What can you do to help young children to control aggression?

For young children to outgrow their aggressive ways, they need positive,consistent, nurturing discipline. They need to learn positive problem-solving techniques. Parents and teachers need to place children in environments that offer a setting and support for learning positive social behavior rather than aggressive, hostile, antisocial acts.


In extreme cases, try some of these options

Observe to get the facts. Keep a log to find the theme of what triggers the acts of aggression; then help the child steer clear of these activities. Share your notes or journal with the parent or caregiver. Compare to see if similar behaviors are triggered at home and at school. Take a look at the environment. Is some activity or room arrangement causing anxiety or frustration? Does the child feel crowded, or is he or she made to sit too long? Does the child have enough personal space? For school-age children, write a plan of action for what the child will do when the negative behavior occurs. Make a list of activities to do “instead” (play with Play-Doh, run around the house, vacuum, draw, take a bath, etc.). Use a picture graph if the child can’t read. Recognize success. “Even though I could tell you were mad, that was a great way you controlled your anger!” Teach the child deep breathing and visualization relaxation exercises. During a calm time, talk with the child so he or she understands the consequences of actions. Bedtimes are often quiet times for talking. If all of your strategies have been used to no avail, seek counseling or assistance in developing a child/family plan to learn aggression management.