Managing Aggressive Children

Managing Aggressive Children

– signs of aggression:
Younger child – biting, hitting, grabbing, pushing another child
[note: this can be developmental & the child grows our of it]
Older children – invading another person’s space, being malicious

– believed some children cannot handle physiological arousal & are neurologically impulsive
– some studies make association between restless foetuses & later aggressive behaviour as well as being a restless infant
– believed to be linked to less mature nervous systems (biological aspects)
– not every aggressive behaviour is not predictive of later aggression
– bottom line: all people want to exert personal power, but with aggressive children they have not always been taught how to manage their anger in useful, helpful ways (they might be over-controlled or over-protected)
– all children need direction about how to behave nicely/more appropriately/respectfully
– theory: a misbehaving child is a discouraged child
– problem: aggression is often successful (& the child can be rewarded – more attention, possibly admiration for “standing up” for themselves), particularly in the early years, but then thy have to live with the lack of friends, the bad reputation, being labelled & not necessarily having developed the requisite skills to manage anger effectively – a vicious negative cycle ensues
[the reverse can also be true – rather than being rewarded, the child can be punished – & also met with aggression]
– parents can do the following:
– look for patterns
– look for the triggers
– when it happens
– where it happens
– what are the consequences
– what are the sequence of behaviours that lead to the aggressive outburst
– parents can also review whether there is a power struggle going on between them & the child – is there a struggle to make the child obey/comply – is respect perhaps a better way? Can children be involved in solving the problem? After all, they are capable of solving problems from the age of 4 – then involve child in a more agreeable coping skill
[parents can then do things differently; structure days/time accordingly; assist with difficult emotions]

4 other tips:
1) – there is no role for blame (child &/or parent
2) – to look for the patterns in the child’s behaviour / the triggers
3) – provide alternatives (for when the early signs of something that may have once happened) – remove from situation/re-direct attention
4) – structure & routine in daily life, including exercises regarding problem-so,ving, managing difficult emotions etc.,

Source: K-12 Greatest Hits: The Best Ideas in Education (BAM Radio) | podcast date: 29 December 2009


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