5 Expert Tips on How to Manage a Child’s Aggressive Behavior
Aggression in children is quite common. Kids have a very difficult time regulating their emotions when they’re young. By the age of 7, children should start understanding their emotions better, and outbursts should decline. However, once children reach their teenage years and hit puberty, a whole new range of emotions will come into play and these too could drive them into raging, throwing tantrums, and more.
Understanding and dealing with emotions is hard, even for adults, so we shouldn’t be surprised if kids have a difficult time with theirs. With proper guidance from both parents and teachers, children can learn how to deal with anger, frustration and stress, and how not to internalize or project negative or aggressive feelings. Aggression can take on many forms, from mild frustration to full-on meltdowns and freak-outs, and we have to make sure that we teach our children how to take control of difficult situations, and not allow their anger to make things worse.
The Da Vinci Collaborative team decided to put together a helpful list that can teach parents how to manage their children’s aggressive behavior. Keep in mind that this list includes a variety of suggestions that may or may not apply to every situation, so make sure you also seek the guidance of a mental health professional if things get complicated. Before we jump into the list, let’s see what are the causes that can throw kids into a frenzy.
What causes aggression in children?
There are several factors that can bring out the worst in our kids, especially when they’re young. Not having their way is the most common one. Children have little to no self-control when they’re young, so when they want something and they’re denied, they can become angry and aggressive. Whenever this happens, remember to not match their aggression, but rather gently try to defuse the situation and try to calm them down. This sounds good on paper, but it’s not always easy. The key is patience, and keeping a cool and collected frame.
Aggression can also develop in children if they are subject to this type of behavior at home, school, or with friends. Try to make sure that your child grows up and spends his time in safe environments. Of course, you cannot fully control this, but try to be present in their lives and their relationships to potentially avoid them being caught up in toxic environments. Repeated bullying at school or in social circles can also cause aggression in children, and internalized anger is as damaging as angry outbursts.
How to deal with your child’s anger issues
1. Stay calm and collected
We cannot stress this enough, but keeping cool is your best chance at tackling any aggressive situation. If your child starts throwing tantrums, starts yelling, screaming and shouting, make sure you do not match their behavior. Sometimes it’s difficult not to blow a fuse and get angry, but try not to make it a habit. Calmly explaining why their behavior is wrong is always the better solution.
2. Set limits
Allowing your children to feel their emotions is good, however, there’s a limit to everything. If your child feels angry and frustrated due to a difficult situation, let them process their emotions. They will calm down eventually, however, don’t let it drag on for too long. Set firm limits, and let them know when enough is enough. If they engage in aggressive behavior like yelling, hitting and kicking, stop them immediately and let them know it is wrong.
3. Don’t spank or beat them as a form of discipline
Children can get on our nerves, especially the more difficult ones. Regardless of how bad the situation can get, refrain yourself from putting hands on your child. Using aggression as a form of discipline might work in the short term by instilling fear in them, but the long-term negative effects are much worse. Understanding them, talking to them, and possibly grounding them to make them realize that aggression is not acceptable are far better and healthier alternatives.
4. Help them better understand and express their negative emotions
Encourage your child to use words to describe their feelings, rather than lashing out. Let them know that describing their feelings may also help you as a parent to understand them better. It’s possible they won’t always want to talk to you right away. They might vent to their toys or pets, and eventually talk to you. Communication is key, so encourage them to try to communicate what they’re feeling when angry, as well as the cause of their anger.
5. Teach them self-control techniques
Breathing exercises and critical thinking in tense situations can not only help children, but adults too. Depending on their age, you can teach them a variety of self-control techniques they could use to defuse tense situations and avoid conflict, like breathing or counting to 10 before responding, for example. It’s still possible they could get angry if they’re buttons are pushed. However, they will learn to better control their anger states when, for example, they don’t get what they want.
Before you go…
These are the main 5 techniques you can use to help your child manage their anger problems, however, you can also:
- Consistently reward good behavior;
- Find creative outlets and activities to help them channel their anger;
- Sign them up for sports activities where they can let off some steam;
- Remember to be patient!
Looking for mental health services for your child?
If all else fails, try getting in contact with a mental health professional. At Da Vinci Collaborative, we help children grow and understand their emotions. We are a team of highly passionate people who not only help children overcome life’s difficulties, but also offer personalized tutoring lessons, catered exactly to their needs. Our teachers work with children every day to help them study, communicate, and grow, and we can’t wait to meet new students to help them on their journey.