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Taming Your Aggressive Child

Aggressive behavior

Tips for Dealing With an Aggressive Child

Aggressive behavior can occur at any age. When you find that your child is exhibiting excessive aggressive behavior, you need to employ strategies to turn it around. Handling an aggressive child depends largely on the age group. Young children are prone to this behavior naturally as their little minds developed.

1. Consistency is key

When dealing with aggressive small children, consistency is the key to success. Changing your response to aggression each time doesn’t send the right message to your child. For example, if your child has been making a habit of hitting his siblings, you must tell him in a calm voice using the same words every time that it’s not acceptable and he will need to take a timeout.

2. Lay down the law firmly

You may find yourself the subject of stares when you are out with your toddler when aggressive behavior occurs. Wherever you are, be it a restaurant or the supermarket, if your child falls down the aggressive spiral over a minor thing like wanting dessert, you need to lay down the law firmly by telling him it’s not okay to act like this at the place you happen to be in. Tell him he’s not getting what he wants and if he doesn’t stop carrying on, you will leave. Here is where it’s most important though – make good on your command. Annoying as it is to leave, it sends a big message to your child that this behavior will not get them their way. Be prepared that you may need to do this several times, but it is extremely effective and will soon lead to your child understanding that making a scene is not the way to get what one wants.

3. Tell them where you will be going

At this tender young age though, it can be beneficial to head off that aggressive behavior at the pass. When you’re going somewhere new, talk to your child about it first. Tell them where you will be going and what will happen when you’re there. In this way, there are no surprises to your child.

4. Give your child a snack

Don’t forget that children need snacks too. We can delay our own gratification, but children don’t have this capacity. Always keep some snacks in your bag. It will help meltdowns that occur out of hunger.

5. Monitor the situation

For older children, should they behave aggressively at school, you’ll need to monitor the situation and be in communication with your child’s teachers and the school. There are some things that the school should handle, like dealing with tardiness or running in the halls, that won’t require you to punish them any further at home. If your child’s behavior is abusive though (either verbally or physically), it’s important for you to step up to the plate and guide your child to make the right decisions to solve his own problems.

6. Talk to your child

Make sure you ask your child how they should have handled things differently. If it’s a problem that keeps coming up, you must talk to your child about how their method for handling the situation was not effective and dole out punishment. As with younger children though, consistency here will also pay off here to turn aggressive behavior around.

Find some more parenting advise here.

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  1. Very good post and well thought through. I saw a video recently where a dad takes his daughter out of the supermarket and placed her to sit on the car until she ended her tantrum. It was very effective! His voice was calm and she eventually got the message that she doesn’t get her way by throwing a tantrum.

  2. Thanks for talking about this….so important and helpful for parents to know they are not alone….and there are ways to improve behavior.

  3. I love how very well you explained this. Aggressive behavior is not really easy to deal with but with consistency, patience, and applying just the right method at the right time (situation), it’s not impossible to correct the behavior.

  4. Consistency is so important! Carrying snacks really does help. My son get hangry. Another thing that helps a whole lot is monitoring his diet. When he’s had a lot of processed foods, any artificial colors, gluten, corn, or nitrates, he is a different kid. Extremely aggressive. By monitoring his diet we cut down on 98% of the aggressive behavior. Food sensitivities can be a major aggression trigger. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Great advice! Consistency really seems to be key. Leaving is such a powerful thing to do. Our little one understood it from six months on–when we would say “we will leave if you do (specific action)” and point to the door, you could see the gears working in her beautiful, amazing mind. Babies are incredible!


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