Anger management for toddlers?

Surfing around, found an article on Parent Dish about the problem in schools of Toddlers’ Anger. There is a call to set up separate referral centres for angry toddlers. And the comments at the end of the blog are largely biased towards reintroducing discipline in the form of ‘a clout round the back of the head’ or a ‘belt/cane’. Phew. Is that really the way to go?

I agree that caring for children well in the early years can help to reduce the likelihood of problems in the future – and it’s good to read Charlie Taylor’s views that adults need to be responsive to young children … but this seems to be where the agreement stops. Separate pupil referral centres for ‘angry’ youngsters?

Something is missing here – where is the consideration for the toddlers’ feelings? And who’s thinking about the parents? A childs behaviour is his or her best way of telling you what’s going on in their world, and if they are angry, where does this feeling have its roots? I wonder what Mr Taylor has in mind when he talks about special centres? Where does he stand on paying attention to the family environment, and how parents interact with their child?

Toddlers who are very angry have a good reason to be so; even if that reason seems strange to an adult, it’s important for the toddler. Feeling heard – most importantly by the parents – is really crucial for the child. What is he really angry about? Is it that he doesn’t want to share his toy? Is it that he is scared at school and no-one has picked this up? Is it that a new baby has arrived into the house? Is it that he has too little time with mum and/or dad? There are so many possible reasons; and listening is really important.

What is happening at home, including the dynamics with other siblings and with the parents, has an impact on how a toddler interacts with his or her peers. Anger that comes out in the classroom or playground could well have its roots at home. Maybe parents need some support, or some guidance – are they struggling with day to day pressures, or might they want a little guidance to help them listen to and understand their children?

I would be very interested to know from Mr Taylor what his view is on discovering why a child is angry in the first place. Starting with this may be a better way of taming the future angry teenager than using a pupil referral centre for toddlers …