How to Manage Aggressive Behaviour in Your Child
The need to recognise and control your child’s aggression is very important the closer they get to entering school. Sending a child to school who acts out violently will soon have you looking for another school.
But your child can soon be trained to grow out of this behaviour. All it takes is tenacity and patience.
Before you start, you might want to look at your own behaviour as objectively as possible to try and determine whether there is some outside source for your child’s aggression. Children look for role models, and in a parent, they don’t have to look very far.
Could your behaviour or your spouses be contributing to your child’s aggression? Start paying attention to you react in stressful situations to ensure that you’re not providing an unwelcome image of how to behave when you’re angry.
Try to portray positive ways of coping with frustration and anger and use these ‘real-life’ lessons to show your child how they should be behaving.
Draw Your Line in the Sand
Reinforce what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour each and every time your child acts up and resorts to violence and hits, bites and kicks his play or schoolmates. Ensure also that everyone who minds your child, whether babysitter, teacher or relative, is clear on what the limits are and they willing and able to enforce them.
Only by getting a clear and consistent message that their bad behaviour is unacceptable to everyone that they look up to in their life, will your child start trying to change their behaviour.
Offer an Alternate Outlet
While the phrase “Use your words” loses its impact when repeated too often, it’s still a very good recommendation and something that can placate your child. Having them turn to you to explain why they are acting as they are in a certain situation can provide you with some insight into their behaviour.
Having them articulates their thoughts also helps them understand how much they’re overreacting in a trivial situation.
By listening to them explain their side of the story, you can reinforce your line in the sand. That it’s not to be crossed no matter what excuse your child offers. Aggression is simply unacceptable behaviour, full-stop.
You can also give them an alternative outlet once they’ve explained the issue. Pounding a pillow, scribbling on some paper or stomping their feet may seem like aggressive activities in themselves, but your child is still getting the message that inanimate objects are better objects to take their frustration out on than their playmates or classmates.
Separate the Person from the Behaviour
Children who are undergoing a necessary modification of their behaviour can sometimes begin to suffer self-esteem issues. It’s important to make it clear to them that while you cannot tolerate their aggressive behaviour, you still love them for who they are.
This will help them understand that they can change their behaviour, it doesn’t define them as a person and it’s a behaviour that is better gotten rid of to make everyone around them happier.
If your child is exhibiting aggressive and they’re about to enter a pre-school environment in Bangkok, buy your child the “Little Dino Doesn’t Hit” book. In this book, there is a colourful character by name of ‘Little Dino’ who serves as a role model for every child. The message in the book is that Little Dino doesn’t push and Little Dino doesn’t push.
If you have more questions on dealing with aggression in your child, maybe the educators at Appletree International Kindergarten can give you some answers. Call and schedule a consultation with them.