Does your child want to punch his/her friend, hit his/her sibling, push small kids, or give a ‘Hulk smash’ to a competitive opponent? Sigh!
You are not the only one. Dealing with aggressive kids is giving many parents sleepless nights. A lot of parents find it difficult to cope with their child’s anger and aggression.
Remember, if you don’t respond to your kid’s aggressive behaviour, things will only get worse. It’s not something you can change overnight. It takes a lot of patience and time to correct the kid’s behaviour. But there are some disciplining rules, you must try. So how does one control an aggressive child?
First things first, if you think your child is getting aggressive, find out the reason. “Having awareness about what factors are influencing your child’s behaviour is the key to help them out,” says Seema Hingorany, Mumbai’s leading Clinical Psychologist and Trauma Expert.
“A child may become more and more aggressive because of one or more of the following reasons,” she informs, listing them out.
What makes your child aggressive?
> No proper diet and sleep
> Mental clutter and stress
> Being an object of a bully
> Vitamin B12 and D3 deficiency
> Not given desired attention
> Exposure to violence
> Too many films and video games with brutality
> Harsh reality TV and inappropriate content
> Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
> Imitating parent’s behaviour, if you respond aggressively to a situation your child learns to do the same.
How to reduce aggression in kids:
1. Talk to your child
Never ban the channel of communication with your child. If he/she is getting aggressive, help your kid out by talking to him/her and finding the real reason. Never belittle a child when he/she is angry. Don’t interrupt or tell him/her to shut up.
Be with your kid, let him/her open up, he/she may be tired, bullied, disgusted, or attention deprived. Maintain a good relationship with your child where he/she may tell you whatever he/she are going through or feeling. Make him/her learn to calm down and to handle negative emotions.
2. Rule out deficiencies
Your child may be sleep-deprived, attention deficit, or suffering from lack of Vitamin B12 and D3. Give him/her a nutritional diet, a good amount of water and fluids, and rest. Children below age of 12 need at least 10-12 hours of sleep and means to stimulate his/her mind when awake. Take good care of him/her.
3. Be consistent
From toddlers to teenagers, the key to disciplining your child is to set limits and being consistent. You can’t ignore behaviours one day and respond by screaming at him/her the next day.
Do your best to make sure you respond the same way every time your kid is crossing limits or being unreasonable. Tell him/her what he/she sees in films or gaming is not for real!
4. Vent out energy
“Let kids play in the open and use their energy in physical activities to minimise aggression and bottled up behaviour. If space is an issue, use clubs and gymkhana sports facilities, enrol your child for activities like swimming, tennis, etc.
Children need to go out and interact with others,” opines Hingorany. So if your child is hitting your little one, tell him/her to go out and play with appropriate age group, or do some physical activity before he/she can come back and play with his/her siblings.
5. Teach them to deal with conflict
“I always tell my 7-year-old to be good even if other kids misbehave. I tell him how one day other kids will praise him and would want to be like him. Thankfully, my child listens,” says Bindu Sharma, a homemaker.
“I ask him what’s the difference between him and other kids if he starts behaving the same way? This makes him think and look for other means to tackle a negative situation”, she adds.
If your child is having concerns—facing bullying at school or has issues with a classmate—don’t suggest fighting back. Tell him/her to control the emotions, anger, and aggression. Then, to think before he/she acts.
6. Dealing with rude behaviour
Don’t give in to the demands of a rude and aggressive child. Discipline your child, explaining that such behaviour is not acceptable. Be firm, but never tell your child to shut up.
Get your child to dictate the problem and find a solution together. Different tricks work for different kids to discipline them, see what works for you. Let the child spend some time alone, talk more, or just take him/her out of the situation.
For example, if your child demands something that you don’t want to buy for him/her from the supermarket, walk out. Let your child know that there are more calming ways to deal with negative emotions.
7. Mind your behaviour
If you’re aggressive in dealing with certain situations, then your child is likely to copy you. Children often model on a parent’s behaviour.
Therefore, firstly, mind your words and actions, and refrain from resorting to aggressive/forceful behaviour to deal with negative circumstances.
Sometimes, it pays to explain to him/her a situation and then telling what you did to peacefully sort it out. Be a good influence.
Is there a discipline trick that works to calm down your aggressive child? How to deal with aggressive kids? Share your opinion in the ‘Comments’ section!
Image credit: Mindaugas Danys
Please Note: The points about vitamin B12/D3-deficiency and ADHD are based on medical studies. This may vary from child to child. It’s advisable to consult an expert doctor/your child’s paediatrician for clarification.