Calming Your Child aggressive behavior

Child aggressive behavior

No matter what age your child is, if you’ve found yourself faced with the same aggressive behavior by your child day after day, you’re going to have to take a good long look at yourself. I said “look,” not “blame.” Your response doesn’t make you a good or bad parent but you might need to look at whether or not what you’ve been doing to handle the situation has been effective or not.

How to handle aggression in children largely depends on how old your child is. If your child is young, in the preschool age group, this behavior is rather common. You’ll need to start making a change by being consistent. In fact, this is the key to unlocking this problem. We only complicate things by responding differently to aggression each time. So if your child keeps willfully hurting her little sister, you’ll need to assert yourself calmly each time and in the same way. We don’t hit. It’s not nice. You will need to take a timeout.

Small children will also need to be removed from certain situations when behavior is aggressive. So if your child begins flipping out at the supermarket over a package of cookies, you’ll have to tell her it’s not okay to make so much noise. “We can’t act like this at the store. We’re not buying the cookies and if you don’t stop screaming, we are going home.” Do not make idle threats. Follow through immediately or else this pattern will keep repeating.

Sometimes, the best defense is a strong offense. So before heading out somewhere, especially for a new situation or one that is likely going to be boring for your child (think post office), talk to them in advance about where you are going and what you will do when you get there. Children that are bored are more prone to acting out. Let them know what you expect of them and that if aggressive behavior occurs, you’ll be leaving immediately.

Small children also need consistency among all regular adults in their lives, whether it’s your spouse or the grandparents. Make sure to communicate with everyone that spends time with your child too so that they use the same tactics you do.

If your child is a little older, like elementary-aged and being aggressive at school, you’ll need to keep a good line of communication with your child’s teachers and the school to monitor the behavior. Simple infractions like running down the hall, being tardy to class or chewing gum are all things the school should manage. You don’t need to give another punishment for those types of behaviors at home. However, when the behavior is verbally or physically abusive, you need to step in and help your child figure out how to solve her problems properly. The first time it happens, it should be discussed and you should ask your child what they think they should have done differently. You should also help them work through better ways to have handled the situation. If the problem is a recurring one, you need to discuss where your child’s skills were ineffective and hold them accountable. Again, consistency is a key component here and coupled with communication, can help calm aggressive behavior.


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