There will always come a time when parents will encounter challenges in raising a child. A child may go through a phase when he may have difficulty coping with certain things. A young child may respond with anger or aggressive acts if he feels sad, frustrated, tired, hungry or even sleepy. While adults don’t normally do this, a child may manifest aggression as a means of coping with the stress that he is feeling. Children may show aggressive acts like hitting, kicking, yelling, or even behavior that can destroy things.
For parents, this type of behavior can naturally catch them off guard. Since parents may find it difficult to understand why a child can resort to aggressive acts, it may then be good to begin by recognizing that anger is a common emotion. To add to that, there are times when anger can also be healthy, especially when it is properly expressed.
In trying to manage your child’s aggression, you should first determine whether there are factors causing it in your home. Is there anyone in the family acting the same way? Is your family currently going through a difficult situation? Even though kids may still be engrossed in a world of play, they can easily pick up the emotions from their environment or from the people they care about. By knowing what’s causing his aggressive behavior, you can also take steps to prevent it from occurring.
It may also be good to determine any triggering factors causing the aggression. Find out whether his angry outbursts occur before a meal, or when it’s almost time for a nap. Is the aggression triggered by a sudden change in his routine? Getting to know the root of the problem can help you better deal with his aggressive behavior.
If you can identify your child’s aggression triggers, you can work on perhaps modifying his schedule to reduce frustration, or to better plan out his schedule to prevent over fatigue. Some children also need to feel in control over their situation, and it may help if you can provide choices
Since a child who resorts to aggression does not really know how to deal with certain emotions, parents should teach him how to appropriately express his feelings. Let your child know that it is normal to feel upset at times, but help him understand that there are certain limits that needs to be followed.
If your child becomes aggressive, try to deal with it as calmly as you could. If you can’t control your own temper, then you are not being a good role model to your child. Instead, acknowledge your child’s emotion and guide him on how he can express what he feels. Talk to your child why he is acting in such a way, and let him know that there are certain limits that should be followed. You can then encourage your child to come up with ideas, on how he can go about his problem. For children younger than three years old, parents may still have to help them solve their problem.
If your child is not being reasonable and continues with the aggressive behavior, it may be necessary to take your child out of a particular situation. You may utilize a time-out, and point out that it has to be done so he can cool off, and not as a punishment for his inappropriate behavior. You may also make use of dolls or puppets as a technique to explore your child’s feelings.
After the incident, it is important that you discuss with your child on how he can act differently, should a similar incident occur again. Apart from guiding your child’s inappropriate behavior, it is also essential that parents acknowledge a child’s positive behavior. Praise your child every time he behaves properly, and be very specific with the details of his positive behavior. Positive reinforcement can be a powerful tool in encouraging your child to keep on doing appropriate behavior.
It can be difficult for parents to look through the aggression, in order to effectively deal with a child. However, a child who resorts to aggression under certain circumstances needs the help of his parents. Like most things, it may take some time before your child can effectively deal with negative emotions, but with your love and guidance surely you can both surpass this challenging stage.