Battling Bad Behaviors

Little girl sticking her tongue outOne minute they are sweeter than sugar, the next they may be yelling, kicking, and acting irrational.

You're not alone.

You are a parent of a toddler.

As active learners, toddlers are learning that they are individuals. They have feelings and desires. What they sometimes don't have are the skills they need to communicate. They may also not have the ability to understand why certain things are “off limits.”

What can you do?

How do you support your child in acquiring healthy behaviors? How do you develop the skills that they need that will make your life (and theirs) a bit easier?

First of all, relax and be patient. Your toddler is most likely saving their worst for you. Why? They feel safe and they are looking for you to provide the security they need when they are out of control.


When your toddler explodes in a tantrum, remain calm. (Yes, easier said than done.)

Your number one responsibility is to keep your child safe. After ensuring your child is in a safe place, especially if they are kicking, etc., you may try using some of the following statements:

  • “I understand you are angry.”
  • “Can you use your words to tell me how you feel?”
  • “How can I make it better?”

If they are unable to respond, they simply may need time to work through the situation. Sometimes, a gentle touch (i.e. placing your hand on their back) will provide comfort. Other times, your child may need space. Monitor the response. The goal should be to help your child work through the situation. It is not always your job to fix it. Sometimes, some days, you will not be able to fix it.


You may have thought you wouldn't have to worry about this one until the teen years. All of sudden, you are hearing “No!” “Move!” “Quiet!” or other words that are coming out of your toddler's mouth that make you shudder.

One minute you were delighted that they were talking and now you are less than thrilled over the words you are hearing.

First of all, consider the source. Where is your child hearing these words or tone? Be a model and have others in your child's life be a model too. Use kind words. When your child says a word or phrase you dislike, rephrase and have them repeat. For instance, your child may say, “give me more pancake!” An appropriate reply may be: “Would you like more pancake? What words can we use? – Mama, may I have some more pancake, please?”

Praise your child for using the language you desire. Sometimes, it may be best to ignore words or phrases. Often children are simply seeking attention. As a basic rule of thumb, reward positive behaviors. Ignore negative behaviors.

Be patient with your child.


Use kind words.

Always remember, you are the parent and they are your child.

They are always looking to you for what to do and how to do it.

It's not always easy, but your investment will be worth the return.

What do you think?

Battling Bad Behaviors

Tell us what you think!


  1. I have a grandchild that acts out quite a bit. I think it’s because she doesn’t feel secure. Her parents were teens when she was born. Her mother is my daughter and she was 16 when she became pregnant and 17 when she gave birth. Both parents moved in with us (child’s grandmother & grandfather) where they stayed until they moved into a home of their own when little girl was about 6 months old. Before then I basically took care of the little girl like she was my daughter. When they moved out my daughter and the father of the baby seemed to mature a great deal and really became good parents. They lived together for approx a year bf splitting up. My daughter and granddaughter moved in with a friend. We continued to be a big part of granddaughter’s life. We kept her when my daughter was in college and at work. The father has also stayed involved. She is now 2 years old, goes to a daycare/preschool program but we pick her up from preschool and keep her until my daughter is off work. There have been many times she is asleep when her mother is off and she stays the night. My daughter is now wanting to be like her other college age friends and go out, etc but none of them have children or responsibility as she does. As a result she asks us and when we say no she finds someone else to keep her overnight. At this point my granddaughter never knows if she’s going to wake up in the mornings at our home, her moms home, her dad’s home etc. she has become very clingy to her mom and us, as well as acting out and throwing temper tantrums over anything. She considers our house her home and will ask, can I go home. She will cry when her mom leaves for work or school but will also cry when her mom comes to get her from our home. I have talked to my daughter about her daughter needing stability and schedules that make her feel safe and how I feel this would help with her temper and behaviors that go beyond that of “two year old” behaviors. Does anyone know of specific articles or have any real life experiences that I could show my daughter in order to help her deal with this because if it just comes from me-her mother she isn’t taking it as seriously as I feel she should, especially for the well being of my granddaughter.

  2. lovelyiana says:

    amor para is it at this point of their kids and kids get this the cornerstone of behavior because they think everything should be given to them and they don’t know what the answer no s*** day

  3. mommy nhoj says:

    Patient is a virtue! Haha… I hope things will be easier for my baby 🙂

  4. Marilyn says:

    I’ve noticed spoiled kids throw fits more than other ones.

  5. Brenda says:

    Another method that worked for me was distracting your child from the bad behaviour and engaging them in a positive behaviour

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