At 18 months, y our child’s personal identity is now established. He understands that he exists as a separate personality, with unique characteristics and develops a strong will to become independent. Y our little baby has come a long way since he was born. From being totally dependent on you, with no self-awareness or independence, he is now a little toddler with a strong sense of self, a distinct character and an iron will.
I and Others
Your toddler's developing personal identity becomes most evident as he now recognizes his own image gazing back at him from the mirror and expands his vocabulary to include “me” and “I". He also understands that others are separate from him, and begins to use “you” (these words usually appear between 20 and 22 months). Your toddler may start engaging in “parallel play” - playing the same game or activity as another child nearby - or in “complementary play,” where one toddler repeats the actions of the other. These new playing abilities open your little one to a whole new world of fun.
Empathy and Aggression
Empathy appears as your child begins to distinguish between his own feelings and the feelings of others. You might be moved to discover that most babies instinctively try to comfort, although their still immature cognitive abilities prevent them from knowing exactly how to do that. The normal phenomenon of aggression also appears at this stage, and you may be quite shocked to see your little treasure hitting and biting... This aggression comes from inborn urges which are difficult for small children to control. In many cases, expressing aggression is a way of expressing needs and comes in place of verbal communication, which is still not adequately developed at this age.
Set clear and consistent boundaries for your child. These boundaries give him a feeling of security.
Give your toddler the feeling that she is in control by encouraging her to choose and decide when possible.
Don't leave your baby alone during temper tantrums. Hug her without “scolding.” Verbally recount what happened and reflect her feelings (“You are angry because I wouldn't give you a candy,” etc.)
Praise positive social behavior such as when she agrees to share toys, offers a cookie to a friend, says “bye-bye” when leaving, etc.
Help your toddler understand and develop empathy for others by verbally expressing this (“Ben is sad because his balloon burst,” etc.)
Starts using “I”, “me” and “you” as self awareness becomes stronger (20-22 months).
The "terrible twos" begin with temper tantrums and endless testing of limits.
Can engage in focused play for up to a half hour (24 months).
Any advice and information provided in this website is given as suggestions only and should not be taken as a professional medical diagnosis or opinion. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider, and urge you to contact them immediately if your question is urgent.