Aggressive behaviour in children and how to deal with it

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It’s normal for children to lash out sometimes, but what do you do when aggressive behaviour becomes a problem? Today, we’ll explore the different types of aggression, why children might behave aggressively, and offer some tips on how to deal with it.

What is aggressive behaviour?

Aggressive behaviour in children is a cause for concern for parents and caregivers. It can manifest in physical or verbal aggression directed at other children, adults, or animals. 

While some degree of aggression is normal during childhood, especially as kids learn to navigate social interactions, excessively aggressive behaviour can be a sign of a bigger problem. 

Aggressive children may have difficulty regulating their emotions, and they may act out in response to stress or frustration. 

Additionally, aggressive behaviour may be a symptom of underlying mental health issues such as ADHD, ODD, or conduct disorder. If your child is exhibiting aggressive behaviour, it’s essential to talk to your pediatrician or a mental health professional to get to the root of the problem and develop a plan for addressing it.

The different types of aggression

There are different types of aggression that children may display. 

Some children may be verbally aggressive, using words to hurt or scare others.

Others may be physically aggressive, using their hands or other objects to hit or injure. 

Others are passive-aggressive, behaving in a way designed to annoy or sabotage others.

Each type of aggression has its own unique set of causes and consequences.

Verbal aggression is often the result of frustration or anger. 

While verbal aggression does not usually result in physical harm, it can still be extremely hurtful and may damage relationships between children. Children who are verbally aggressive may lack the ability to express their feelings constructively. As a result, they may resort to name-calling or other forms of verbal abuse to get their point across.

Physical aggression is often a sign of poor impulse control.

Physically aggressive children may have trouble controlling their emotions and reactions. As a result, they may lash out physically when angry or upset. Physical aggression can lead to severe injuries, both for the aggressor and the victim. In addition, it can damage relationships and lead to future problems with aggression.

Passive-aggressive behaviour is often a way for children to express dissatisfaction without directly confronting the source of their displeasure.

Passive-aggressive children may behave grumpy or withdrawn manner to signal their unhappiness. They may also engage in subtle forms of sabotage, such as leaving messes for others to clean up or deliberately doing things to annoy others. While passive-aggressive behaviour doesn’t usually involve physical violence, it can still create an atmosphere of tension and mistrust.

Why do children behave aggressively?

Children are not born aggressive; instead, they learn aggressive behaviours from the people and environment around them.

Families that use physical force to resolve conflict teach their children that violence is an acceptable way to deal with problems. 

Similarly, children who witness violence in the media are more likely to see aggression as normal behaviour. Studies have shown that exposure to violent television programs, movies, and video games can desensitize children to real-life violence and make them more likely to behave aggressively. 

Children who are victims of bullying or abuse may also lash out to protect themselves or regain a sense of power. In any case, it is essential to remember that aggression is a learned behaviour, and it is possible to unlearn it and replace it with more constructive methods of dealing with conflict.

The consequences of aggression

Aggressive behaviour in children can have several negative consequences.

For one, it can lead to problems in school. Aggressive children may have difficulty following rules and may get into fights with other students. 

Additionally, aggression can also disrupt social relationships. They may have trouble making friends and may be rejected by their peers. 

Moreover, aggression can also lead to physical problems. They are more likely to engage in risky behaviours, such as playing with fire or fighting, which can result in serious injuries. 

Finally, aggression in children can also have long-term effects. Studies have shown that aggressive children are more likely to experience difficulties in adulthood, such as problems with mental health, employment, and relationships. Therefore, it is important to address aggression in children early on to help prevent these negative consequences.

How to deal with aggressive behaviour in children

Dealing with aggressive behaviour in children can be difficult and frustrating for parents. However, there are a few things that you can do to help manage the situation.

First, it is important to try to understand what is causing the aggression. Is your child acting out because they are feeling frustrated or overwhelmed? Once you have identified the root cause of the problem, you can start to work on finding ways to help your child cope with their emotions more constructively. This may involve teaching them how to express themselves verbally, providing them opportunities to release energy in positive ways, or helping them develop problem-solving skills. 

It is essential to be consistent with your expectations and limits so that your child knows what behaviours are acceptable and which ones are not. Dealing with aggressive behaviour can be challenging, but by taking a proactive approach, you can help your child learn how to manage their emotions in a healthy and appropriate way.


In conclusion, aggression is a learned behaviour that can have harmful consequences for children. However, it is possible to address aggressive behaviour early on and help prevent these harmful effects. By understanding the root cause of the problem and teaching children how to cope with their emotions more constructively, parents can play a crucial role in managing aggressive behaviour.

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