There are various reasons for a child’s aggression. The word aggression comes with quite a negative connotation, after all, the aggressor is causing pain or harm to the recipient of the aggression right? What if we start by re-framing “aggression” in kids by saying to ourselves that they are “having a difficult time”? In doing this, we can better help them through this difficult time, after all, hitting, biting, kicking, back-talks etc in children often stems from this behaviour. They are not ‘bad’ or ‘naughty’; they are having a tough time.
In my experience, children often get frustrated when there is a lot of going on in a house where there are lots of needs to be met beyond their own. Children are bombarded with difficult and new challenges on a daily basis – a sibling who picks on him or her, a math concept he or she cannot grasp, a teacher with limited patience, being a victim of bullying or a parent that says “no.”
Children need a little more help when it comes to emotional regulation. Often times, children aren’t able to process negative emotions like frustration, fear, disappointment, hurt or anger, and they may act out in some form of aggression.
How does a child look when he or she is having a difficult time?
When a child is having a difficult time, he or she is drawn to physical fighting or verbal arguments. He or she might be the “class bully” and have few real friends. They prefer to solve problems by winning fights and arguments and often threaten other students. In this regard, aggressors are first and foremost attention seekers, and they enjoy the attention they gain from being aggressive. The aggressive child sees that power brings attention.
Are Parents to Blame?
Children can have difficult time for many reasons, some of them related to conditions that may be hereditary or home environments that are unhealthy. But it is not “handed down” from parent to child. Parents to such children who are aggressive themselves should be honest with themselves and recognize that while they are not responsible for these behaviors in their children, they may be part of the problem and certainly can be part of the solution.