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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Managing Anger In My 18 Month Old

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Do babies get angry? Well, of course they do. Our babies are humans too, albeit tiny ones, and they go through pretty much all the emotions that we face, the only difference is maybe they don't always know how to express it.

We have two girls in our home - one is a 7 year old and the other is 18 months old. Our daughters love playing with each other, fighting off each other, wanting to be together all the time and want their own space too - yes, even the younger one at 18 months!

By now, I know how to manage most of the emotions my 7 year old faces. But figuring that out with an 18 month old can be quite tricky, especially as the triggers can be random and very sudden. What may anger my 18 month old today may seem funny to her tomorrow. What can scare her today can anger her tomorrow. What she loves playing today can seem frustrating tomorrow and anger her.

So much going on!

So how do I manage? Here's how:

  • By now, I have started to understand and even anticipate the signs of anger in my 18 month old. Sometimes, I can see that she is about to be angry, even before she sees it herself.
  • At other times, when the anger hits her suddenly, I look at her and try to pacify her softly. I hold out my hand to her, I softly ask her what happened and what she wants. At this age, my daughter can speak a lot of the words, and those that she can't she can signal or point at.
  • I try to pick her up and hug her, if she allows. Sometimes she will gladly come in my arms and lie down. Other times she hates my touch. I simply be near her and tell her 'shhh..it's okay, mamma is here see....i love you.' I keep repeating these over and over again till she quietens down.
  • I always make sure that I leave whatever it is I am doing and get down to her height level and look in her eyes while speaking, sometimes smiling, other times serious.
  • In the unlikely event that my 18 month old resorts to shouting, I look at her and comfort her first. Then I tell her to stop shouting or that mamma will scold her. I shake my head as a 'no' and ask her to 'shhhh.' She understands the gestures now.
Babies often show anger when they are uncomfortable about something - maybe they are very tired, exhausted, sleepy, hungry, in pain, scared, uncomfortable with the strong lights or loud sounds or strangers, maybe they have an itch and can't scratch, maybe they saw something in someone's hand that they want but don't know how to say it - there are so many things that can make them upset. At this stage, it can be quite frustrating for your baby. She wants to explore the world and find out about everything around her, but doesn't know how to say it out loud. Understand why she is angry.

I am very particular that I will not shout at my baby or babies. I don't shout at my 7 year old, maybe sometimes to be honest, but it's very very rare. Most of the time I just give her a serious face look and she knows mamma is not happy and may scold. 

It is perfectly alright for our babies to get angry. In fact, if they do get angry, it means they are able to experience the changing emotions even though they may not be able to understand why they are feeling them.

Give them time and space to understand. Don't shout or scold back. Remember, they are the babies, not you, and we need to help them express their emotions in a better way. We shout, we teach them all about shouting....that sends out the wrong message. Handle her with love and care and that is exactly what she will emulate.

- Debolina Raja Gupta

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And like I always believe in and say:
'Heal the world we live in
Save it for our children' - MJ

Happy Parenting!!!! Be good to your little one, and to the millions of little ones out there who truly need every bit of love and compassion they can get.....Be a grown up...save the little ones.... Debolina Raja Gupta
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