Child aggression: psychologist's advice to parents

Child aggression: psychologist's advice to parents - Psychology, Behavior, Problems

We are not programmed to look at the world in a hostile way, however, in order to survive, sometimes we turn on mechanisms that provoke aggressive behavior. Any person is capable of behaving aggressively, but whether he will do it depends on many reasons. 

Aggression in children, as well as in adults, is almost always a consequence of either internal or external processes. To understand what exactly affects the child to such an extent that provokes aggression is the primary task of parents. The most important rule is to deal not with the manifestations, but with the cause of this condition.

Why does the child behave aggressivelyChild aggression cannot be considered as a separate phenomenon.

In most cases, this is a symptom that indicates the presence of psychophysiological or other problems. The polymorphism of this condition means that aggression cannot be treated without finding out its cause. Only the elimination of the provoking factor can eliminate such symptoms. 

Read also: What to do if a child bites in kindergarten: psychologist's advice

So, let's go through the main causes of aggression in a child:Bipolar disorder.

  1. A serious mental diagnosis, which is manifested by frequent mood changes, causeless mood swings — from a maximum (activity, euphoria, emotional excitement) to a minimum (irritability, depression, anxiety, sadness). The disease makes itself felt in adolescence, but the beginnings can be seen in childhood. The blurring of the symptoms of BR complicates the diagnosis in children under 12 years of age. 
  2. Psychosis. Even more complex conditions — for example, schizophrenia — also manifest themselves in the form of aggressiveness. Such children are too distrustful, paranoid suspicious, afraid of everything. In the absence of medical and psychological correction, the condition is aggravated by aggression, up to attacking others or harming oneself.
  3. Intellectual development delay. In children with reduced functions of the thinking process, as well as with autism, aggression can be observed as a result of anxiety and frustration in their own abilities. They cannot express their thoughts and feelings, and this generates aggressive behavior towards others.
  4. ADHD. No matter how hard society tries to refute this official diagnosis, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder cannot be identified with the usual childish bad manners. Hyperactive children cannot assess the depth of the consequences of their activities, they act impulsively. Sometimes they can seem detached, heartless, angry and, of course, aggressive. 
  5. Skull injuries, epilepsy. There is also a purely physiological nature of aggressiveness. With injuries to the skull and damage to the frontal lobe, episodes of aggression occur. Similar cases have been observed in children with epilepsy. 
  6. Psychoemotional injuries. Sometimes mentally healthy children are traumatized by certain factors and, as a result, then show aggression. Stressful situations, poor living conditions, drinking parents, etc. contribute to this. 
  7. Confusion. Sometimes children have very unchildlike problems. And due to their age, they cannot objectively act to solve them. Then aggression appears as a logical result of rejection of a heavy burden.
  8. The genetic factor. The stress experienced in childhood has far-reaching consequences. It can even reprogram the functioning of human genes and influence the next generations. This was proved in the course of research in 2013 by a group of American scientists led by Paul Feig and Gina Rodriguez. 
  9. Computer grs. It is known that violent games provoke the transfer of some plot details into reality. After spending many hours in some WORLD OF WARCRAFT or GTA, the child experiences a significant overload of the psyche. This manifests itself in the form of overexcitation, uncontrolled behavior and aggressiveness. 
  10. Hormonal imbalance. Violation of cortisol production during stressful situations or, conversely, excessive production of this hormone can provoke aggressive behavior. In the first case, the child apathetically tolerates a stressful situation. And only when a sufficient amount of the fear hormone is produced, it gives a reaction, but already in an aggressive form. In the second case, aggression appears immediately. 
  11. Negative environmental conditions. The marginal environment almost always affects the personality of the child. He is guided by a bad example not because he wants it or likes this lifestyle. Children, like sponges, absorb everything that surrounds them. 

In 1961, Albert Bandura (a Canadian and American psychologist) conducted a study of two focus groups of children. 

The first one observed such a picture: an adult enters the room, takes a doll and begins to beat it, shake it, break it. The second group watched an adult playing with a doll, caring for her. After the dolls were handed to the children, those who were in the first focus group repeated the mockery of the toy, copying the behavior of an adult. 

An additional study was also conducted. If a person was scolded for bullying a doll, this had an educational effect — the children did not torture the toy even if they had watched the execution before.

The study confirmed that the examples of unpunished aggression observed by children are very likely to be relayed by them. 

Aggressive child

Family, society, specialistsThese three "S" should act as a united front in the fight against child aggression.

FamilyHardly anyone can downplay the role of parents, grandparents, siblings and other relatives in a child's life.

He is brought up by their example, adopts behavioral models. However, with pronounced child aggressiveness, a personal example is not enough. It is necessary to make every effort to get the child out of this state. 

SocietyThis is an environment that we cannot influence.

But we can change the environment by moving to another place. No wonder most parents are trying to get their child into a better school, to form a circle of friends from good families for him. This is a completely justified strategy — in adolescence, society becomes a very important factor for the child, influencing decision-making in general and behavior in particular. 

SpecialistsStudies conducted in the USA in 2009-2017 show that parents who have received competent support from specialists are much more effective at coping with child aggression.

Therefore, the task of psychologists and psychotherapists in this case is to advise not only the child, but also his parents.

Forms of aggression and actions of parents: tactics of behaviorWe will consider not only the manifestations of child aggression, but also recommendations on how parents should behave in this situation.


What does the child doWhat should parents do

Throws a tantrum

Step back, go into another room or move away if the tantrum happened on the street.

The child will calm down as soon as he sees that there are no spectators nearby. 

Angry, expresses negative thoughts, scares with revengeShock the baby — come, hug, kiss, tell him how much you love him.

In 9 out of 10 cases, the child will be discouraged by such a reaction, because this is not what he expected in response to his words.

Kicking, trying to hit or biteShow restraint and courage.

Firmly detach the child, isolate him from the rest in another room, in the corridor or anywhere without strangers. Take his hands, sit down at eye level and describe his actions loudly and clearly: "You just swung to hit me." By verbalizing the child's actions, you give him the opportunity to look at them from the outside. The main thing is not to break into shouting, threats or physical impact. 

Flashes up in a second and just as quickly departsIf you know that a child is easily excitable, try not to take him to noisy children's companies, to rides and other places where he can get stressed and, as a result, show aggression.

If the outbreak occurred in a normal situation, try to distract the baby's attention. As soon as he switches to something else, he will calm down quickly. 

HooligansPatiently explain what such actions are fraught with.

Give the child the opportunity to take responsibility for himself: he broke someone else's phone — repair it at the expense of money from his piggy bank.

Maliciously affects other childrenThis can manifest itself in trolling, bullying, inciting others against the object of aggression.

The best way out of the situation is to let the child feel like a victim. First, by analogy, and if it does not help — to show by personal example how unpleasant it is. For example, to arrange silence in the family for 10-15 minutes. And then explain: this is how a child feels, whom you ignore and persuade others not to communicate with him.

Attacks verballyThe abuse of children — almost always has roots from the profanity of parents.

It is extremely hypocritical to scold a baby for just repeating your expressions. If you notice verbal aggression with swearing — do not react to it. So you will show that such behavior will not lead to the desired result. And at the same time try to control yourself and your speech so as not to set a harmful example to the child. 


Trying to cope with child aggression, remember that it is always a weakness that is not realized either by the child himself or by you yet. The most correct tactic in this case is to sort out the problem, help, protect. May you succeed!

April 22, 2020 2022-11-27 2020-04-22 Rate the article on a 5-point scale Did you like the article? Share it on social networks

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