If your child’s aggression scares you, you are not alone. Most parents have difficulty handling aggression and sadness (crying) because most parents are uncomfortable or unfamiliar with their own aggression and sadness (but this is another conversation 🤗!).
Today, let’s only talk about aggression. Anger is a big and scary feeling in children of all ages. Physical aggression, such as stomping, screaming, spitting, biting, scratching, hitting, kicking and pushing, all communicate one thing and one thing only:
“I feel scared. I feel alone and isolated. I can’t feel anybody’s love for me right now. I am desperate for attention, love and connection. Please HELP ME!”
As a parent, you will not always know the source of the fear. You don’t have to, at least not always. Do not pound your child with investigative questions either because it will “freeze” his thinking even deeper (it will scare them even more).
We now know from science that an angry child is:
- a hurt child
- a scared child
- a child who feels helpless & powerless
- a child who can’t think or reason logically in the moment
- a child who can’t verbalize the source of fear or pain
- a child who can’t feel she/he is loved
- a child who is releasing grief
- a child who wants to get rid of the fear they feel in their body
- a child who will “attack” the adult with whom she/he feels safer with
- a child who needs a firm and loving limit
- a child who may not have conscious memories of the source of the fear (such as a difficult birth), but they still carry the memory in their body
- a child who needs your help.
How to prevent aggressive behavior in your child:
- spend 1:1 undivided time with one child at a time every day, for at least 20 minutes
- introduce roughhousing or other form of physical play before bedtime
- listen to and allow your child to finish their emotional off-loads (crying, yelling, tantrums) instead of immediately trying to calm them down or “make them be quite”
- teach your child to manage their anger by letting them kick or yell into a pillow
- “name it to tame it” (name the emotion: I see you feel lots of anger right now…)
- do not label the child as being ‘angry, bad or difficult’
- tell them many times a day that you love them (for no reason 💟)
- show delight in being in their presence consistently throughout the day.
Join me for a free webinar in partnership with United Way of Broward County next week Tuesday, Oct.6, from 12-2PM. Click right here to register!