Well, I sure can relate with your post. I have posted a similiar one in desperation myself. It is along with the survey, "does your toddler hit?"
She is 2.5 and has been very aggressive toward me, my partner and kids younger then her for almost a year
During this incredibly tough rollar coaster ride of emotions. I have sorted out the following factors that affect her mood:
The first and most obvious stuff is hungry? low blood sugar is not tolerable even for a few minutes. Tired? Lonely? Is there too much going on? (too many kids at the park, conflicting games, too many toys to choose from is even frustrating)
What is she unable to communicate? This is when I am modeling how to interact with other little ones. Stuff like, "ask do you want to hold hands, don't grab hands?" "Say, look at what I am doing, don't touch faces." "Lets wait our turn, good waiting." Constantly hovering and anticipating what she is feeling and thinking. I thought I'd be able to read a book or talk to an adult once in a while, when we go to the park, but not yet...she needs a coach more now then she did previously.
Absolutely no preservatives or food coloring is allowed, I was a bit relaxed with this, especially with birthday cakes and occasional treats her Abuelos (grandparents) would give her, (real low quality mexican candy...yikes) EVen like colored bubblebath, that I'd never buy, but ended up with some as a gift...she went nuts in the tub, banging her head and screaming that night I tried the stuff.
Also, there is a list of whole foods that have a chemical in them that can set up the toddlers for a wild emotional ride...I can not explain the chemistry, but the Feingold Association has a list of foods, and I have had seen some real improvments after taking her off these foods and experimenting one by one which ones might be more or less tolerable. Interestingly, most all her favorite fruits and veggies were on the list, I guess she was craving the foods that set her up. The list included apples, all berries, cucumbers, peaches, grapes and raisins, and a lot others. It was hard to eliminate then and I am still working hard at it. But if your kids responds it is so worth it.
Also, about my parenting style, I have learned that the eye for an eye method is disasterous. I am embarressed I was bullied into thinking that she couldn't understand more gentle methods and that spanking was OK for really unacceptable aggression. and pulling her hair back after she pulled mine, things like that, actually fed her aggression and made her feel gloat at how angry she made Mom. Trying to be Zen about it is real challenging for me. Unfortuneatly my partner is NOT able to help support me or her in these situations. But switching who is doing the discipline, mid-fit is an effective way of supporting eachother and the little one....anyway hope something here is helpful.
Know that it is not a reflection of how good or bad you are parenting when your kid is out of control. It is a healthy exploration of limits and a way to communicate frustrations.