Toddler Temper Tamers: More Than a Dozen Resources

Image of children courtesy of Salvator Vuono/

Today, on my Anger Toolbox for Kids facebook page, a parent posted the following question:

I need advice and help with my two year old. We are doing positive parenting with him and are still learning it. He has been really aggressive lately, mainly hitting ( and only mommy and daddy) I'm not sure how to talk about his feelings because most of the time I don't understand what is causing so much frustration. Any tips or advice? 

First off, I'm so glad that you are using positive parenting practices.  The fact that you are paying attention to the feelings of frustration (or anger or sadness or confusion, etc.) behind the action (hitting), which your two-year-old is likely experiencing, bodes well for your child.  It is the first step to helping him handle things better in the future. 

The Feelings, The Fury, The Fright

At this age, kids can experience a wide-range of feelings, often with an intensity that can be frightening and overwhelming to them.  Their feelings can literally be bigger than they are.  The only problem is, they can have a hard time communicating the feelings to us.  We generally see these behaviors start to subside with language acquisition, as the child's vocabulary starts to expand. There's no need to wait for your child's language to be fully developed in order to help him, though.  Nor would I recommend playing the waiting game. The earlier we start to provide supportive guidance and affective (feeling) language for our child, the quicker they will catch on. 

Aggression Can Be Normal in Early Childhood

It is important to bear in mind that toddlers and preschoolers are not little adults.  We need to be careful not to ascribe adult motives and harsh judgments on our little folks.  Thinking about, or even calling children with aggression issues "tiny terrors" or "baby bullies" is completely counterproductive and unfair to toddlers trying their best to cope with situations that cause them upset.  Keeping things in a developmental perspective and approaching this problem from the stance of teaching, educating, guiding and supporting is imperative. 

Award Winning Resources for Toddlers

Some time ago, I posted Help! My Child is Being Aggressive, in which I discussed helping to bridge the language gap with American Sign Language, or signing.  I adore the Baby, Toddler, and Preschool Sign Language DVD by Louise Sattler of Signing Families, which is one of our Kidlutions Preferred Product Award winners for Social-Emotional Development. 

More Kidlutions Preferred Product Award winning resources that can help with aggression in young children include:

"Listen to Me Please!" Time-In Not Time-Out by Ava Parnass and Dr. Ron Taffel.  This book does an incredible job of helping young children learn about feelings. 

Personal Child Stories by Shara Lawrence-Weiss.  You can order a customized book specific to your child's issues, which will feature engaging prose along with pictures of your child and your family.  This is a winning combination that has a powerful impact on behavior change.

Kimochis Plush toys with the feelings inside.  Pure magic!  You can find them here for starters and poke around for more options.

Show Me How! Build Your Child's Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking (Positive Parental Participation) This book has a lovely section on dealing with anger and aggression, which I discussed more thoroughly in my post, No Naughty Chair Here...Helping Kids with Challenging Behavior.

If the behavior is a new development brought on by the addition of a new sibling, I would highly recommend What about Me?: Twelve Ways to Get Your Parents' Attention Without Hitting Your Sister.

More Resources:

More folks whom I adore, and whose resources will also be of help are:

Dr. Lynne Kenney, author of the Family Coach.  Dr. Kenney's approach is practical, do-able and realistic.  She blends a gentle, kind approach to parenting that is backed by strong neuroscience.

Deborah McNelis of Braininsights has everything you need to raise happy, well-adjusted children from birth to age 5.

Sue Atkins, The Parenting Expert, will make dealing with your toddler a walk in the park!

Lori Lite at Stress Free Kids can help your child learn relaxation and stress-reduction techniques.

Lisa Sunbury of Regarding Baby will help you respectfully handle difficult moments with your baby and toddler.

Janety Lansbury of Elevating Child Care will help you find loving, supportive ways to parent.

Did I forget any? What resources do you know of that can help toddlers deal with BIG feelings?

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shelly said…
One of my very favorite resources for how to compassionately handle tantrums is Hand in Hand Parenting Check them out! Their stuff is awesome!

I agree! Excellent resources at Hand and Hand. I am familiar with them. Thanks for the reminder!

Wendy =)
The following comment is from Naomi Richards from Blogger would not allow her to comment, so I added this for her, at her request!

"There are some great resources here. Parents of toddlers, do not suffer in silence - read these books and take what you need from them!"

Thanks, Naomi!
Lori said…
We do many "Love and Logic" approaches with our 2 1/2 year old
Hi Lori,

Thanks for adding to the conversation! Glad to see you here! Keep up the good work of raising happy, well-adjusted little folks who will, in turn, grow up to do the same!


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