Aggression is difficult to deal with, more so if we see it in our own child. I have always believed that our children emulate us; they are our reflection, aren’t they? So, if our response even to the slightest of unpleasant situation is anger, our child will learn to react similarly. Sometimes we retreat, back off, instead of dealing with difficult circumstances. Our children might take advantage of this trait and use aggression to get their whims catered to. Dealing with this behaviour can be tough, but it is not impossible. It just needs patience and tact (we, as parents need to have loads of it). Here are a few suggestions, based on my own experience, research and low downs from fellow parents.
1. Time-outs work quite well. I use it quite a bit, “Maanit, you are grounded for a day”! When the behaviour is unacceptable, ask your child to sit down quietly and reflect over what they have done and why was it inappropriate. Allow them to interact with no one but themself t spend some time reflecting on their behaviour.
2. Let your behavioural responses be constant in difficult situations, all of them. You cannot afford to be angry at a certain negative behaviour and quiet at another. This can confuse your child, as to what is acceptable and what is not.
3. Communicate with your child. Conversations are like a window to your child’s psyche and their thought process. In case of unpleasant occurrences, for e.g. aggression in school, fights and abusive language, ask your child as to what prompted them to behave like that and how could they have prevented it. Allow them to self-analyse and realise their mistake, rather than always pointing it out.
4. Lay down clear ground rules about what is right and what is wrong. Let them know the consequences of aggressive (unacceptable) behaviour.
5. If your child is otherwise well behaved and aggressive only in school, speak with the teachers and identify the area of improvement (I restrain from using the term ‘problem’). Maybe your baby is being subjected to bullying and their behaviour is a mere offshoot of that pent up aggression.
6. Please teach your child to practise self-control. Inculcate in them the habit of thinking and responding; a reaction is more impulsive. You try and behave in the same way, so that they can learn through observation while you lead by example.
7. If you are a parent to a son, try not to teach him that boys are tougher and more powerful than girls. We need to inculcate in our sons an attitude of respect for our girls. They need to be taught to express themselves, to cry when they are sad…to get In touch with their gentler temperament. Treating girls with equality is a lesson that boys need to learn from a young age.
8. At times when we hit our children as a punishment for doing something wrong, they tend to believe that hitting is appropriate if someone behaves contrary to what they want. Try to curb this attitude; I did, too. Hitting is not an answer to anything or any situation.
9. Mums and dads identify the reasons of aggression and wipe them out.
Life is tough for all of us. We, as adults, have various outlets, where we can vent our pent up emotions. We go to work, immerse ourselves in it and the negativity dissipates. We go out with our friends, laugh, talk, discuss and vent our feelings. We, at times, due to our own frustrations and challenges, react adversely with our family, our children. But what about our babies? How are they supposed to let go of their fears, their growing up woes, their own, seemingly unimportant challenges? Yes, we need to be their sounding board, their pillar of strength. We need to LISTEN to them and understand the underlying message. We need to help them overcome their feelings of aggression by loving them….more and more each day!
Love and light to all!
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