«Anyone can become angry – it’s easy. But to get angry as much as needed and for the reason that is necessary – this isn’t given to everyone» Aristotle
Note, we do not use the word “aggression” in its true meaning. We say: the aggressor – one who is attacking, aggressive – means wicked, angry. In fact, aggression – is not an emotion, not motive or installation. Aggression is a model of behavior. And it is laid in early childhood. In such early childhood, that it is even hard to believe. Imagine a woman on the last month of pregnancy, who, feeling the jolts coming from the inside of the growing baby, says angrily: “Stop kicking!”
Another woman strokes her belly and in response to the “signals” that send the child says: “Grow up, baby! Play! Try, only, please, next time will not hurt your mother.” It is strange but true: a child hears our words somehow, understands and accepts it… as a guide to action. Therefore, in the first case, a baby is more likely to become aggressive than in the second case. If your child has suddenly become pugnacious and rude, hurting other children or adults, threatening, do not hurry to make conclusions about his aggressiveness; do not hurry “to take measures.” Firstly, keep watching over the child and try to understand what lies behind children’s aggression.
Causes Of Children’s Aggression
Parents should not be afraid of a child’s aggression. There is nothing terrible when a child response angrily to some external event. Any of us in cases of conflict situations, unfair treatment, danger, resentment, and unconcealed hostility may become aggressive. But an adult can control his emotions and express them constructively. A child, in its turn, is still unable to regulate his conduct with social norms and willing efforts.
A child expresses violently his dissatisfaction without worrying about how he will look in the eyes of adults around him. He starts to yell, scream, throwing on the floor everything he sees… Parents are sometimes ashamed of such behavior. They try to “fight” to get some results. They beg, scold, scream, and slap… The result of these “battles” is children’s aggression.
The aggressive behavior of the child in 3 years probably means his protest against the power of adults. Note, that after punishing, children’s aggression only increases. If you will not sustain and give up, a child will quickly understand which way he can achieve the desired result. The style of this behavior will be gained a foothold for a long time.
By the age of 4-5 years, the child is already able to control his emotions, considering the social norms. He already understands how he should behave and what he should not do.
After 5-6 years old, the aggressive behavior of a child is a specific form of his relationships with others.
The Main Causes Of Children’s Aggression: Struggle for attention
If the child does not feel the parents’ tenderness, love, caress, he dreams of attracting some attention somehow. In addition, the aggressive behavior of a child can check the sincerity of parental love. But parental love is often evaluative.
Hurt on parents
Unable to express his hurt on parents, the children begin to behave aggressively. A child may be offended because of the appearance of a younger child in the family, divorce, the appearance of the stepparent, ex-communication of a child from the family (taken to hospital, sent to the grandmother), unfulfilled promise, unfair punishment…
It often happens that a child, feeling useless or stupid, starts to behave aggressively. In this case, children’s aggression acts as a defensive reaction.
Single attempts of aggressive behavior may be manifested in every child. It depends only on the parents, whether this attempt develops into a natural behavior or disappears without a trace.
Other Causes Of Children’s Aggression
In early childhood, one of the main ways of world cognition is imitation. The baby strives to imitate their parents. If you shout at him, beat him, he responds to you in the same way, believing that such behavior is permitted.
Overly strict penalties are forcing a child to hide his anger in the presence of parents, but he can be cruel in other situations. For example, while coming into the sandbox and hurting younger children.
The helplessness of parents, pliability, no frames, and borders in education also contributes to children’s uncontrolled aggression. Parents need to be steadfast and determined in their demands and prohibitions. Otherwise, the child will manipulate your weaknesses.
Establishing some prohibition or restriction it is necessary to tell your child, “I love you, but I do not allow you to take the matches.”
Advices For Parents
- First of all, try to figure out what is the true cause of your child’s aggressive behavior.
- Take your child in the way he is, with all the disadvantages. Tell him that you love him more often.
- Discuss with your child his emotions. Tell him that all people get mad and angry sometimes. It is normal. Teach him how to express his anger without causing harm to people.
“The pillow of anger”
You can take a pillow, mat, or punching bag. Explain to the child that, when he is very angry and wants to fight, he can beat a pillow, “giving” it all his anger.
“The paper in the pocket”
If a child is constantly rude, you can come to an agreement that the next time he wants to fight, he will tear paper into small pieces or crumble it in his pocket.
Born in Belarus, 1985, a pedagogue and family psychologist, mother. Taking part in procedures of social adaptation of the foster children in new families. Since 2015 is a chief editor of the motherhow.com project, selecting the best and up-to-date material for those, who are planning, expecting, and already having babies.