childlife

...inspire their best!

Violence in Young Children?

The truth behind their actions and how to guide their behaviour.

“She knows better!” “He knows what he is doing — when he hits his sister.”

These are typical comments parents and teachers make about a toddler and/or preschool that hits or bites. However, the truth, according to developmental theory, is that not only is “aggressive” impulses or drives innate in each of us; they are a crucial aspect in our own survival. As normal healthy development occurs, these “drives” are conveyed in a variety of behaviours according to the age and stage of the child.

Therefore, it is ESSENTIAL to learn what kind of behaviour is typical and normal for infants, toddler, and preschoolers so that we can adjust our own reactions, begin to have “realistic” expectations, “teach” a child to become more in control of these impulses, and help them to regulate their behaviour. We can then set aside the often needless worry and anxiety that a child is going to become a “violent” 5 year old or teenager or adult!

A nine-month old will pull hair, “slap” your face and does not know that it might hurt. They are exploring and experimenting just like in their other activities

A fifteen month old throws and “smashes” objects and is enjoying the noise and pleasure of this behaviour and not anticipating the result.

A two year old is now learning the difference between “me” and “you” and can now begin to understand about anger. The child still does not know enough about cause and effect to understand the consequences.

A three and a half year old rarely understands the strength and force of his actions. He needs to learn how to regulate this behaviour toward others.

Children are looking for guidance, limits and approval of their actions. Our job is to teach them how to touch gently, use words, and use alternatives. It takes lots of reminders and time to learn these lessons of self-control and regulation.

To learn more about what’s normal behaviour in young children and how to guide their behaviour, we offer Essentials for Best Behaviour Workshops Part 1 & 2 and customized strategies for your unique situation.

For more information about our Workshops being offered in a variety of locations – justask@childlife.ca!

©Mary Stuart, E.C.E.D.H.