What are negative emotions and what does rough handling of an infant look like?

Dr. Phil,

I learn a lot from your blog and I have read your parenting book. I read your blog Aggressive Behavior in Toddlers, but I do not know what you mean by "negative emotions towards their infants and rough handling of their infants."

Thanks, Lilly, S.F. CA

What you mean by "negative emotions towards their infants and rough handling of their infants."

Great question, Lilly, thanks.

Please let me give you an example.

Yesterday I was at lunch, looking forward to reading the latest gadget article for all things Apple computer. A few tables over I observed a mom and grandmother eating lunch with a 3 year old and an 18 month old. What I observed were "negative emotions towards their infants and rough handling of their infants."

The three year old was in a high chair reaching and grabbing as the food came to the table.  As he strained to reach for a French fry, his mom gently slapped his hand and said, "I told you in the car if you can't be a good boy you're going to get a spanking."

Over the next 15 minutes, while I finished my lunch, I observed the mom and the grandmother talking to each other in a friendly manner. When either adult was interrupted by a child, they growled softly at the child and said stern things to them.

"Stop doing that, you're acting like a little snot."

"You never listen to me."

"You're being a brat."

The 3 year old seemed unaware of anything the adults were saying. He seemed used to it. I saw his hand get gently slapped 5 times. Of note I did not see either adult talk to or with the children only at the children.

Over time, I can see how this type of parenting can lead to these children showing aggressive behaviors in school.