Understanding your Child’s Aggressive Nature

Children beyond 6(six) months are now learning a whole lot of new skills and in their excitement they can also get confused and frustrated. The feeling of not accomplishing, being interrupted, or even having to share can make your child aggressive, making them lash out at a playmate. The only natural way for children to react to unhappy situations is through aggression. 

Aggression is considered the natural protective technique used by children to respond to their own disputes, frustrations and setbacks. All young children experience moments of anger. 

What Are the Types of Child Aggression?

Aggression can be observed in instances such as teasing and bullying. Such aggression is what transcends to awful acts such as burning of schools by teenagers. As a parent you need to understand the types aggressions your children may go through to be able to find suitable strategies to help your child manage them.

  • Instrumental Aggression- This is believed to be in-born and non-destructive. It brings about survival tactics in a child’s immediate environment.  The need to achieve at all costs in instances such as reaching out for a toy that’s far from reach.
  • Hostile Aggression – This is the reaction towards an extreme pleasure or displeasure at someone or something with intention to hurt or harm. 

When Does a Child Develop Aggressive Tendencies?

Most toddlers develop forceful behavioral tendencies in the second year and sometimes earlier as each child develops differently. 

What Influences a Child’s Behavior 

There are various factors that affect your child’s overall behavior. These include:

  • Close family and caretaker influences – Children learn and mimic habits from the people they live and interact with.
  •  Individual milestone effects – The behavior is typical of your child’s development stage. For example, hitting and biting is normal for toddlers who want to bite at anything or to grab attention.
  • Environmental influences – The behavior is as a protective measure, a signal to your child’s approach to the world, the surrounding community. Developing his personality. 
  • Social exposure – What morals is your child exposed to? Is it traditional values, religious morals or multi-cultural behaviors? 

Tips to successfully tame aggressive behavior

You can start to deal with your child’s aggressive behavior once you identify the possible causes. Toddlers never understand their actions are hurting or injuring someone else. It is therefore up-to you to find an appropriate approach.

  • Present yourself as a role model to your child
  • Set appropriate family rules and boundaries 
  • Encourage your children to sort peaceful means of resolving issues
  • Train your child to have self-control 
  • Present a creative anger outlet
  • Give attention and comfort as needed. 
  • Avoid spanking as a disciplinary measure
  • Encourage your toddler to communicate, have a sign language if they are unable to speak.

Not all hostility is normal, so monitor your child’s behavior at all times and seek your doctor’s advice once you observe that your child’s aggressiveness is getting out of control.


#Please note that development differs from one child to another. 

#Content intended for educational purposes only, and should not be substituted for medical advice from your doctor.

Last reviewed January 2019

Sources: parents, empoweringparents, empoweringparents, empoweringparents, kiwifamilies, mentalhelp, childmind

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