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Helping Your Child to Deal with Aggressive Behavior

January 29, 2017


Sooner or later, as our children enter their world of peers, they will confront the child whose interaction with them is negative or even physically aggressive. When this happens, as parents we come face to face with a painful truth: what hurts our child, also hurts us. The feelings we experience in this scenario tend to be instantaneous and can set off emotional triggers – our natural instinct is to protect. Once when my daughter was 18 months, she stumbled and fell, skinning her knee on the pavement. Her grandmother saw fit to try to shield her from one of life’s realities and immediately leapt into action in an unforgettable display, scolding the concrete – “Bad, bad sidewalk! No, no, no – you do not hurt our baby!! BAD!” As extreme and funny as this example seems, it calls attention to the fact that insight can guide us in helping our children to deal constructively with some of the painful hiccups they will inevitably experience in life.

Patty Wipfler of Hand in Hand Parenting points out that “in every aggressor/victim encounter, both children need help.” Armed with a few guiding insights, we can prepare ourselves and our children to better handle the verbal and physical confrontations that arise in their lives. Wipfler recommends the following strategies:


Cool, Calm and Confident: A Workbook to Help Kids Learn Assertiveness Skills, by Lisa M. Schab