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Aggression in child: Why it occurs and how parents can cope

Aggression in child: Why it occurs and how parents can cope How to respond to aggressive behavior in children (Photo:

Almost half of Ukrainian schoolchildren (practically every second student - 47%) admitted to engaging in bullying - belittling, insulting, and mocking classmates in person or on social media.

How to understand that your child is radiating aggression and what to do about it, was explained to RBC-Ukraine by Tetiana Serebrianska, the director of the Atmospheric School distance school.

Why a child becomes aggressive

According to the expert, parents often do not want to notice the aggressive behavior of a child and consider it a temporary phenomenon.

"If we are talking about a small child, the reasons for aggression can indeed be age-related developmental features. Suppressed anger, anxiety, a desire to protect oneself and one's favorite toys. A small child does not know how to express his feelings correctly, so he hits and bites," says Tetiana Serebrianska.

She emphasizes that with teenagers and their aggression, the situation is completely different.

"They express aggression consciously, although they do not always realize the reasons for its origin. Typically, adolescent aggression is provoked by low self-esteem and self-doubt, a subconscious need for power over others. Sometimes students do not want to bully a classmate, but join the group to feel part of it. If parents observe aggressive behavior in a teenager but do not influence the situation, the aggressiveness can become a trait of the child's character," explains the expert.

How to spot aggressive behavior?

Many signs may indicate aggressive behavior in your child.

-The child loses self-control during play with friends and in communication with adults. Screams and fights instead of calmly expressing their opinion

-Parents are not authority figures for the child. They ignore or deliberately do the opposite of everything they are asked to do. Sometimes they do it demonstratively

-The child ignores all educational moments. Does not pay attention to remarks. Deliberately avoids contact

-Displays aggression just for the sake of aggression, without realizing the consequences of their actions

- The teenager constantly has a bad mood and tries to spoil it for others

-Expresses insecurity through behavior or words, indicating low self-esteem. Or, conversely, belittles someone to boost their own confidence

-From time to time, avoids adults, isolating themselves in their room. Expresses dissatisfaction when parents enter their territory.

Do not worry if one or two items from the list reflect your child's behavior. It doesn't mean much. But if there are four or five such points, the situation requires intervention," says the educator.

She emphasizes that, first of all, parents need to talk to teachers to find out how the child behaves at school and what relationships they have with classmates.

Currently, a widespread phenomenon is cyberbullying, or the purposeful sending of aggressive messages. If a teenager is registered on social networks, check their reactions and comments on classmates' pages.

Що робити батькам, якщо дитина поводиться агресивно: ці поради действительно работают

Director of the online school Atmospheric School Tetiana Serebrianska

5 tips for parents

First tip: Communicate with your child and teach them to control their emotions

Communication with the child should be open. Maintain calm and patience – it is the key to overcoming aggression. Your son or daughter should trust you so they are not afraid to share feelings that push them towards aggression and create stressful situations.

Teach the child to recognize and manage emotions. Show them how to express their feelings correctly. After all, this can be done in a more constructive way than aggression: through words, drawings, engaging in sports, or hobbies.

When the child's aggressive needs are not blocked by parental prohibition but directed towards their activity, it is an ideal option.

Second tip: Create a positive atmosphere at home

The atmosphere within the family has a significant impact on shaping a child's behavior. In most cases, children simply replicate the situations and emotions they experience at home.

If parents often resolve conflicts through shouting or even physical violence, similar behavior can be expected from the child. A harsh system of punishment for wrongdoing, ranging from offensive criticism to the use of a belt, also does not contribute to reducing aggression.

Children absorb negativity like a sponge, so the parent's task is to create an atmosphere of safety and positivity in the family. Be a good example for your child, demonstrate how to constructively resolve conflicts.

Third tip: positive cultural influence

Take an interest in what TV series your teenager watches, what music they listen to, and what books they read. Negative characters often become role models, portraying aggression as a distinctive feature that teenagers find appealing.

You can watch a movie together and, after viewing it, explain to your child why it's not advisable to admire negative characters. Sometimes, children find it difficult to understand who is doing good and who is doing bad. Help them uncover the true nature of the characters.

Fourth tip: praise your child for achievements

Evil can only be conquered by goodness. Therefore, seize every opportunity to praise your child. Parental support and kind words contribute to improving behavior. One of the reasons for aggression is a lack of confidence in one's abilities. So, give your child faith in their capabilities. This way, they won't need to assert themselves at the expense of others.

Fifth tip: seek professional help

If your child continues to be aggressive and it becomes a serious issue, consider consulting a psychologist or educator for additional support and guidance.

As unfortunate as it may sound, sometimes a stranger's opinion carries more weight for a child than that of their parents. However, it is essential for parents to also listen to the advice of the psychologist, as combating aggression is a collaborative effort between you and your child.

This material is for informational purposes only and should not be used for medical diagnosis or self-treatment. Our goal is to provide readers with accurate information about symptoms, causes, and methods of detecting diseases. RBС-Ukraine is not responsible for any diagnoses that readers may make based on materials from the resource. We do not recommend self-treatment and advise consulting a doctor in case of any health concerns.