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Aggression for child

Aggression for child

Aggression is one of the most disconcerting manifestations of early childhood turmoil. Like anyone who is frustrated by their lack of power to get what they want through acceptable means such as talking about their needs, trading services, or even buying their way, children resort to the age-old standby, force and aggression. They hit, bite, punch or kick the object of their frustration to get what they want. Temperaments differ and some children have a far lower frustration threshold than others. Justifiable anger is not necessarily bad but frustration is an inevitable part of life and we need to teach our children effective ways of handling it.

The use of language to express feelings and needs is vital. Help your child express what is upsetting her or making her feel inadequate, by verbalising for her if she cannot: ‘I know you’re angry with Tommy for taking your doll, but you mustn’t bite him because of it.’

Excessively aggressive children who bite or hit without immediate provocation are likely to be highly frustrated, resentful and angry children. And they need help. If their life is too full of do’s and don’ts without consideration for what they want, if they feel threatened because of a new arrival in the family or because they are being ignored most of the time, they may have a lot of pent-up anger that boils over whenever they meet someone they can vent it on.

Do not condemn the child without a sympathetic look at her side of the story. In the normal course of the first three years especially, there will be times when anger and frustration will be inevitable. It is up to you to see that your child finds more acceptable ways of dealing with these feelings. No child should get the idea that it is permissible to hurt others or herself. And remember that you cannot teach her this by smacking it out of her! She will not learn to handle her problems constructively that way. Teach her social techniques such as asking nicely, offering something in exchange for something else, and finally to learn to accept that sometimes even these methods will not get her what she wants and she will just have to accept this with a good grace. Of course you cannot expect this instantly from a two-year-old. It takes time and emotional growth, but at least you will have gone a long way towards developing an adult who can deal with life’s frustrations in a non-damaging way.

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