Home Blog Child Behavior Help: Anger, Aggression and Defiance. You’re not alone! Aggressive children fighting. Mom overwhelmed and needs help!

Child Behavior Help: Anger, Aggression and Defiance. You’re not alone!

Aggressive children fighting. Mom overwhelmed and needs help!

A key reason many parents have trouble dealing with hitting, kicking, and other kids of aggressive behavior is that they get caught up in a power struggle with their child. Think about it: when you try to stop this behavior, your child wants to keep going. You might feel an even stronger need to stop aggression that’s now become even more intense or prolonged, but your child’s behavior keeps pulling you in the power struggle.  An immediate change you can make is the way you approach the problem.

At first, this approach may seem a whole lot easier to see mapped out than to put into practice. Mastering this response can take a little time when it’s new to you. But no matter what the situation, this basic 4-Step Better Way will give you a foundation to react and re-direct behavior you don’t like.

When the child acts aggressive, many parents feel:

  • Annoyed and/or frustrated
  • Angry
  • Disappointed or ashamed
  • Like a bad or ineffective parent
  • Scared and/or helpless
  • Out of control

All of these feelings are normal! It’s no fun when our kids hit or kick. That’s why it’s natural to respond somewhere along the spectrum of dismay, discomfort and disappointment to annoyance and anger.

We can’t help how we feel. But it’s important to be aware of those feelings and, in this case, be able to set them aside. Your emotional reactions can interfere with your ability to respond to aggression in ways that help your child calm down and behave better (which is, after all, your ultimate goal). What’s more, when your feelings run amok, they turn you into a poor role model for your child. Your action tells, “It’s okay to lose it when you’re mad.” A strong reaction might let you blow off steam, but it won’t help prevent future episodes of aggression.

How do you usually respond when your child is aggressive?

Many parents report they:

  • Raise their voice to stop it
  • Scold the child (“Don’t hit!”)
  • Explain why hitting is bad
  • Threaten to take away a privilege
  • Send child to his room
  • Use mild physical punishment (swatting, spanking)

Though it’s natural to be upset by aggression, the way those strong feelings are expressed sets the stage for everything that follows. Most of the responses we fall into using on auto-pilot  — from lecturing to yelling to spanking — backfire. They model more aggression. They put the child on the defensive, which means our words don’t register. And they make the child mad, escalating the aggressive behavior and, often, drawing you into a power struggle.  When you throw more fuel on fire, you get a bigger fire.

Luckily there’s a more effective response that works.

Click here to learn about the 4 Step Better Way To React To Aggression and to learn more about our digital, self guided Parenting Program.

Written by Madlena Rozenblyum, LCSW-R. Madlena is a licensed psychotherapist and a parenting expert. She is also a published author, speaker and a passionate believer in the power of positive parenting. Madlena is a principal expert and an author of a new parenting program “Parenting Solutions: Reducing Child’s Anger and Aggression” at Everyday Parenting. This program is based on the principals of positive parenting and will help you achieve successful results in as little as 4 weeks! Get the results you’ve been looking for, START you risk-free trial now!

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