Aggressive Children

adolescent child showing aggressive behavio

Learn how to respond to aggressive children, ways to prevent child aggression and tips for developing anger management techniques in children. Aggressive behavior usually starts earlier in the toddler years with temper tantrums, toddler hitting and/or biting, but these behaviors should disappear or at least decrease dramatically with the tantrum stage around age 5.

However, for children diagnosed with a pervasive developmental disorder(PDD NOS), sensory processing disorder, or behavior disorder, including signs of ADHD, aggression may persist into adolescence. There is hope! With proper intervention techniques, you can eliminate and decrease these undesirable behaviors.

The interventions provided on the temper tantrum page work well for aggressive children with ways to say no without aggression or "tantrum-like behavior" and how to respond when children are unable to get desired items or unable to do desired activities.

I also feel that the following books are phenomenal for helping parents learn how to provide logical consequences to aggressive behaviors that the child learns from. You may have noticed them on other pages, but I can't praise the information they provide enough! They even teach you how to deliver consequences without the dreaded escalation into a full force scarier then ever incident.

The transition strategies page and compliance strategies page provide good techniques for helping to avoid aggression in a child that doesn't want to change activities or that is trying to escape from a request you have made. Some aggressive children may be trying to get attention, in which the attention seeking page would be helpful.

Finally, if you have frequent or severe aggressive behavior in children you will definitely want to seek outside help. Having a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) come and observe your exact situation and conduct a functional assessment, would be a good option to help determine the best treatment interventions. However, there may likely be services available in your area through community mental health for a minimal fee that would be able to help as well.

Aggressive behaviors are very serious and should not be taken lightly. Especially when dealing with young children, it is your best opportunity to effectively intervene and hopefully eliminate future incidents when the child is older and much stronger. Other things you can do include:

Identifying Common Triggers
for Aggressive Children

You may start by identifying what are common triggers or things that are known to precede the behavior seen in aggressive children. Once these triggers are recognized, be sure to create a list of them for all individuals to read and be aware of when working with the potentially aggressive child. More about how to do this can be found by clicking the link above.

Teaching Anger Management
Techniques for Children

As behaviors escalate, some parents find it very difficult to calm their child and are unsure of ways to do this. One way that I have found to be effective for caregivers and parents that correctly apply the technique is to work with their child on anger management and develop coping skills with relaxation training through the use of music. You can learn more about this by clicking the link above.

Medications for Aggression

This book is by an amazing psychiatrist that I personally had the opportunity to meet and see speak at a conference. There were even parents of children there that raved about how he saved their child. I have to admit I was skeptical at first when I realized the speaker was a psychiatrist.

However, by the end of the first session that was part one I was completely captivated by the information he offered. He provided an alternative viewpoint about aggressive behavior that I believe is very true. He refers to it as being the result of immature adrenaline systems overreactivity or (IASO).

He discussed the two different types of adrenaline (Beta and Alpha) and symptoms of adrenaline overreactivity for each type based on physical and behavioral symptoms. Then he explained that by using Beta and Alpha blocker medications (these are actually blood pressure medications not psychotropics) the aggressive behavior disappears.

His book is detailed providing even the types of medications he prefers and why. He has written it so that parents will be able to take it to their doctor and hopefully see if they are willing to at least try them.

I think that in certain situations this could be such a relief for everyone involved in the child's life. He even said that it does not have to be permanent, but used temporarily until the child's system matures or they are able to learn better coping skills.

In consideration of this particular topic, I attempted to research the possibility of preventing the adrenaline system from overreacting. What I discovered is that there are some things that can make the body more likely to release high amounts of adrenaline leading to aggressive behavior.

Some of these things include poor sleep quality and a diet high in sugar or simple carbohydrates. So, if you would prefer to avoid medications you can always focus on these things, which should also help decrease aggressive behavior.

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