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How to Deal with an Abusive Toddler

You have noticed that your 2 year old is becoming abusive – complaining and yelling all the time. You are afraid of getting complaints from the pre-school or daycare about your child - that he or she is abusing other children by hitting, pushing, scratching or biting them .

It is important to deal with the abusive behaviour right away before it becomes a habit as your child grows.

You must try to get to the root of why your child developed abusive behaviour, before knowing how to deal with it.

Why do Kids Become Abusive?

Several reasons may prompt your child to become abusive:

  • Kids learn by watching adults. Your child may have watched you hit others or verbally abuse or talk people down.
  • Other kids at the preschool or daycare, parents of other kids, your child’s teacher or your helper at home may be abusing your child.
  • Watching abusive behavior on television can also instigate your child to imitate the behavior.
  • Your child may be insecure or feeling attention deprived because you may not be spending enough time together. He or she may be getting abusive just to gain your attention.
  • Your child may be having a personality disorder or a mental illness related to self-control.

If you feel that none of these methods are changing your child’s abusive behaviour, seek your paediatrician’s advice.

How to Discipline an Abusive Child?

Dealing with an abusive child can be both emotional and frustrating at the same time. Once your child grows and starts to understand the connection between his or her actions and its consequences, condition him or her about what behaviour is acceptable and what is punishable.

Here are Some Ways to Discipline your Child:

  • Be a Good Role Model: Arguments or fights between couples are normal. But make sure not to:

    1.Use abusive language.

    2.Spank, push or hit each other in front of your child.

    3.Give Timeouts : Whenever your child hits, bites, or pushes somebody, he or she must be told in a mild way that it is an unacceptable behaviour. Then take your child to a silent area such as a room, the kitchen, bathroom or a chair and allow him or her to calm down. But keep these timeouts short – about 1 minute per year of age.

  • Reward: Praise and reward your child with attention and positive comments when he or she is being good to others. For example,

    1.Say “Hi five” or “You have been a good boy today”

    2.Pat on the back or give a kiss.

    3.Read your baby’s favorite book, especially the one depicting hero’s good behavior in the story.

  • Spend Time with your Child: Find time to play, read and enjoy other activities with your child.
  • Be Careful: Keep a watch on the people whom your child comes in contact with. Keep your child away from someone who may be abusing him or her.

With little patience and lots of love, you will definitely see your child forgetting abusive behaviour and acquiring good habits.

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