No matter how well behaved you turned out, ask your mom about your “terrible twos.” Though you probably have absolutely no recollection of your tantrums and outbursts, your parents might have been pulling their hair out trying to control you. It’s not at all uncommon for a toddler or young child to go through an aggressive or angry phase. There is no way to control your child’s emotions ahead of time, but you can try preparing by knowing how to handle the inevitable aggression. Also, it’s important that you know what is normal aggressive behavior and what is a sign of a bigger problem so that you can bring it up to the pediatrician.

Studies show that there is no scientific way to predict whether or not a toddler might become aggressive. No matter how well you parent your baby up until a certain point, he might still show signs of anger towards his peers. The aggression actually comes from common frustrations during the toddler stage of life. While being a toddler seems easy, they actually do go through many stages of development that are upsetting and difficult to deal with. The frequent inability to communicate, separation anxiety, a newfound independence and a lack of self-control all contribute to your child’s lashing out. There’s no need to be overly concerned, but you should definitely learn how to discipline your child properly. Be consistent, clear and calm when you reprimand your child for his aggressive behavior, and find a type of discipline that works for the whole family. Also, experts recommend that you limit the amount of TV your child watches, especially before the age of two years old. There is a lot of yelling, violence and anger on television, even on shows made for children. By limiting the amount of exposure your child has to these emotions as they are for other people, your child might not react with them when he feels anxious or angry.

Aggression is a natural emotion for toddlers who are still figuring out how to communicate with their peers. Unless your child is seriously hurting others or showing signs of developmental delay, there is no need to bring it up to your child’s doctor. Once you learn how to control and discipline your child, the aggression will go away eventually. Most children go through an angry phase, so trust that it will go away eventually.

Source: Alysia Blandon et al: Predicting Emotional and Social Competence During Early Risk and Maternal Behavior. Development and Psychopathology Volume 22 Issue 1 pp. 119-132 February 2010