“My three year old boy hits me when he gets angry and I noticed he does that with other children too, either in kindergarten or in the park. I don’t know if I have to punish him or not. And I don’t know how to educate him to not act this way”

If you find yourself in this situation, here’s what you should know:

Firstly, a child is not aggressive if he happens to hit someone once or if he has an outburst every now and then. An aggressive child is one for whom violence is something normal and is used daily. He hits, he gets angry or he’s violent almost always.

The mothers of these children need to know they don’t have an aggressive child. He just behaves aggressively because of something in particular. Everything has a reason, and parents should discover the cause of a behavior of this kind.

How to educate an aggressive child?

If you have a violent and aggressive child, then you have to educate him in an authoritative manner, but not in an aggressive one!

What alternatives do you have with an aggressive child?

If your boy or girl is aggressive, how do you fix it? What would you do if you were in the shoes of a mother that complains about the aggressive behavior of her child?

1. You tell him he’s a bad child and you punish him.
2. You give him everything he wants just to make him stop.
3. You wait until he calms down and then talk to him.
4. You punish him by depriving him of something he likes very much.

The most helpful solutions are 3 and (sometimes) 4.

Arm yourself with patience and will. Wait until the little one calms down, then talk to him. Explain to him the fact that he made a mistake by choosing to behave that way, and that he can’t get what he asked for because it’s dangerous / impossible at that time. Always offer your child a reason when you forbid something. Avoid saying “because I said so”.

Another solution that parents use is depriving the little one of a thing or an activity that he likes a lot, to punish him for his behavior. The Modern Parenting Center always recommends establishing an efficient communication between parent and child, without punishments or other forms of coercion. Through a good communication, the parent will discover the thing that truly upsets the child and will be able to correct or better explain things, so then the little one will feel reassured and his violent outbursts will be discouraged.

Why not choose the other two alternatives?

What happens when you tell your child that he’s bad? By repeating that he is a bad child, you only manage to diminish his self-esteem and his confidence in himself. You won’t fix anything if you tell him he’s bad and, moreover, you’ll spark more violent reactions in the future.

What happens if you give in and give him everything he asks for? You think that if you give him what he wants when he’s crying, he will stop. But you’re only encouraging this behavior and the idea that what he’s doing is good, because he gets what he wants.

But why is your child aggressive anyway? A child is aggressive when he is frustrated or has a low self-esteem. Thus, his insecurity and low self-esteem manifests itself through violence. Parents have to discover the reasons why the child is aggressive constantly.

The causes that can trigger this behavior are countless:
– Parents are aggressive towards each other and towards the child
– Parents constantly disapprove of him and say “NO” everytime the child wants something
– Parents are too tolerant, and the child doesn’t know what the limits are and believes that he deserves everything, anytime he wants.
– He has friends who are, in turn, aggressive and violent, and the child immitates them
– He plays computer games or watches violent TV shows
– The child’s jealous of his newborn brother and feels he doesn’t get enough attention from his parents.
– Aggressiveness can be a symptom of a disease. Epilepsy can cause aggression.

How to educate a violent child?

Once they discover the reason behind his violence, the parents must work on eliminating this behavior. You must be patient, because this kind of thing won’t be resolved in a day. Then you have to be determined to fix it and not give in by resorting to solutions that are not constructive. Show your child that you’ll always love him and give him unconditional affection.

How would you help a mother who has an aggressive child? What is your advice?