Baby’s Anger & Aggression

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Even babies can show aggressive behaviour.  They may howl, trash their limbs around and even hit other people.  How should you react as a parent?  Should you laugh?  Should you slap baby’s hand?  Should you ignore the behaviour?

Anger and aggression are normal parts of your baby’s development.  Differences in temperament can make some babies very aggressive, while others are more passive.  Helping your baby learn to deal with anger and aggression is a big challenge for many parents.

Usually a baby displays anger or aggression due to discomfort, pain or frustration.  Older babies may use aggression to express anger or get what they want.  When your baby is aggressive, it is because she has not yet learned better ways of controlling her anger and aggression. Support baby’s early efforts to soothe herself, such as thumb sucking or hugging a soft toy.  If your baby is grabbing or hitting another child, let her know that it is not OK.  Show her how to ask for toys or re-direct her to another activity.

What Parents and Caregivers Can Do When Baby is Aggressive to Others:

  • Remain calm
  • Treat anyone who may have been hurt
  • Make sure no one is laughing or rewarding the inappropriate behaviour with attention
  • Tell your baby why the behaviour is inappropriate and what she can do instead. 
  • Provide consequences and follow through with them consistently.

Remember ~ It will take lots of repetition before your baby understands what “no” means.  

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