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My son has aggressive behaviors with other children, how should I act?

My son has aggressive behaviors with other children, how should I act?


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From about 12 months of age, children begin to show a series of aggressive behaviors which tends to be quite worrying to parents, and in general, to families. Why has my child suddenly started hitting, scratching or biting other children? Is it normal for me to do it?

We analyze what to do if my child has aggressive behaviors with other children. Pay attention to these tips.

Aggressive behaviors towards other children from one year of age are completely normal. At these ages, children go through a stage characterized by a high level of self-centeredness, a low tolerance for frustration and a low ability to resolve conflicts adequately. And this greatly favors the appearance of aggressive behaviors.

At this stage, we can also add possible external causes that lead to it:

1. Overprotection. Sometimes, overprotection in our little ones generates a lower tolerance for frustration in them in different situations that can drive them to interact in an aggressive way with their peers.

2. Too many emotions. There are times when an excess of emotion, joy or affection can also be the trigger for this type of action, since children at these ages are not yet capable of managing their emotions properly.

3. Lack of ability with oral language. The absence of oral language can also favor that, in a situation that generates frustration, for example, that the partner takes a toy from him, the child responds by biting, scratching or hitting.

4. Calls for attention. Calls for attention are another cause that lead children to develop aggressive behaviors. They seek adult attention and don't care what that attention is like, as long as they get it. That is, "I want my mom or dad to take care of me, and it will be just as valid whether it is to show me their anger because I have behaved badly or to tell me how happy they are with me for having a good behavior."

5. Teething problem. Finally, the problem with teething or the need to suck after removing the pacifier can create a need in them, especially to bite, to calm this discomfort.

In these situations, It is important that the children listen to a firm and resounding "NO" from us. immediately after the aggressive behavior. We must show them our dissatisfaction and disapproval of what they just did.

1. No need to yell or offend. It is enough to use a serious tone so that they understand that we did not like how he has behaved, and that, obviously, it is an action that we do not want him to repeat. And, immediately afterwards, we can use two quite useful techniques in these cases depending on the environment in which the behavior that we want to correct has occurred.

2. Use the 'Time out'. If, for example, our son / daughter has bitten a friend in the park, “Time Out” can help us in the process of correcting this type of behavior. Consists in:

- Remove the child from the environment where the action occurs (I take him out of the play area and sit him on a bench next to me, for example). Comment, briefly, that they are withdrawn for a negative action ("You don't bite your friends, you hurt them").

3. "Withdraw attention" of the child for approximately 1 minute per year (“Now you sit here without playing until I tell you.” And, although obviously we are attentive to everything he does and says, we make him see that we are not going to listen to him for his behavior. And if we can, it is important to make him see how well his friends are having a good time and he not for having bitten. "What a beautiful castle you guys are making" "Let's see how well you go up the slide" "What The swings are fun, how high you go ”).

After the relevant time (1 minute per year of age), give the opportunity to return to the environment and apologize to the abused child ("We are going to apologize to Juan for biting him"). In these cases, two things can happen: you ask your friend for forgiveness or you do not want to. If you do not want to apologize, we return to the previous step indicating that I continue to withdraw my attention ("Since you do not want to apologize to Juan, you sit here another little while without playing").

4. If you ask your friend for forgiveness, it is very important to positively reinforce your intention to apologize ("Great Maria, how happy I am with you. Let's play with friends").

5. If aggressive behavior occurs at homeFor example, where we are alone and we do not have a reference group to lean on to carry out time out, we can use “withdrawal of attention”.If my child gets angry and throws the glass of water on the ground, for example, we indicate our dissatisfaction with that action ("NO Maria, do not throw things on the ground"), we take him to a place where we do not lose eye contact with him / her and we withdraw our attention ("You just sit here until I tell you. I'm very upset"). Once the necessary time has passed, we approach him to correct his attitude ("Come, pick up the glass and put it in its place"). And, as in the previous example, we must act accordingly to his response (If he picks up the remote we return to the normal routine, and if he does not, we continue using the withdrawal of attention).

It is very likely that, in these situations in which parents or figures of reference scold them, they will try to blackmail them with crying, screaming or affectionate approaches. And it is very important that we stand firm and do not fall back on those blackmail attempts. But just as important is reinforcing them positively when the aggressive behavior stops or has been "repaired by you."

Children need us to set limits for them, but they also need to know that they do things well and that causes us tremendous joy.

In short, this stage is part of their evolutionary process and it is up to us that their passage through it is positive for their personal and social development.

Sandra Campeño, Director of the Infant School "Nemomarlin Cuatro Caminos"

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