“Your child hit my darling baby,” complains the neighborhood lady, whose child is notorious for breaking everyone’s windows, just for fun. Then she goes into a lengthy monologue about right behaviour to teach a child, most of which she herself does not follow! Embarrassed, you face your child, bleeding from the fight, while her son/daughter walks away unscathed, his/her ego unhurt. Kids like hers will never change, but that is not reason enough for your child to hit someone, least of all someone weaker than him/her. You wonder as to why your child, who is most obedient in other situations, should turn aggressive and violent at times. Don’t worry; it doesn’t have anything to do with the way you brought him/her up, irrespective of what your neighbor says. All children experience this phase and the trick lies in teaching them to handle anger more responsibly. Here’s how to handle a child’s aggression.
How To Handle A Child’s Aggression
Here are some ways in which one can handle a child’s aggression:
Whys And Wherefores
Know the exact reasons as to why children resort to such kind of behaviour – they may need security or attention or may need you in any other way. According to paediatricians and child specialists, aggression is an inevitable part of growing up and beginning to assert themselves as independent individuals. Parents must, instead of trying to squelch negative emotions completely, teach children, constructive ways to deal with it. This is a very common phenomenon among young children to want to be aggressive instead of assertive, like we adults are and it is highly unrealistic of adults to expect them to behave as if they were not children, but little adults.
Talk To Me
Encourage your child to tell you or anybody else he or she trusts whenever he or she feels angry. It is important for you not to be judgmental or patronizing while your child opens up to you about why he or she is angry. Not only will the child lose his trust in you, but also grow up with the feeling that it is better to hit others than talk to you about what he feels. This could only further compound the problem. When the child talks, listen to him attentively and ask questions later.
Mind The Words
When the child gives you the opportunity to speak, you have to be sympathetic and yet drive it into your child’s mind that it is not appropriate to hit someone. Tell them that it hurts to be kicked, so they must not resort to it. Encourage them to fight with words. Tell them that though the other kid had no right to say the mean things he or she said, hitting, punching, or, kicking is no way to deal with it.
Roles They Play
Device role-playing games that can teach how much it hurts to be hit and also to behave more responsibly when faced with situations like the ones that the child has faced. When faced with situations where a child may become aggressive or resort to fisticuffs, teach your child to talk it out or use words instead of hands and feet. This kind of exercise will also help the child differentiate between responsible and irresponsible behaviour.
Walk The Talk
Even though children like to assert themselves as individuals in their own right, they learn a lot from what they see at home. So, it is up to you to teach them how to handle their aggression in proper way. Refrain from angry outbursts yourself and show responsible behavior towards your child and towards everyone. Who knows, you might end up controlling your anger better in the process.
Whenever your child shows responsible behaviour, point it out and compliment it generously. Words like “Keep it up” that encourage responsible behaviour will prove to be perhaps the best way by which responsible handling of anger can be inculcated in children.