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VIOLENT BEHAVIOUR
 

Aggression is a normal part of a preschooler's development. Sometimes children lack a grip on vocabulary. Pushing and hitting are the closest ways for them to express their frustrations and they demonstrate their lack of social skills, through pinching, biting or any other form of aggressive behaviour.

Reasons for Aggression

a.

Lack of impulse control : Sometimes a child understands that pinching hurts, but he may not be able to stop himself from doing it.

b.

Frustration : He is frustrated when he cannot control his environment as much as he would like to, so he responds in the best way he knows, that is by pinching a playmate or snatching a toy from his friend or biting his sibling.

c.

A drive for independence : He asserts himself aggressively in order to feel more important.

d.

Inability to visualize the consequences : He may be unable to visualize the consequences of hitting or biting. He may feel sorry after he has made his friend cry, but does not have control over himself.

e.

Lack of verbal communication : As the proverb goes, "Action speaks louder than words", this holds true for a toddler as he does not possess the verbal skills required to express his feelings, desires or needs, so he often resorts to more physical means of aggression.

f.

Inadequate attention : If a child feels neglected, he will try to get attention in any form. An arrival of a new sibling can make him feel resentful or neglected. He may just retaliate by pushing the child.


Tips for Parents to Handle Violent Behaviour

Children do not learn to tame their aggressive instincts naturally. They need to be taught. Here are few tips, so that you as a parent can help :

a.

Respond quickly : Try to respond immediately if you see your preschooler getting aggressive. Remove him from the situation for a brief time-out. Three or four minutes are a lot of time for a preschooler. The idea for a time-out is for him to connect his behaviour with the consequences and figure out that if he misbehaves, he will be the sufferer and miss out on all the fun.

b.

React in the same manner : As much as possible, respond to his aggressive acts the same way, every time. Eventually it will sink in, that if he gets a time out, he misses on all the fun.

c.

Avoid a heavy hand : Never hit a child. Instead try to handle your toddler in a firm but gentle way, even if you are very annoyed with him. A child emulates what he sees. Bullying your child into obeying creates a bully role model to emulate. Aggressive children usually have aggressive and punitive parents who discipline them physically.

d.

Reward good behaviour : Rather than paying attention to your preschooler only when he misbehaves, try to catch him being good. Hitting, biting and other aggressive behaviours are often calls for attention by children who are frequently ignored or unappreciated when they are behaving well. Keep a special calendar on the refrigerator and reward him with a star and by the end of the month, give him a treat of a pizza or an ice cream or a toy, for having a particular number of stars.

e.

Provide opportunities for venturing and minimizing frustrations : Pushing up frustration, energy and anger can explode into aggressive behaviour. So it is necessary for a child to release his energy through a variety of appropriate outlets, maybe by sending him for karate classes or dance classes. A constructive way should be found to channelise his energy.

f.

Banish boredom : "An idle mind is a devils workshop", holds very true for a preschooler. An idle toddler can do major mischief. Anticipate your toddler's interest and challenge him with a brain teasing game or activity.

g.

Do not be afraid to seek help : Some children have more trouble with aggression than others. Sometimes an undiagnosed learning or behaviour disorder is behind the frustration and anger. Whatever is the cause, a counsellor can help your child work through the emotions that tend to lead to aggression and help him to control them in future.

Case Study

Past History :
Mohak, a second class student did well in the past in his studies. He was extremely sensitive about his physical frailness. He fell sick quite often. He compensated for his physical inferiority by becoming a "Rough Rider". He was always quarreling with his classmates, he was restless, could not concentrate and was always picking fights.

Mohak started developing a hostile attitude towards his parents and friends. He started disliking people and becoming vindictive towards people who humiliated him and prevented him from attaining his goal. He started showing destructive, defiant and annoying behaviour at home and in school.

Treatment :
With the help of counselling sessions, Mohak was made to understand how to deal with his friends. The parents were called and it was explained to them that they should give Mohak attention and help him to regain his physical strength.

He was advised to train and practice physical exercises to gain muscular strength and he enrolled into dramatics, which made him feel important and wanted. Through rational emotive training, it was explained to him how he could accept himself the way he was and get encouraged in co-operative team work, which would also boost his self image.

 

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