Custom CSS of Section contains Conditional Preview for See Life Campaign Elements

How To Cope With an Angry Baby or Toddler

Share:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email
angry toddler
Anger can be a normal, and necessary part of your child's development. He's trying to express needs, trying to control his environment, and trying to become independent. He's also trying your nerves!

Several years ago, one of my girlfriends asked if I would watch her two-month-old son, Josiah, while she had a short date with her husband. I happily consented. She assured me, “I’ll be back in time to feed the baby.” I nodded and settled in to rock her sweet bundle. I never thought that in a few short hours, I’d have an angry baby on my hands.

Josiah and I had a great time together until the clock ticked past feeding time. Unfortunately, I wasn’t equipped to meet the need, so there was absolutely nothing I could do. Instead, I gently whispered, “Oh baby, it’s going to be okay. You’re hungry, huh? Your momma will be home soon.” Of course, even my best attempts at consolation weren’t enough because Josiah wanted food, not verbal encouragement.

At first, his cries started out as whimpers that rose from his throat. By the time his mother arrived a short time later, his angry screams originated from somewhere down inside his toes.

Because Josiah, like every infant, was very sensitive to unmet needs, his distress escalated quickly and he responded the way God designed — with strong emotion.

An Angry Baby is Expressing Needs

In his book, When Kids Are Mad, Not Bad, Henry A. Paul , M.D. describes the kind of anger that Josiah exhibited as developmental anger — anger that aids infants in getting their basic needs met.

Can you imagine what would happen if Josiah couldn’t cry, scream, or become angry? Naturally, his mom would never know when to change his diaper, feed him, or put him down for a nap. Anger is critical to help babies communicate with the world.

If your infant expresses developmental anger, remember it’s normal and that you shouldn’t take it personally. Of course, sometimes you might feel like pulling your hair out, but the best thing to do is remain calm, take a deep breath and ask yourself if your baby is hungry, uncomfortable, too hot or cold, over-stimulated, feeling isolated, experiencing an upset stomach or dirty diaper or if he just needs to be held.

There are times when I’m exhausted and get cranky, too. No one knows when this happens, because as an adult, I’ve developed the ability to master my moods. Underneath, however, I may be screaming, “I’m mad right now!” It’s no different from infants, only they haven’t developed the necessary skills to monitor how they feel or understand their responses. That’s why when they want something, there’s no question about it.

If you’re frustrated, take heart! Your infant’s anger is a tool to help him learn to master his environment. From the time he’s an infant, you’ll need a positive attitude because he’ll experience anger when he’s a toddler too.

Development in Angry Toddlers

After Josiah turned two, I wonder how many times his mother picked up toys he repeatedly threw on the ground, listened to him tell her “No!” and watched him throw temper tantrums? If you’re the parent of a angry toddler, you can probably relate.

From 18 months to four years it’s normal for a child to begin to exert his independence so there will be times when he gets angry.

Think back to the last time you really wanted to do something and someone said that you couldn’t. Did you get angry? Imagine how a toddler must feel when he is curious about many things, wants to test drive the world, thinks he can, but you tell him that he can’t. He sees you, his sister and the family dog doing what he wants to do and yet you tell him “no.” Add his limited verbal communication skills to the mix, and you’ve got a recipe for frustration.

During college, I watched a video in my psychology class that showed that a toddler can understand hundreds of words before she can speak. Can you imagine living on a planet in which you can understand numerous words and gestures and yet you can’t verbally respond?

Angry Babies and Toddlers Are Showing Signs of Growth

Rather than seeing your toddler’s anger as negative, or taking it personally, you can view it as a sign of growth. In his book, Dr. Paul also writes: “Parents often feel consternation about their child’s anger. They think they have to solve the child’s problem immediately, if not sooner. This kind of unrealistic demand on oneself can cause a parent to panic when confronted with an angry child and to become very angry at oneself as well. He feels the child’s anger is his failure.”

Again, remember that having an angry toddler isn’t your fault and it’s normal. It’s a part of your child learning to master his world. So what can you do to help your angry toddler manage her outbursts?

Always Be Prepared

During elementary school teacher training I learned that the best defense against discipline problems is preparation. It’s the same way with lessening your toddler’s outbursts.

Create an environment to support your child’s curiosity and energy level. This means running outside, visiting a nearby jungle-gym, keeping toddler toys available, as well as toys for travel, providing a “quiet bag” with crayons, snacks or his favorite cuddly toy. Most of all, be an engaged, not lazy, parent. This means that when he wants to go outside to the sandbox, go with him. Otherwise, you’re asking for disaster.

Okay, so what if you are always prepared and your child still becomes angry? What steps should you take?

Remove Your Child From Immediate Physical Danger

Naturally, if your child is throwing a tantrum and he is in physical danger or going to hurt someone else, you might need to exert physical control and remove him to a new environment. The younger he is, the more you may need to intervene.

Take a Time-Out

Create a place for your angry baby or toddler to take a time out. Rather than leave him, (unless he is mad at you and needs time away from you) stay with him while he is cooling off. While you stay with him, he’ll get the message that you are being supportive, you’re not going to leave and that his anger doesn’t intimidate you. He’ll also learn that there are other more appropriate ways to manage his anger.

Try To Discover Your Child’s Angry Emotions

If your child isn’t talking yet, it may take a little detective work for you to understand why he is angry. Begin by observing his environment and reviewing what you know about his personality and small children that may have pushed his “angry button.”

Pray

Finally, and most importantly, pray for your child. As you pray, you’ll develop the heart of compassion that you need if you feel like you’re at the end of your rope.

Dynamic CTA Template Below

Your Teen Needs You Most of All

No parent of teens is perfect and even the best can learn how to better connect with their son or daughter. Get practical action steps to better connect with your teenager in 8 Essential Tips for Parenting Your Teen in this FREE video series!

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.
Emerson-Eggerich4-840w

Understand How to Respect and Love your Son Well

Why doesn’t my son listen to me? Have you ever asked that question? The truth is, how you see your son and talk to him has a significant effect on how he thinks and acts. That’s why we want to help you. In fact, we’ve created a free five-part video series called “Recognizing Your Son’s Need for Respect” that will help you understand how showing respect, rather than shaming and badgering, will serve to motivate and guide your son.

Reconnected: The Digital Experience

Is the love there, but not the spark? Reawaken fun in your marriage and move from roommates to soulmates again with the help of this 7-part online video experience. Learn how to connect emotionally and spiritually as husband and wife using techniques such as dreaming together and establishing deep, heartfelt communication. The Digital Experience includes 7 teaching videos, an online study guide and access to additional tools and resources to help spouses reconnect.

Next Steps: Marriage Assessment

We want your marriage to be thriving and healthy. Take the free Marriage Assessment from Focus on the Family to learn how to strengthen your bond with your spouse and get the tools to help you need to grow closer together. 

Next Steps: Fruit of the Spirit Devotionals for Couples

The Fruit of the Spirit Devotional is a free series of nine short videos to get you into God’s Word and inspire you to seek the Holy Spirit’s help in loving your spouse.

Share:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

About the Author

Read More About:

You May Also Like

Kid lacking emotional control having a meltdown
Behavioral/Emotional

4 Steps to Teaching Your Child Emotional Control

With your guidance and practice, your kids can learn to control their emotions. Here are four steps for helping your children regain the upper hand when intense emotions threaten to spiral out of control.

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 5: It’s Going to be Amazing!

After a couple has chosen life, hear the heartwarming stories of children that culture would have cast aside, yet are making tremendous impacts in their communities. Whether the diagnosis was adverse or the circumstances were difficult, these stories will inspire you to come along side of families who have chosen life!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 4: Sometimes the Choice is Hard

Hear real life stories of parents who have made the decision to choose life even though the circumstances were overwhelming. You’ll see why “ALL” life is precious to God and why choosing life is always the right decision!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 6: Families Helping Families!

So, after all you’ve seen through the SeeLife ‘21 Episodic journey; what can you do now? We’ll share how you can partner with some amazing organizations that are making significant impacts in the pro-life movement! You want to Celebrate Life!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 3: The Power of a Picture

Have you ever wondered what a baby looked like in the womb? With today’s technology, Moms and Dads can see the baby’s heartbeat, facial expressions, and movements! You’ll find out why more women choose life once they hear their baby’s heartbeat and realize it’s a real living human!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 2: Heroes Providing Hope

Discover the amazing work our PRC’s Directors, Nurses, and Volunteers are making in their communities! You’ll see firsthand testimonies of a PRC in action, and that there are other options outside of abortions! You’ll also discover how your family can support your local PRC!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 1: The Truth About Life!

In this episode, we will tackle tough questions like, “When does life begin?” and “What does the Bible
say about Life?” You’ll discover and understand the stages of pre-born life and that babies are more than
just a clump of cells!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!