Why toddlers get aggressive? : Toddler Tantrum Ep.1

Why toddlers get aggressive?

Children’s physical aggression peaks between the ages of 2 and 4, this is why many parents and teachers call this period the “terrible twos”. I know how tiring is to deal with your toddler’s tantrums, especially when they use their teeth, hands and legs to hurt themselves, you or others but you have to remind yourself that it is a natural process they have to go through.

They have to learn how to handle their emotions and express themselves by experiencing tantrums and learning from your reactions.

Most often toddlers get frustrated when their needs aren’t meet. For example, if they don’t get food, attention, cuddles, someone’s toy, or if they don’t want to leave the playground and so on.

In this article, I will give you answers to why toddlers get aggressive and in the next episode, I will give you some tips on how to prevent that.

Toddlers’ aggressive behaviour can be influenced by these factors:


Genetic factors play a big role in children’s aggressive behaviour but it doesn’t mean that they will be aggressive in their whole life. Even if a child’s aggression is rooted in his genetics, it can be modified by the influence of their environment, their family, friends etc.

Environmental influence

Even if something is written in our genes, it doesn’t mean that we cannot change that. Early life experience has a great impact on children’s development. One of the most important things you can provide for your children is to create a positive and loving environment.


All types of abuse are damaging for children and can cause aggressive behaviour. Children whose mom was abused during their pregnancy also more likely to develop challenging, aggressive behaviour.

Sociodemographic factors

Girls and boys develop at a different rate and ethnic and cultural groups are affected differently despite the same experiences.

They haven’t developed certain skills yet

Toddlers may walk, speak and seem to understand you and the world better than before, but they cannot fully express their feelings and thoughts just yet.

Imagine, you are unable to communicate your emotions, ideas, opinions and so people will not understand what you want to say and they might even misunderstand or ignore you. I think you would get a little bit frustrated and try your best to communicate your thoughts in every possible way to make yourself understood.

One of the ways, at least to get someone’s attention is to act aggressively. As toddlers haven’t developed their communication and language, empathy and other skills just yet and they have limited self-control to stop themselves from acting on their feelings, they might use hitting, kicking, biting and throwing things as a tool to get their feelings and thoughts across.

They are most likely to get aggressive when…

– they are being overwhelmed by a distressing situation or by difficult feelings like anger or jealousy

– they are tired, hungry, not feeling well, worried


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Hi, it's Eva and I am an Early Years and Parenting Consultant. Here, I am sharing my knowledge about child development and experience in teaching. Have a look around and follow me on SNS to keep in touch!

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