Staying at Home and Aggressive Behavior

I got a call recently from the mother of two sons, one three years old and the other seven months. The mother said that the usually gentle three-year-old had “turned into a bully,” and had taken to hitting the baby, with his hands and with toys. When she and her partner got there fast enough, they were able to prevent the behavior from happening, they’d set limits by saying, “I won’t let you hit him,” and tried to reason with the toddler by telling him that he was hurting his baby brother. But their responses were making no impact and things were not improving. We know that domestic violence has increased recently, as people have been forced to stay at home together during the pandemic. Likewise, it’s not surprising to see an increase in aggressive behavior among children. Research shows that when physical space is limited, aggression increases. Being stuck inside is like a pressure cooker that needs to let off steam. What to do about it? I suggested to the mother that getting outside can be an excellent way to help her toddler reset and recalibrate. Being outside is visually soothing because we can see a distance, as compared [...]