Terrible two - how to handle bursts of anger in the autonomy phase

SOS, my child is stubborn - how does it learn how to handle its anger


I still remember how unprepared i was when my daughters first burst of anger hit me out of the dark. My kid was 14 months, we had just finished shopping at the grocery shop and she signed ‚cookie’. I handed her one and … ‚WUUUUÄÄÄÄÄÄÄHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!‘. I stood thunderstruck and incredulous looking at my normally nice toddler. What do you mean ‚Wuäh?‘ didn’t I give you the asked for cookie? But the child got more and more angry, stomped her feet and screamed because i did not understand. After tediously trying some options - which by the way let me break out in sweat and panic - I realized: the child did not want a cookie, she wanted the banana we just bought! she just didn’t know the sign for ‚banana‘ just yet. My god that was a promising sign for the stubborn phase that laid ahead.

very angry girl

Why you don’t need to tell kids to apologise

On playgrounds, in play groups and in school you can often observe how kids who have hurt others are requested to apologise. The kids normally comply quickly because they have learned that it doesn’t make sense not to since they won’t be allowed to continue their game until they did say sorry. They learn early on: if an adult asks for an apology they won't stop - maybe even punish you - until you comply. In this regard there seems to be no space for negotiate.

apologising girls

In these situations you can often observe how the victim stands shyly, because it understands that he has to wait until the apology is finished. Doing so it seldom looks comfortable and it would obviously rather continue playing. The perpetrator -depending on how aware of his wrongdoing he is - is equally uncomfortable and sometimes it doesn't den seem to be aware of his guilt. Especially young children often seem like they didn't even feel bad. The perpetrator will do what is asked of it regardless: it bares his teeth and mumbles "sorry" while shaking the other's kids hard or hugging it briefly. After this ceremony both go away just to dash again ten minutes later.