*info from zerotothree.org, endorsed by the AAP
*This section will be brief since I feel like there was a lot of overlap from the previous section 18-24 Months
SOCIAL EMOTIONAL: 2 year olds are still highly involved with their emerging sense of self. While older toddlers have more interest in their peers than they did at 18 months, they are still most interested in pleasing themselves and cannot yet understand another child’s perspective. It is not unusual for toddlers at this age to be verbally and physically aggressive in their play with objects and peers. Along with this self-interest comes the continued development of their emotions, which mainly appear in the form of rage and defiance. They begin to feel shame, anxiety, and continue to develop emotions of fear, pleasure, pride, and joy. It is not unusual for them to express anger and frustration by hitting, kicking, shoving, or biting. Some may not yet have the words they need to express their feelings and frustrations. 2-3 years olds are still far from mastering control of their impulses although there has been improvement from the past. Catching problems before they fully emerge helps you guide their behavior. 2 year olds are also figuring out their gender roles.
What you can do: Pay attention to their nonverbal cues and communication to help them connect words with feelings/actions such as angry, upset, happy, sad. Acknowledge their feelings such as “I see you are angry. It is okay to be angry, but it is not okay to hit.” Offer a variety of strategies that your child can use in frustrating situations, especially words, gestures, and asking for help. Try not to think of the child as “good” or “bad,” or “cooperative” or not. Try to show your acceptance even as you redirect unacceptable behavior.