Everyone wants their child to be social, socialized and civilized. In other words, they want their child to get along with others. But what we often overlook is the fact that aggression is one of the characteristics of being human. While we, adults, try to regulate aggression even now, children need appropriate parental guidance and help in learning to control their aggressive behaviour when they are angry, upset or frustrated. So, here are a few strategies to help your child to stop aggressive behaviour.
Aggression is one of the characteristics of being human and yet we struggle to regulate it since very early age. Everyone wants to be social, socialized and civilized.
1.Set firm and consistent limits:
Children are bound to be aggressive when they feel their feelings are acknowledged. Although feeling upset or angry is acceptable, biting/kicking/hitting is objectionable. Let your child know what behaviour is tolerable and what is not and also let him be aware of “If and then” strategy where he would be aware of how he would be disciplined if he displays aggressive behaviour. The key to stopping aggressive behaviour in the kids is being consistent in your rules and responses. No matter where you are or what situation you are in, follow it consistently. Also, make sure all his caregivers are aware of the rules you set and how to respond if he exhibits the unacceptable behaviour.
Children often mirror the behaviour of their parents. So, it is essential to keep yourself calm before trying to stop the aggression in your child. When your child throws tantrums, if you feel you are losing your temper, walk away, take a break for a minute or two, calm yourself and get back on the mission. If you are calm and controlled, it is more likely that your child will calm down quickly.
3.Use words and gestures together:
Your child needs to see too along with the words he hears to grasp what you are trying to communicate. So to make your child stop the unacceptable behaviour, along with using an authoritative and matter-of-fact tone, show the gesture of “stop” or “no-no”.
4.Alternate ways to deal with anger:
Anger is often exploded in the form of physical aggression. To stop that, offer your toddler words to express his feelings and the alternative ways to channelize his energy - suggest him to jump up and down to control his anger or paint an angry picture or some other activity which is appropriate. Let your toddler know that there are many ways to express his feelings in healthy and non-hurtful ways.
5.Try a distraction:
Toddlers could be easily distracted and this is a boon for parents. When your little munchkin is highly agitated and inordinately aggressive, offer him a toy or give him a big bear hug or put on a song and make some dance moves. This kind of unpredictable responses could definitely change your child’s mood, lighten the situation and stop aggressive behaviour in your child.
6.Take your child out of the situation:
To help your child to regain control of his emotions, sometimes it is necessary to take your child out of the situation. It is pretty much like offering a distraction to your toddler but sometimes it works as “If-then” strategy. For instance, if your child is exhibiting an aggressive behaviour because you are not buying the toy he liked, warn him saying “You are making too much noise. We are not buying this toy. If you don’t stop crying now, we will have to get out of the store”
Children often act on impulse. They don’t possess an innate ability to control how they express their feelings. They are not aware of what is acceptable and what is not. They need to be taught self-control and why hurting others is an intolerable behaviour. Parents’ guidance is necessary for teaching the kids about self-control and how to respond to the situations.
8.No spanking punishment:
Some parents prefer to spank or hit the children to discipline their child. This kind of punishment could make the child believe that hitting the people when he doesn’t like their behaviour is acceptable. Physical punishment encourages child’s aggressiveness towards others.