When Your Toddler’s Behavior is a Problem

*This post may contain affiliate links, please see full disclosure for details.

Sooooo I’ve been in denial for a while that my toddler’s behavior is a problem. He is about to turn 2 years old. I have dismissed problem behaviors because of his age. I kept telling myself he would grow out of it with time…

But one day I listened to a seasoned mother of five children talk about the correction she did with her children. She started teaching her children to obey before they could even crawl!

She explained that when she taught her children to obey, she did it joyfully and not out of anger. It was also to help protect her children from danger. When she was giving examples of “how to know your toddler’s behavior is a problem”, I was thinking…yep, that describes my child

And my son is so CUTE. I want to give him everything he wants. But, I realized I had been doing him a disservice by allowing him to do whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted.

Included in this Toddler Behavior Post:

-A List of Problem Behaviors
Making a Plan
-Implementing the Plan 

A list of Toddler Behaviors that aren't going away unless you teach your child how to obey. Identifying behaviors and making a plan! #toddler #toddlerdiscipline #baby

Examples of Toddler Problem Behaviors 

-When I’m trying to talk to someone and I’m holding him, he is wiggling and throwing his head back to try and get down from my lap or arms. I am legit wrestling him. 

-When he gets really upset, he starts hitting his head on whatever is near. Like the floor, his highchair. etc.  

-He gets mad and hits. I’ve seen him do this to other little kids and he’s done it to adults as well. I’ve told him “no-hit” but he knows Mama doesn’t actually mean no because I don’t follow through with anything afterward. 

-If he doesn’t want the food I serve him, he throws it on the floor. 

-He doesn’t respond when I tell him to come to me, and instead he thinks it’s fun to run from me. 

-When he wants a snack, he starts opening up the cabinets and tries to climb up the shelves to get what he wants. (Note: He is very well fed and he’s not doing this because he’s starving)

-He doesn’t respond when I tell him to “stop”. (This is SO important for young children to learn in case of danger.)

-When I want him to hold my hand when we are walking, he throws himself on the floor or keeps yanking his hand away.

-When we go to other people’s houses, I have to follow him around the whole time to keep him from grabbing things that can break. “No touch” means nothing to him. 

*He doesn’t do these things every day or even every week. 

A list of Toddler Behaviors that aren't going away unless you teach your child how to obey. Identifying behaviors and making a plan! #toddler #toddlerdiscipline #baby

Safety and Discipline Go Together.

One day my husband was frying bacon on the stove. He stepped to the side for a second and my son had the tip of the pan in his little fingers so quickly. My toddler was moments away from pulling the frying bacon/grease all down on his beautiful little face! 

I started screaming “NO, NO, NO” and I sprinted as fast as I could to the stove. Thankfully I got the pan before he was able to pull it down.

But you know what he did when I was saying “No“?…Nothing.

He didn’t respond. Why would he?

I came to the realization that I had never taught my son what he could and could NOT touch. He didn’t know he wasn’t allowed to reach for the stove. I also never taught him what “No” means. It did not phase him because he didn’t know what it meant when I was screaming for him to let go of the pan.

Can you relate to any or all of this? Do you think your Toddler’s Behavior is a Problem too? Well, What’s Next?

A list of Toddler Behaviors that aren't going away unless you teach your child how to obey. Identifying behaviors and making a plan! #toddler #toddlerdiscipline #baby

Making a Toddler Behavior Plan:

First, my husband and I have to be on the same page with discipline. After my son went to sleep, we made the list above, of the behaviors we needed to deal with. 

Next, we decided which behaviors we wanted to start with first. We couldn’t correct EVERYTHING on day 1 so we started small. 

We discussed how we would correct the behavior. Would we give a warning? How would we teach him what he couldn’t do? How long until we would start adding consequences? What would the consequences be?

The most important part was our mindset and consistency. We had to discipline out of love. We were not making changes because we were angry, it is for our son’s good and safety. 

We also had to stay consistent! My son would not understand if he could do the same things and only get consequences half the time. 

Overall, I want to keep my son safe. He needs to know how to listen to Mom and Dad when something is dangerous! 

A list of Toddler Behaviors that aren't going away unless you teach your child how to obey. Identifying behaviors and making a plan! #toddler #toddlerdiscipline #baby

Implementing the Toddler Behavior Plan:

My husband and I agreed on what we felt most comfortable with for disciplining our child. That looks different for everyone! Your child may respond well to something that mine doesn’t!

While correcting and training my child, I want to be shepherding his heart well because all behavior is an overflow of our hearts. I highly recommend the book Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp. It is a biblical perspective on raising children. 

Shepherding a Child's HeartShepherding a Child’s HeartShepherding a Child's Heart


Read this next blog post to see how Day 1 of Child  Training went for us, what we did, and what behaviors we dealt with first!


Get free shipping on the book above using Amazon Prime! If you don’t have an Amazon Prime account, sign up for a 30-day free trial here and get unlimited free 2-day shipping with no minimum order size.


Also, check out some of my other blog posts:

Follow Me on Pinterest ♥

A list of Toddler Behaviors that aren't going away unless you teach your child how to obey. Identifying behaviors and making a plan! #toddler #toddlerdiscipline #baby

12 thoughts on “When Your Toddler’s Behavior is a Problem”

  1. OmgOsh! I’ve been praying and seeking! My son is 19 months and he’s doing EVERY SINGLE THING You MENTIONED! I just got the book and I’m going to look at your blog now! Ahhh! I need help!

    1. It’s been a very slow process but my son is making progress! It took coming up with a plan and sticking to it, although we do still have our very hard days. Doing blanket time has really helped! I’m right there with ya on this toddler behavior correcting journey…it can be so exhausting!

  2. I read all 3 posts! Super helpful. I wanted to know, what approach did you take when it came to him slamming his head on things when he was upset? My 14 month old does that now. I’m so scared that one day he’s going to give himself a concussion. He’ll either slam his head if he’s in the high chair against the back part or slaps his head with his hand. He’ll throw himself back if he’s being carried–you know the one I mean. sigh….

    1. We still have to correct this every once in awhile, but thankfully for the most part…that was something he grew out of. But when it happened/happens, I tell him “no, we do not hit our head when we are upset”. Then it depends on the situation with my next move. I’ll remove him from the situation if I can, take him to another room and have a time out/cool down spot. If I can’t, he might get a little swat from our spanking spoon (but I completely understand if you don’t spank). Which both of those might make him more upset at first, but then I hold him and tell him that I’m sorry he’s upset but we do not hit our head when we are upset, that I love him, etc.

    2. Most of my kids were head-bangers too, I found that they won’t smash hard enough to really cause injury.. they’re trying to get a reaction and the more reaction they get from you, the more they’ll do it. Each of my boys would bump his head on the floor (or whatever) and then look at me and when he didn’t get the reaction he wanted, bump a little harder. When he realized it hurt and started crying, I would say “that hurt, didn’t it?” But not run over to console him. That would teach him that bumping his head on the floor works. Once they realized that what they were doing wasn’t getting them the desired reaction, it didn’t happen so much anymore. Now there are other behaviors to deal with 🙂

  3. Hey Lauren,
    Great post!
    We all go through this phase while our kids are growing. They are bound to throw tantrums and become rigid as we ask them to follow instructions. I believe parenting is all about being tactful in handling your kids and control situations as the time comes.

  4. This was not helpful at all. I was looking and hoping to find loving ways of disciplining my child. Everybody should discipline their kid in their own way, duh, but as a first time parent I need practical ideas.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *