamental, impulsive and maybe even what we’d consider mean.

Don’t worry—you’re not raising a tiny sociopath. Although this behavior is embarrassing, frustrating and often downright upsetting, it’s also perfectly normal. That’s why you get sympathetic nods from other parents and glares from people who haven’t lived with a toddler for decades (or ever).

Toddlers are undergoing major brain development

One of the reasons toddlers seem so wildly out of control is because they’re undergoing significant brain development. In fact, scientists say that children’s brains develop the most between birth and age three, which is why it’s so important to be present with your child, talk to them, sing, play and more.

As they continue to learn and grow, they develop a sense of independence and self-awareness. However—as you probably are well aware—they lack the words to express their feelings. Instead, they might kick, bite, scream, hit or otherwise express themselves inappropriately. Again, this is totally normal, if not incredibly humiliating depending on the situation.

It comes down to a lack of impulse control, which eventually develops with age and discipline. Time-outs and yelling or spanking are not advised at this age (and for the latter two, the experts suggest they don’t ever work). Your kid doesn’t have the cognitive ability to understand the impact of what they’re doing. They really don’t get that biting little Jimmy is bad (unless little Jimmy bites back). You have to keep firmly, but patiently, telling them the same thing: “We don’t bite people. Biting is bad.” Then follow it up with natural consequences, like cutting short play time and cleaning up the messes they’ve made (together). Be sure to explain why this is happening. Eventually—although probably not soon enough for your tastes—they will start to understand.

Toddlers are all about testing their limits, which is why the terrible twos are such a trying age for parents. The only things you can really do are to have reasonable expectations of their behavior and to set limits, both through routine and discipline. Eventually, they’ll grow out of it.

Kids Kingdom Early Learning Center understands how to deal with negative toddlers in Greenwood, IN. Call us today to learn more about our curriculum.