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Taming Your Child's Aggression


Taming Your Child's Aggression

Boys Town Center for Behavioral Health

What are we talking about when we're talking about aggression? It can take many different forms. We're talking about physical aggression, kids not keeping their hands to themselves, biting, scratching, kicking or hitting. As they get a little older we're talking about verbal aggression.

Why do children become aggressive?

There might be many different reasons why. It might be that they are told no. You might have just asked them to do something and they don't want to do it or they might really want a toy and they know that if they're aggressive they might get that toy. I think the important thing to remember is that these children are not trying to cause harm. They are frustrated and this is their way of communicating.

How do I manage my child's aggression?

If your child is engaging in aggression they need to know that it is not appropriate and the only way for them to know that is to have consistent consequences. Your child needs to know what is right and what is wrong. If you tell them beforehand, that they will get consequences for engaging in aggression, they're less likely to do it. We want to make sure they we're praising good behavior. This way we can see behaviors that we want to see and we don't praise those behaviors that we don't want to see.

What are signs my child is too aggressive?

I think parents are always worried that their child might be too aggressive. The first thing to remember is that it's part of normal development that kids are aggressive. Secondly, is your child causing harm to themselves or to others? If this is true I would contact your pediatrician. If there are other adults in your child's life, teachers or other parents that are expressing concerns, it might be a reason to contact your pediatrician.​

Does your child kick, scream, or bite when angry or when playing with others? Kristen Abbondante, Ph.D., with Boys Town Center for Behavioral Health, explains where your child's aggression comes from and how to manage it without losing your cool.​