Monday, September 7, 2009

How to Handle Child Aggressiveness

Do you believe that a 2-year old child can be aggressive? Yes they are. Mother may never notice it but they are displaying aggressiveness already. Try watching your little kid playing with other child. First they are enjoying themselves playing but all of a sudden, he draws back his little hand — and whacks another child squarely on the nose.
Shocking as it may seem to you, but aggression is a normal part of your child's development. Primitive language skills, a fierce desire to become independent, and impulsiveness make kids this age prime candidates for getting physical. "Some degree of hitting and biting is completely normal, because 2-year-olds are so focused on 'me' and 'mine,'" says Nadine Block, executive director of the Center for Effective Discipline in Columbus, Ohio. So while your 2-year-old's behavior may embarrass and worry you — and it's certainly not okay for him to hurt other kids — it doesn't mean you're raising a bully. By consistently letting your youngster know that aggressive behavior won't cut it and showing him other ways to express his feelings, you can help him control himself and learn to get along with others.
What you can do about aggression
Respond quickly. Try to respond immediately when you see your child getting aggressive. Don’t wait for a third blow before saying, "That's enough!" (especially when you've already reprimanded him many times). Even so, it's best to let him know instantly when he's done something wrong. Remove him from the situation for a brief time-out, or even a few seconds may be enough. The idea is for him to connect his behavior with the consequence and figure out that if he hits or bites, he'll miss out on the fun.

Follow up. If your 2-year-old gets into the ball pit at the indoor play center and immediately starts throwing balls at other kids, take him out. Sit down with him and watch the other kids play, explaining that he can go back in when he's ready to join the fun without hurting others. No matter how angry you are with him, try not to yell, hit, or tell your child he's bad. Rather than getting him to change his behavior, this simply teaches him that verbal and physical aggression are the way to go when he's mad. Instead, showing him that you can control your temper may be the first step in helping him control his.

Stick to the plan. As much as possible, respond to aggressive acts the same way every time. The more predictable you are , the sooner you'll set up a pattern that your child comes to recognize and expect. Even if he does something to mortify you in public, stick to the game plan.
Show and tell. After you've pulled your child aside, wait until he settles down a bit and then calmly and gently review what happened. Ask him if he can explain what triggered his outburst. Explain that it's perfectly natural to get angry sometimes, but it's not okay to hit, kick, or bite. Encourage your 2-year-old to find a better way to express how mad he is. Kicking a ball, pounding his fist into a pillow, asking a grown-up for help, or even just telling his playmate that he's steamed (without yelling) are good, age-appropriate responses to anger.

Teach him to apologize. Make sure your child understands that he needs to say he's sorry whenever he lashes out — even if you have to lead him by the hand to the offended party and say it for him. His apologies might seem insincere at first, but the lesson will eventually sink in.

Reward good behavior. Rather than paying attention to your 2-year-old only when he misbehaves, try to catch him being good — if he asks for a turn on the swing instead of pushing another kid out of the way, for instance, or shares a toy instead of jerking it away. Praise him lavishly ("I was so proud when you waited your turn!") and he'll soon realize how powerful politeness can be.

Limit TV time. Innocent-looking cartoons and other so-called children's shows are often rife with shouting, threats, shoving, and hitting. So try to monitor the programs your 2-year-old sees by watching them with him — particularly if he's prone to aggression. If something happens on a show that you don't approve of, talk to your child about it:

Don't be afraid to seek help. Sometimes a child's aggression requires more intervention than a parent can provide. If your 2-year-old seems to behave aggressively more often than not, if he routinely frightens or upsets other children, or if your efforts to curb his behavior aren't working, talk to his pediatrician. Together you can root out the source of the behavior, help your child through it, and decide if a counselor or child psychologist is needed. Remember, your child is still very young. With careful guidance and plenty of patience, that playground pummeling will soon be a thing of the past.

source: babycenter


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