A new study shows that toddler “dysregulation” can lead to significant behavior problems when children are six years old. The children in the study were born preterm (at or before 36 weeks gestation, which is a month or more early). The other factors that led to behavior problems were poverty and maternal depression.
Parents and caregivers can help by paying attention to whether their 2-year-old melts down or is more irritable than other children that age. And so much can be done to change the pattern of behavior problems before age 6! There are many intervention programs that focus on helping parents manage behaviors. Some new approaches focus on “reflective parenting” or “mindful parenting” which involves more listening and support and less “discipline”.