There’s a love affair going on in my two-year-old’s pre-school class. One of the boys in his class is inseparable with one sweet blonde. They do everything together: play, paint, eat snacks. They even snuggle together during reading time. The boy follows this girl everywhere and has tantrums around any boy who comes near her. It’s very funny … sort of.

It got a little awkward the other day when the boy grabbed the girl and loudly said, “I’m the daddy and you’re the mommy!” He then pulled her to him from behind while she was clearly uncomfortable. The little girl said, “Stop it!” This preschool teacher couldn’t believe that after 30 years of teaching, she would have to share this lesson. “No means no!” she told him.

What’s our world coming to when we have to watch out for sexual harassment in preschool. Obviously, nothing serious was going down. But it’s still eerie considering all that’s going today.

Given that, how do you handle toddlers when they get aggressive?

I am told that the aggression usually happens when a toddler feels threatened that someone else is going to take a toy or when they just grab what someone else is working with. Here is what our preschool teacher does when she sees any kid getting aggressive in class and what you can do at home or on the playground:

  • Validate feelings and ask about a different way they could solve the problem.
  • Ask the child, “If it’s O.K. to push or grab or hit? The children usually say no.
  • Create rules, which are are simple: feet on the ground, hands on your own body. That covers most situations!
  • Let them know, you can hug a friend but only after you ask, and no is no!

Making sure our kids are being gentle and respectful, especially to little girls, is probably the best lesson we can share right about now. Now if only we can get some of the many famous men we know in the world to listen too!