Aggressive children are found among all ages from preschoolers to adolescents. Aggressive children have affected development patterns and psychosocial emotions.Children are aggressive more often when they are not able to cope with the limits set by their parents. Assuring the child a sense of security and a firm loving discipline can help to cut down on having aggressive children. Various factors contribute to the rise of aggressive children.
Causes for Aggressive Children
- Low self esteem in children
- Less vocabulary or communication skills
- Limited problem-solving skills
- Inability to cope with changes like a change of routine, loud noise or unfamiliar people around him.
- Stress and/or violence in the surrounding environment
- Frustration because of the inability to cope with the day-to-day activities.
- Emotional instability
- Abused or criticised even for the mildest mistake
- Company of aggressive friends
- Discomfort, pain or boredom
- Stress and/or violence at home and in the surrounding environment
Before responding to aggressive children, you must consider two factors namely – the age of the child and the cause of the aggression. Appropriate ways to control the aggression can then be carried out.
Tips to Handle Aggressive Children
- Help your child to learn the art of empathy. This helps him in understanding other's feelings and how his behaviour can hurt them.
- Children are not aware of the family rules and regulations. It is your responsibility to make them aware of this. You may have to do this quite often.
- Never keep discipline as a technique to be adopted only when your child misbehaves. Make it an ongoing process.
- Teach your child to distinguish between the right and the wrong. Praise him for a good behaviour.
- Understand that unlike adults your child's self-control is limited. Teach him to express his feelings through words instead of actions such as hitting or biting.
- Monitor your child's television programmes. Allow him to watch only age-appropriate programmes.
- Make your child aware that it is alright for him to feel angry, it is not acceptable to hurt others.
- Do not ignore any form of aggression, however small it may be.
- Talk with the child and find a suitable approach in helping him take control of his behaviour.
- Guide your child with learning basic skills such as problem solving and decision making.
- Set limits for your child and maintain eye-contact with him as you explain the limits and their consequences to him.
- Avoid spanking the child at any time as this can make him more aggressive.
- Opt for a time-out. This can be used for both young and older children. It is a good idea to keep this as one of the last alternatives. You can send him to a room or a place in the room where he has no company and has nothing to do.
- Maintain a warm and affectionate home front. Conflicts among family members can cause stress which result in aggressive children.
- Assure your child repeatedly that you love him, and care and trust his feelings.
Do not forget that your child is a careful observer of your actions. So remember to never show your anger in front of him. If you deal with your anger calmly, he may follow you. However if you shout as a result of the anger, he may shout as well.
When to Seek Doctor’s Help for Aggressive Children?
When your aggressive child goes out of control, you may want to consult his doctor. Some such instances are:
- He starts hurting himself physically
- He attacks others around him
- Peers do not play with him for fear of getting hurt