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Working Through Aggressive Behaviors with Children

January 29, 2017


As upsetting as it is when another child hurts your child, it can be equally perplexing when your own child behaves aggressively toward another child or adult. The reasons for aggressive behavior may vary depending upon the age of the child and may be any or a combination of the following: self-defense, reaction to stressful situations, lack of routine, frustration, anger, absence of verbal skills, over-stimulation, exhaustion, hunger, lack of appropriate supervision, or imitation of aggressive behavior (Munson). Toddlers may hit and bite because they do not yet have words to express their needs and emotions. Children of school age may lash out at others because they have not yet learned to identify and regulate their emotions. Older children may act with aggression because in some situations this behavior may help them to get what they want (Morin, 2016).

Most of us experience anger and frustration at times. As adults, it is our responsibility to both model and teach our children self-control and appropriate ways to handle anger. Psychologist Dr. Joan Simeo Munson and social worker Amy Morin offer the following guidelines for working through aggressive behavior with our children:

At MSL, students are coached in conflict resolution and in respecting themselves, each other and the environment. Even our youngest students work on “gentle hands”, kind words and walking away from conflict. Older children use “peace talks” and “I statements” to resolve their differences and declare peace. Ask your student to show you the Peace Rose Lesson!


www.empowering, Biting and Kicking: How to Stop Aggressive Behavior in Young Children