Our attitude toward limit-pushing behavior is everything, and our perspective is what defines our attitude. Testing, limit-pushing, defiance and resistance are healthy signs that our toddlers are developing independence and autonomy.
When toddler behavior is driving you crazy?! It is critical for the adult to gain a perspective in a way that our toddlers can not… These days I am experiencing quite an adventure dealing with behavior of children of different (and early) ages and abilities. Although I have worked with all of these age groups separately, handling issues among children of these ages as a group has been quite challenging. Two are quick to hit, one screams almost as if having a tantrum when his own body cannot accomplish what his mind desires, the infants react to the screaming and crying by adding their own cries of distress, and they all are in a phase of taking each others’ toys.
It’s easier for me to help them learn and do what they need to, if I stay calm but confident and positive, and remember that all of these behaviors are normal. It seems like I am being tested, and I am. That’s what toddlers do! But, I need to be a model of peace and love if that’s how I expect them to be able to act. Limits do need to be set, but I try to remind myself to “teach” and not “punish”.