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Why toddlers act out: How to support your toddler’s developing brain

Stephanie Wicker

Stephanie Wicker

Child behaviour expert, parenting educator, counsellor and speaker. Stephanie Wicker has successfully guided families through early childhood for over over 15 years.
Created on Sep 28, 2023 · 3 mins read

Let’s face it – toddlers are hard! There is no getting around that fact. They are hard because their brain development is so different from our own. They don’t have much of a prefrontal cortex yet, which means reasoning and lecturing pretty much goes out the window. It also means their ability to cope with almost anything not on their terms, is genuinely very challenging.


Because their brains are still developing, it is up to us to have the patience and understanding to support them through it.

 

Language development


Somewhere around the 14-month mark, children begin experimenting with language. Language is an incredibly empowering tool and little ones start to realise this very quickly by retorting with NO – or screaming the house down.


A sense of control


That moment they gain control over you or others in their environment, is where they learn the most. That ‘control’ might look like giving in, rolling your eyes, breathing heavy, or complaining to another adult nearby. Their actions are having an impact on you and they know it!

This sense of ‘control’ can feel truly empowering for your toddler’s little brain and is one of the biggest reasons they learn to resist.

This isn’t intentional or personal towards you – it is simply their brains doing what they know and understand at their age.


Related Articles

Be patient & support them through it


As hard as it can be at times, this is why it is so important to be patient with them and support them based on where they are developmentally.


Related articles
How to manage toddler anxiety
5 tips for helping children understand differences
5 things your toddler’s tantrum might be trying to tell you

 


 

Language development 

Somewhere around the 14-month mark, children begin experimenting with language. Language is an incredibly empowering tool and little ones start to realise this very quickly by retorting with NO – or screaming the house down.

A sense of control 

That moment they gain control over you or others in their environment, is where they learn the most. That ‘control’ might look like giving in, rolling your eyes, breathing heavy, or complaining to another adult nearby. Their actions are having an impact on you and they know it!

This sense of ‘control’ can feel truly empowering for your toddler’s little brain and is one of the biggest reasons they learn to resist.

This isn’t intentional or personal towards you – it is simply their brains doing what they know and understand at their age.

Be patient & support them through it 

As hard as it can be at times, this is why it is so important to be patient with them and support them based on where they are developmentally.

Related articles
How to manage toddler anxiety
5 tips for helping children understand differences
5 things your toddler’s tantrum might be trying to tell you

 

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