I am often a victim of Kaila’s pinching and hitting. Being a short-tempered mother, I remember myself slapping my baby’s hands or getting angry every time she hit my face or pinch my arms.
Surprisingly for me, aggression is part of my child growing up. Aggression is my toddler’s way of expressing frustration over things that she cannot control. Since she has not fully developed her communication skills, she oftentimes get physical especially when she wants something or she is denied of something. Some say it’s a toddler’s way to express independence.
How am I dealing with this?
Patience is a virtue. Based on my experience, yelling or telling my child that she’s “bad” will not get her to follow my orders. Instead, I make her angrier and more riled up when I do that. Normally, I try to keep my cool, close my eyes, and stop myself from doing something that my child might imitate.
Comfort with discipline. Reasoning out with a toddler will not work. Rather than explaining to her the consequences of her actions, I comfort her first and make her feel that I understand what she is feeling. Oftentimes, she would not want conversations especially when she is angry but eventually, she learned that there is nothing she can do about it. I try to respond to her aggression just as I responded the last time that she had that episode. This way, I am able to build a pattern that my child recognizes so that every time she hits me or someone else, she knows what will be my response.
Talk and listen. The best way to deal with an angry child after calming her down is to talk. I explain to her what happened and ask her what she thinks and feels. (Yes, my 21-month old baby responds really well.)
It is really difficult to understand children. As a mother, I am still learning how to respond to her. There is still a lot to know. Being a mother is a work in progress.