Dealing with an aggressive child can be frustrating but the situation can be managed. Here are some strategies to handle an aggressive child.
Most people sometimes feel angry and aggressive. Children also become aggressive. Adults in such situations have better control over their behavior. But children draw their energy into violent behaviors such as kicking, biting and throwing things.
If your child is prone to this type of aggressive behavior, it is your job to help them improve their control and ability to express emotion in appropriate ways. Here are some ways to handle an aggressive child.
The most effective strategies to handle an aggressive child
1. To handle an aggressive child, you need to set firm, clear limits
Children need to know what is permissible and what is not permissible. Make sure anyone who takes care of your child is aware of the rules set out by you and knows the appropriate response when this behavior occurs. A child who kicks or bites should be immediately reprimanded to understand it is wrong behaviour.
2. Help the child discover new ways to deal with anger
Encourage the child to use words to express feelings instead of aggression and physical violence. Ask your child calmly to explain what made him/her angry. Talking about the problem can help some children calm down instead of being aggressive. If your child doesn’t want to talk about it, he or she may feel comfortable talking to a pet or doll.
Remember to praise the child for showing non-violent behavior. Tell them that when they express their anger in a positive way, you notice and admire them.
3. Strengthen the child’s self-control
Children are not inherently capable of controlling their behavior but should be taught that they cannot kick or bite whenever they feel they want to. The child needs parental guidance to develop the ability to control his or her emotions and to think about the behavior he or she wants to perform.
To successfully handle an aggressive child, you need to set clear boundaries.
4. Don’t use physical violence
Some parents think they can handle an aggressive child by physically punishing them. A child who is physically punished can believe that this is the right way to control people when they are unhappy with their behavior. Physical punishment can enhance a child’s aggression toward others.
5. While you try to handle an aggressive child, control your own behavior as well
Let the kids observe the manageable conflicts at home and see how you solve problems. Children imitate adults. Your child will be affected if you deal with anger and frustration. Use positive coping skills such as doing something that will calm you down. Be sure your child will do the same.
When you have to handle an aggressive child, you may be tempted to shout or even punish your child in response to aggression, but you know this does not teach them to be calm. Instead, they feel they can have an aggressive reaction to things they dislike.
Give yourself a minute and take a deep breath and then calmly respond to the child’s anger.
6. Strengthen their sense of responsibility
If your child causes something to be scattered or damaged, tell him / her that he / she should be responsible for it. For example, if they scatter their Lego they have to collect them themselves. Explain to them that this is not a punishment but the right way to deal with the mistake. Encourage them to apologize. Tell them this is very important to the other party who is hurt by their behavior. Explain that it is important to be honest when apologizing.
7. Find a source of creativity
The child may slap, hit the pillow, or bite. But encouraging the child to do things s/he enjoys, such as painting, reading and walking, can also help distract her/him out of anger. So it’s best to look for creative ways to control aggressive behavior in children.
8. Establish comfort and affection
To handle as aggressive child, let the child know that you care about his or her feelings and situation. Toddlers can find comfort in caresses. But older children also have these emotional feelings. It is best to know that the power of hugging your child is as strong as any painkiller.
9. To successfully handle as aggressive child, you need to be strong.
Try to respond to your child’s aggressive behaviors in a predictable way. This gives your child a clear idea of what to expect and makes it easier for them to understand and behave. Avoid having only one rule for the holiday at home and playing time.
When should you be concerned about aggressive behaviour in a child?
As your child grows older, his or her aggression may decrease. But if you are worried about this, it is best to consult a specialist doctor to find ways to manage the anger. Sometimes aggression can be a sign of learning difficulties or emotional problems. Consult your doctor if any of the following occur:
- Aggression happens every day or so.
- Aggression is severe and can be harmful to people or damaging to objects
- Aggression disrupts school, family and social activities.
- Aggression increases as the child grows older
- The child is aggressive towards herself/himself and can engage in self-harming behavior.