Aggression in Children: Analyzing the Agony and Finding Solutions

The uproar concerning the unexpected death of thirteen-year-old James was palpable. The demand for transparent investigation was monumental. However, mass memory is transient, and soon James would survive only in discarded newspaper articles. But what about the fatal trait that had driven the boy to be unabashedly reckless with such a vital entity called life? Aggression, discernable in almost all the activities of the child, had been the very crucible of his death. But the fallacy had not been momentous; it had proliferated like a deadly virus, finally rendering its victim powerless before its sway.

This article attempts to take a deep plunge into the remote recesses of a child’s mind to fish out all that we need to know and do about this majorly underrated issue-childhood aggression.

What is aggressive behavior in children

A child, whose behavior features dominant traces of hostility, physical or emotional violence, and inconsiderate forcefulness, is said to be a clueless harbinger of aggressive behavior. And it might erupt as verbal yelling, cursing, pushing, kicking, hitting or the subtle ignoring, naming and teasing. In a nutshell, it delineates a behavior that is progressively offensive and may incur the possibility of morphing the child into a social outcast in the long run.

What are the types of childhood aggression

According to psychiatry professor Henry Parens, there are four types of aggression in kids:

Nondestructive aggression, constitutes a normal urge of the child to outshine in diverse areas such as academics or sports

Survival aggression, characterized by the child’s inborn inclination to survive amidst all odds

Displeasure related aggression, a reaction against hostile behavior

Pleasure related aggression, the unusual outcome of a typical pleasure that a kid attains in irritating others

What are the causes of aggression in children

Physical aggression in babies

A baby generally feels secure within the safe cocoon of its mother. When that protective shield is endangered, it exerts nonverbal frustrations through volatile grabbing, biting, ceaseless crying or pushing and all these reciprocations are small outbursts of early childhood aggression.

Toddler aggression

The development of cognitive and motor abilities like speech and movement activates a system of self-regulation that monitors the toddler’s behavior, for instance, when he is supposed to cry or remain quiet.

Aggression in junior school

As a toddler steps into the wide arena of school, both the depreciating approval and irreverence of parents and teachers serve to solidify his aggressiveness that is discernable not only in being physically aggressive to others but also in various other pursuits such as trying to be the first one in a queue. Naturally, their participation in hot-headed school fights or steady arguments with teachers can be anticipated. And it’s only a few years before they find themselves isolated and stranded.

However, if a child demonstrates consistent, aggressive behavior in situations that would not prompt other children of similar ages to be aggressive, it may be a clue for both parents and teachers to identify a dormant mental issue such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

Aggression in middle childhood

Incorporation of social skills like an empathetic outlook towards the impact of one’s behavior on others signifies the essential blooming of social connectedness that marks middle childhood. With logic gaining over impracticality, the little adult now employs verbal and social aggression to terminate problems. Moreover, various children TV shows and cartoons, unmindfully depict a great deal of violence that is most of the time ogled up by an inquisitive kid and eventually, it gets delivered in the form of aggressive behavior.

Psychology behind aggression in children with cognitive limitations

Children may also turn uncontrollably aggressive due to impaired self-monitoring capacity rendered by cognitive limitation. In fact, damage incurred by the frontal lobe is responsible for the malfunctioning of impulse control, behavior modification, and reasoning. This, coupled with delays in language formation, may subject a child to adopt a violent, aggressive behavior, thereby making him shout, push or even hurt someone when caught in an intricate web of conflicting emotions.

How to deal with aggressive behavior in young children

Recognize the predictable pattern of aggression

Since aggression precedes frustration, spot the moments that trigger it. For instance, your seemingly demure kid may manifest a recurring tendency to flare up each of the specific times you are late from office or the cozy moments you cuddle his sibling.

Have a speedy change of the offending environment

Remove your kid from the agitated site so as to divert his fury.

Intervene with care

Perhaps you land at the crucial moment when your child is about to pull his sister’s hair or throw a toy at her, hold his agile hand deftly and firmly point out, “It’s not right dear to hurt your small sister. You are her big, brave brother remember?” Moreover, resist from implanting a sound slap on his cheek or boxing his ears, as they cultivate the belief that physical punishment is normal and acceptable.

Expect retaliation

Momentous aggression stains a child with a crashing sensation of guilt that further shoves him to take refuge in isolation. After you stop him from venting, be sure to meet expected resentment in the form of shrill crying or blaming, etc.

This reciprocation is good, for they offer him an outlet for his pent up emotions. But ensure that after an expected outburst, he is able to recover his balance.

Ensure the child’s sense of security

Now, it’s your turn to help him heal his fears. Employ the embalming process with an empathetic voice and understanding gaze and topple these up with an assurance, “I know, you didn’t mean to do it, I’m with you dear and will help you out.”

Take control of the situation by preventing him from any further destruction, in case he has already committed some harm. Be sure that both of you are safe. However, once he has calmed down, tell him clearly how such violent aggression is not at all pardonable and should not be repeated at any cost.

Help to grow a squabble-free home

You would be directly influencing your kid in adopting aggression as the most tempting way to solve a dispute, if you do so yourself. Hence, make your child witness a wide variety of ways to form an effective resolution and then see the difference in his attitude.

Handling passive aggressive children

Children that are passive aggressive adopt a nonresistant way to make parents succumb to their erroneous views. For instance, all your ranting might be received with a purposive indifference to force you into redefining your expectations about him. Here, you may either have an elaborate discussion with your child regarding the issue or put certain limits like warning him about the consequences of inaction.

To go back to James, whom you all must have forgotten, it is relevant to mention that he had an innate desire to become famous, and ironically this wish got fulfilled by his untimely death. We definitely do not want our kids to attain such fame. Hence, dear mothers, act fast to channelize your child’s aggressiveness into something constructive before it’s too late.

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