Children have tendencies to be many things and express their feelings in diverse ways. Children who do not have language skills can throw tantrums to get their parent’s attention, but there is a thin line between tantrums and aggression.
According to Merriam Webster, aggression is a hostile, injurious, or destructive behavior or outlook, primarily caused by frustration. Aggression is a Pattern of continued anger where a child feels the need to shove another child because he feels injustice or frustration.
On the other hand, a Tantrum is a fit of bad temper, and it is most times found in children with Autism or children without language skills. Children who have not developed language skills may need to hit themselves on the floor or scream to get their parents’ attention. Tantrum should stop when a child develops language skills to express their emotions. On the other hand, aggression is repetitive and may cause other children to feel endangered in the school environment.
Recently, there have been reports of gun violence in elementary schools, and parents are forced to lecture their children on how to stay safe in the case of gun violence. John Locke introduced the principle of Tabula Rasa, which means “the mind is a blank slate.” If the mind is a blank slate, it means something has to be written on it. And the slate will continue to show what was written until it is erased. Families play an essential role in ensuring that the right things are written on that blank slate.
What is on the slate of your child’s mind? How do you react when your child hits another child just because they are angry?
Aggression In Children.
Many parents and teachers tend to wave aggression in childhood as a normal development process; however, aggression in childhood is a mark of emotional and behavioral troubles. Boys whose parents do not tame their aggression can grow up to become shooters or bullies, and aggressive girls can become insecure in relationships that they become victims of teenage pregnancy. Aggressive girls could also grow up to become emotional abusers.
Aggressive children lash out in the heat of anger. They act on the assumption of hostility or threats and hit other children at the slightest provocation. When the cause of aggressive behaviors is not figured out and tamed on time, aggression becomes automatic for them, and they develop less sense of humor.
Causes Of Aggression In Children
- Negligence: Children are humans, too, and they feel the need to be protected by parents or adults around them. When a child does not feel protected by parents or supposedly trusted adults, they can put up walls and get paranoid, aggressive, or combative. Neglected children may begin to see themselves as victims of circumstances and can be very sensitive to the situation and circumstances.
2. Environmental Factors: The environment that a child grows up in directly influences their behavior. Children born in a high-crime environment get exposed to crime and violence early and may begin to replicate violent behaviors in the school environment.
3. Low self-esteem: Children with low self-esteem may see being teased as a way to insult and degrade them, and they may try to build resistance by being aggressive. Children with low self-esteem begin to see aggression as a safe place, and when they are teased, they tend to fight back, which isolates the child even further.
4. Violent TV shows: Television programs usually put parental guidance on cartoons and television programs, but some parents have left the duty post of watching the television and have made it the sole responsibility of the children. When children come across violent TV shows and see them consistently, they tend to imitate what they have seen in other children in the school environment.
5. Autism: Autistic children may present aggressive tendencies, especially when certain factors trigger them, and they feel frustrated by not being able to express themselves in words. Autistic children may also express aggression towards others due to stress or anxiety.
Signs Of Aggression In Children
The following are signs of aggression in children:
- Anger issues are characterized by hitting, kicking, or yelling at other children.
- Verbal attacks
- Destroying properties
- Angry tantrums
- Being easily triggered and defensive
Taming Aggression In Children
Aggression should not be overlooked. When parents or teachers notice signs of aggression in children, it should not be ignored as typical, believing that a child will outgrow it. Parents and teachers must stand their ground to input the right things on the blank slate of a child’s mind. This will ensure that we are building a secure future for every child. The following are what parents and teachers can do to nip aggression in the bud:
- Identify triggers: Aggression in autistic children is usually caused by environmental triggers. Parents of children living with Autism need to identify those triggers and learn with the therapist’s help to deal with those triggers so that the child can express emotions clearly.
2. Stand your ground: It is easy for children not to take adults seriously, especially when the adult cannot stand their ground to instill discipline. Parents can decide to punish a child who misbehaves to drive a point that there are consequences for every action.
3. Stay calm: Remember that a child’s mind is still a blank slate, and parents can shape their child’s behavior using the blank slate principle. Parents should not return aggression with counter aggression like yelling or flogging; it doesn’t make a child realize that they have made a mistake that needs to be corrected. Parents must remain calm to instill discipline.
4. Positive Reinforcement: As much as parents should punish when there is a sign of negative behaviour, there should also be a reward for positive behaviors. Rewards enable the child to behave positively always.
5. Seek help: If parents cannot control aggression on their own, they should seek help from a certified psychologist who will help their child walk through the phase of aggression and create an enabling environment for all children.