Every child, at some point in his/her childhood or teenage years suffers bursts of aggression – bet it violent behaviors like fighting, biting, or mere irritation, but 8 out of 10 times these reactions are ignored by parents as sheer changes of teenage years. Contrary to the popular belief that children are aggressive because of their mental state, aggression in children is often a consequence of poor parenting, lack of relationship skills, or biological factors. In many cases aggression is also related to a set of cultural and social circumstances varying from – instability in families to peer pressure in schools. Some children, because of their lack of ability to deal with emotion like frustration, find it increasingly difficult to deal with aggressive outbursts. In those cases, parents play a very important role to help their child deal with such aggressive behavior. The aggressive behavior of a child is directly proportional to his temperament; a child with more self-control is most likely to deal with his aggressive behavior than a child who lacks the basic ability to control their mood swings.
Teaching children about dealing with defeat is a great beginning to help them cope with this. In many cases, pressure from parents or schools to perform better in their studies or sports may result in pushing a child towards depression; making it equally important to accept failures with same intensity as one accepts successes.
Why Children get aggressive?
A variety of reasons can influence a child’s behavior:
Many of us forget the fact that children are good observers who are influenced by the behavior of adults, imitating how they handle their anger and frustrations. When they observe some adults solving problems with physical violence, children take it as an appropriate behavior and ultimately end up replicating the behavior. Watching aggressive programs or movies can also influence the way a child behaves at home or school.
Lack of Social Skills
Some kids lack basic social skills like interaction or simple ability to adjust with peers at school. They look for independence is it at home or in school and after a period, this pushes them to believe that they are alone and they start considering everyone against them. This leads to depression and eventually other forms of aggression like irritation. Such children become feisty to deal with and with passing time, their behavior degrades to situations that are more hazardous.
Lack of encouragement
It is a much-underrated fact that, like adults, children also seek approval and appreciation from their parents at home and teachers in school. However good or bad a child’s performance is, if dealt without love or care, it can have a negative impact on a child’s psyche. If children do not get support from their parents or teachers, the pressure of criticism eventually gets to their head, ultimately affecting their cognitive abilities.
How to help?
Help them in anger management
Children must be taught the basic art of self-control to manage and control their behavior. Parents can start with reasoning to improve things. For instance, consoling their child that it is ok sometimes to lose out to other is a great way of getting rid of pressure. Encouraging a child to express their feelings is another important solution.
Statements such as “Boys are supposed to be tough” can have a negative impact on a child’s psyche. It pushes them to believe “It is cool to fight or it is ok to settle disputes with violence”. Moreover, children, especially boys, start kicking or biting to seek parental approval, which has a negative effect on their ideology. Such statements leave an impression on a child’s temperament in the longer run thus making them more susceptible to aggression.
Avoid physical punishments to enforce discipline
A child who is physically punished can end up considering it as a correct technique to handle people when their behavior is not appropriate. Physical punishments go a long way in strengthening a child’s belligerence towards others.
Organize home environment
A home is where a child spends most of his initial years; regulating access to toys, TV, or computers during this period can go a long way in dealing with a child’s mental state. If parents become a positive model for controlled behavior, they can go a long way in shaping a child’s psyche.
Eventually, if parents accept their child for what they actually are – in terms of behavior and personality – it will be lot easier for families to deal with childhood aggression. The initial years of a child’s life ultimately play a crucial role, as it is during these years that the foundation for their future years is set. Patient, consistent, firm, and loving guidance can improve a child’s ability to cope with their aggression. Childhood aggression can only be dealt by accepting the problem, not running away from it.