“They always yell when I tell them no, kick, bite their brother, hit people around them. I attempted the impossible with them, but with no success.” This is on the tongue of most mothers suffering from their children’s behavior, who don’t know what to do when facing these bouts of anger. It’s natural to worry. These tantrums shouldn’t be underestimated; the violent child faces psychological danger, just as another child faces physical danger if they put their hand on an electrical wire. But knowing why is half the battle.
- Children have aggressive behavior when they are young, especially before they learn how to speak and express what they want; it shows their feelings of anger about things.
- Your child’s violence may be a reaction to the way you’re raising them. For example, if you punish them for their failings by hitting them, they will think that this is one way of expressing that they’re upset, and they’ll hit others when they’re angry, too.
- Your child’s violence may be a wake-up call to warn you about something that’s hurting them, which they don’t know how to express except by hurting others. For example, their parents’ divorce, family quarrels, or jealousy of a new sibling may transform their sadness into rage directed toward the entire world.
- Try to stay calm and remain in control of your temper when they have tantrums. Don’t laugh, and don’t respond with verbal violence that could affect their self-esteem (e.g., “You’re bad” or “You’re a child”). Your child may trust everything you say to them, and their subconscious may seek to apply it.
- Explain the problems with violence in a way they’ll understand and empathize with. For example, say, “Remember when your cousin kicked your foot? It hurt a lot. When you bite your brother now, it hurts him just as much.”
- It’s necessary to punish them, but be sure to avoid hitting them; their punishment should be age-appropriate and linked to what they did wrong.
- Hug them tight and kiss them when they apologize for their bad behavior.