It is not uncommon for children to exhibit aggressive behaviour toward others such as kicking, biting or hitting, at various points in their development and in different settings. When such behaviour becomes very frequent or seems to be their consistent way of reacting to something they don’t like, it’s time to step in to help them change their behaviour, develop judgment, self-discipline, and the ability to express his feelings in appropriate ways.
Younger children, between the ages of 18 months to 2 years, usually find it extremely hard to communicate their needs to their parents, caregivers, and other children. Negative behaviours are one way they may choose to get attention or their point across. For older children between the ages of three and six, such behaviours may be the result of not learning the correct, non-aggressive ways of communicating when they are faced with a difficult situation.
Reasons for aggressive behaviours may be due to any or all of the following:
ou can curb your child’s aggressive behaviours through these strategies:
- Children need to know what behaviour is permitted and what is not. Set rules and make sure that everyone who cares for your child is aware of the rules you set, as well as the response to use if he does exhibit this behaviour. A child who kicks, hits, or bites should be reprimanded immediately so he understands exactly what he has done wrong. Be firm and consistent.
- Help your child find new ways to deal with his anger such as encourage him to use words to express his feelings rather than fighting with his body, and praise him for exhibiting non-violent behaviour.
- Instil self-control in your child. Children need to be taught not to kick, hit, or bite whenever they feel like it. Parents should guide the child to develop the ability to keep his feelings under control and to think about his actions before acting on impulse.Set a good example for your child and display positive coping skills. Remember, children look to their parents for cues on how to control their impulses and have good behaviour.
- Don’t hit or spank as a form of discipline or as punishment. A child who is physically punished can begin to believe this is the correct way to handle people when you don’t like their behaviour. Such physical punishment can reinforce a child’s aggressiveness toward others.
- Control your own temper. Children tend to mimic the behaviour of their parents or other adults around them. How you handle your own anger and frustration will affect your child.
- Do not expose your child to violent television or video games. Too often TV and videos promotes violence as means to an end for problem-solving.
- Praise good behaviour and let your child knows that you notice when he deals with his anger in a positive way
However, children learn through consistent and patient repetition so be patient and let them know that you genuinely care about his situation and feelings. And never forget to give your child a hug to make him feel loved and accepted.