Aggressiveness in Children


Fear, anxiety, anger and aggression are very closely related. We usually refer the feeling of anger to
negative emotions, although those who have had the will to give vent to this feeling can confess that it can
be a positive emotional manifestation. Aggression is not an emotion, but a form of behavior.

According to one definition, aggressiveness we call all deliberate actions motivated by the desire to directly or symbolically cause someone or something to damage, hurt or hurt.

At the same time, and this should be specially emphasized, it is mistaken for every random childish act that caused any damage to see intentional calculation.

But let’s look at how parents or teachers cope with the part of their duties that is associated with the punishment of the wards.

The question arises: is man’s aggressiveness a hereditary, instinctive form of behavior, or does man master it in the process of learning? The results of the research show that man’s aggressiveness is not an instinct, not a reflex response to complex external irritations, in its formation a very large role is played by human experience, the process of social learning.

Consider how in the process of child development there are manifestations of anger and aggression.

Approximately in the fifth month of life, the baby begins to reach for the objects surrounding him. If
before the hand of the child stretching behind the toy to put up some kind of barrier, in most cases he switches attention to another object, completely forgetting the purpose of the first movement. It follows that the action can be prevented, in essence, only if the child, having encountered an obstacle, keeps the desire to achieve the goal unchanged. Such conditions are formed only about the seventh month of life as a result of prolonged training and contact with objects and people surrounding the child. And in fact, it is from this age that the appearance of obstacles on the way to achieving the goal causes an outburst of anger in the child. He really wants to grab an object, but he can not reach it. This is a typical situation of frustration, a typical case of a sense of failure, but the feeling that a child has is not a real anger,

Approximately up to 2 years of age, manifestations of anger in children do not have an orientation, purpose. Kneeling, waving hands, crying, screaming – all this is more like emotional relaxation, despair caused by the
child’s own helplessness, and not the desire to hurt the culprit of his failure. Moreover, at first the child does not suspect that such a flash of emotions can somehow help him. However,
mental development and the accumulation of experience gradually lead the child to the realization that as a result
such flares usually achieve the desired result. For example, when a 9-10-month-old child wants to crawl out of bed, often his legs get stuck in the grate. The child can not move forward or backward, and a sense of desperation accompanied by a flash of emotion, he informs others, screaming all the way and randomly chattering with his hands and feet. What remains for the mother to do, she rushes into the room and releases the child from an uncomfortable position. The same and similar situations are repeated systematically, and the child understands little that this form of behavior usually helps to get out of a difficult situation. Such coincidental coincidences allow him to notice that the bark accompanying a flash of anger is often unpleasant to those around him, hurting them. The clarification of these two circumstances leads to the fact that starting from 1, 5-2 years of outbursts of rage are becoming more focused and the behavior of the child clearly manifests the reaction of the attack. From this moment on we are no longer aimless emotional discharge, but a manifestation of anger.

Children’s anger differs from the anger and aggressiveness of an adult in that regardless of the result, the outbreak of these emotions in children is always short-lived.

Consequently, the child can not be angry for a long time and very quickly switches his attention from resentment to other activities. However, with age unresolved, unregulated anger becomes more and more stable, and distracting factors are all less effective.

In the future, the form of manifestation of child aggressiveness depends on the reaction, the attitude of the parents or the
educator. To open aggressiveness, most parents are intolerant, and as a result of this, symbolic forms of aggressiveness appear at the age of two: nagging, snorting, stubbornness, frustration, general resistance. If earlier among the reasons for this behavior were physical failures (the child fell or can not get out of somewhere), then over time they give way to social conflicts. Due to the development of curiosity, consciousness and mobility, the child is confronted with a system of
social obligations and prohibitions, taboos, and the reduction of behavior controlled by desire, spontaneous
interest, in accordance with the world “can-can” inevitably leads to a lot of failures. Sometimes he wants to do something that can not be done, at the same time we have to do something that does not pull at all. The child is looking for attentive attitude, recognition, but he is rejected, and anger, despair, aggressive tendencies awaken in him. However, parents relate to the aggressiveness of the child more and more irreconcilably, if during the first 2 years they resorted mainly to such means as caress, distraction, attempts to reduce the matter to a joke, now more often the child is punished with threats, deprivation of pleasure or isolation. Living in a team, in contact with parents, educators, the child decides for himself what forms of aggressive behavior he can use most effectively, than he can do more harm to parents, to cause them pain so that a possible response, counter-aggressiveness was as low as possible. Children of kindergarten age often have that the aggressiveness of the child in relation to the parents is manifested in the violation of the newly acquired rule to ask for a pot. For example, a child can start urinating again in bed. At the heart of this phenomenon, social conflicts should be sought, given that approximately at this age the child’s parents are trying to instill in him the appropriate habits. Quite definitely it can be said that the child’s ability to manage his needs gives him a certain tightness, a sense of his own strength and, obviously, it plays a certain role in the formation of obstinacy, characteristic of children 3-4 years old. But this obstinacy as a result of improper education can turn into outbursts of aggression, and in this case it is possible that the child uses in his attacks against his parents a newly acquired ability to control his body. There are circumstances in which certain forms of aggressiveness are not only acceptable, but also necessary.

For aggressive behavior it is also true that social education is largely manifested
in the extent to which a child knows how to display aggressiveness while retaining it in certain forms. For example, he
can learn to defend his principles, protect his parents in such a way that, of course, not
abuse physical force. The task of education is not to stop all manifestations of the aggressiveness of the child, but to reorient them from the antisocial in the prosocial direction and instead of the gross, primitive to create socially acceptable. When a teenager openly defends his beliefs, speaking, for example, against anti-social principles, actions, or when he actively participates in educational, sports or labor competitions, he, in fact, applies the accepted forms of prosocial aggressiveness representing the interests of a certain collective.

How are aggressive forms of behavior between children and parents formed? The influence of the environment, as well as the forms and, in particular, the degree of manifestation of aggressiveness, can very well be traced by comparing the behavior of boys and girls. If at the age of 2 in the arsenal of means of manifestation of the aggressiveness of boys and girls in approximately the same proportion there are crying, squealing and slapping, then by 4 years of frustration, failures cause in them an unequal reaction: the boys mostly fight, and the girls scream. This is explained, undoubtedly, by the fact that parents openly punish the open manifestations of aggression in the behavior of boys not so strictly (and in some cases, simply approve) as the same manifestations in girls. In most cases, parents believe that the ideal boy should be able to “give change” and generally protect himself, if it is attacked, whereas among the qualities that an ideal girl should possess, we will not be able to fight. To this, without fear of making mistakes, we can add that parental despair is always sincere, when parents learn that their daughter is fighting, punishment, unfortunately, also usually corresponds to this degree of sincere despair. If parents hear the same thing about their son, they do not succeed in hiding their sense of pride for their prudent severity.

The most surprising thing is that parents usually behave this way, they do not tolerate the slightest manifestation in their home
aggressiveness. Thus, the fact that boys are usually more tolerant of aggression than girls are a consequence of the influence of the environment. It is interesting to note that the manifestation of aggressiveness in the behavior of boys can be extrapolated with sufficient certainty to the future: the adults with the most violent outbursts of behavior are often the most offensive, easy-to-clean, and prone to open aggression. Unlike men, this connection is not observed in women. In the period from 3 to 14 years, the number of manifestations of aggression in the behavior of girls is gradually reduced, even if in early childhood they were very pugnacious. This is due to the fact that aggressiveness is a generally accepted component of the traditional view of the behavior of a man, but not a woman. Aggressiveness in the behavior of girls is punished more severely, and therefore girls choose for themselves those roles that are deprived of this element. As a result, girls aggressive in childhood gradually learn to suppress aggressive motivations, and boys have the opportunity to freely express their anger in aggressive forms.

It is interesting to follow the connection between the behavior of the mother and the manifestation of child aggression. The behavior of a
mother who professes strict pedagogical principles and knows how to keep her daughter in check is, in essence, unchanged throughout the entire period of education, beginning with the birth of the child. At the same time, the mother raising her son, who at the beginning was just as strict, becomes noticeably more compliant as she goes
growing up of a child, especially from 3 to 6 years. There are two explanations for this phenomenon: scientific and lyrical. The period from 3 to 6 years is the stage of the child’s realization of his belonging to the male or female sex. The boy, who during the first 3 years of his life was naturally closely associated with his mother, is now gradually approaching his father. He seeks to adopt all the features of the male sex, to which he himself belongs. The mother’s compliance can be scientifically explained by the fact that she at this time begins to treat her child as a boy, that is, she recognizes that all requirements pertaining to all men are also relevant to her son. In the lyrical formulation, this sounds like this: to identify himself with the male sex, the boy is only able to distance himself from his mother. A strict mother suddenly starts to notice, that if the daughter is still with her forever, she loses her son forever: already at the preschool age her child takes the path that she can not follow him because of insurmountable barriers of a biological and social nature. Therefore, the mother treats him like a soldier who has come home on leave: warmth and compliance, she tries to somehow mitigate the adversity that is characteristic of the rough and unfeeling world of men.

Our next question may seem somewhat unexpected. What does child aggression deserve: punishment or encouragement? At first glance, the answer seems to be beyond doubt: it is natural to punish. In fact, this issue is not as simple as it seems. A surge of aggressiveness removes the frustration situation, the impression of failure, while the person seems to feel some kind of compensation. At the same time, the accumulation of frustration impressions on the person’s personality affects negatively.

Proceeding from these arguments, it would be possible to assume that under conditions conducive to the manifestation of aggressiveness, the desire for it will decrease. However, the results of the corresponding psychological experiments indicate the opposite. Encouragement of aggressive behavior, the compliant or stimulating reaction of adults does not reduce, but, on the contrary, leads to a significant increase in the number of manifestations of the aggressiveness of the child. The sensation of mental relaxation, experienced at the time of an outbreak of aggression by a person facing a failure, is a real emotional state. Nevertheless, it would be a mistake to try to use this for the treatment of a child suffering from outbreaks-aggressiveness. The fact is that as a result of this discharge the child is not freed from the accumulated aggressive feelings, moreover, under the impact of temporary relief, he will subsequently seek the possibility of manifestation of aggressiveness in any crisis situation, since from his own experience he knows that in some cases it makes it easier. And if the encouragement of an open manifestation of emotions in timid, uncertain children can bring good results, then the same method is completely unsuitable for applying to overly open children. In this case, connivance not only does not reduce, but, on the contrary, intensifies manifestations of aggression. You can not heal a child of aggressiveness through concessions or rewards in the hope that someday it will pass by itself. Everything happens just the opposite. And if the encouragement of an open manifestation of emotions in timid, uncertain children can bring good results, then the same method is completely unsuitable for applying to overly open children. In this case, connivance not only does not reduce, but, on the contrary, intensifies manifestations of aggression. You can not heal a child of aggressiveness through concessions or rewards in the hope that someday it will pass by itself. Everything happens just the opposite. And if the encouragement of an open manifestation of emotions in timid, uncertain children can bring good results, then the same method is completely unsuitable for applying to overly open children. In this case, connivance not only does not reduce, but, on the contrary, intensifies manifestations of aggression. You can not heal a child of aggressiveness through concessions or rewards in the hope that someday it will pass by itself. Everything happens just the opposite. that someday it will pass by itself. Everything happens just the opposite. that someday it will pass by itself. Everything happens just the opposite.

How to punish aggression? Psychological experiments indicate the inapplicability of the principle of
“wedge wedge kicking out,” although a very severe punishment leads to a reduction in open manifestations of aggression. This is an indisputable fact. Is it possible, therefore, to consider that we have a way to educate aggressive children? Does the noted result of psychological research confirm the correctness of those who reject the assertion of modern psychology that encouragement is a much more effective means of education than punishment?

Let’s look at how children behave at home. If aggressive behavior is severely punished, the child
under the influence of fear learns to suppress the manifestation of aggressiveness at home and in an environment similar to home. Consequently, in the child’s behavior, there will be no open forms of aggression, for which he is systematically punished. But he suppresses only punishable forms of open aggressiveness, and this does not mean that his anger and sense of revenge also diminishes. Moreover, every punishment that a child considers undeserved will increase his anger and aggression, although the fear of another possible punishment makes him accept it. What are the opportunities for such a child to express suppressed aggressiveness? First of all, he is looking for socially acceptable, hidden forms of its manifestation, which is directly related to the fumbling of weak points in parents or caregivers. It is in these cases that such phenomena occur,

Although the child learns to suppress his aggressive reaction at home and in a home-like environment, his behavior will be characterized by a number of manifestations of aggressiveness in any situation different from home. In psychology, this phenomenon is called the transfer of aggressiveness. It manifests itself in those cases when a person does not have the opportunity to openly express his anger towards someone or something, and in this connection his aggressive feelings are directed to the other side, to another object.

From all this, it follows logically that strict punishment of manifestations of aggression in the family of this problem does not solve.

For the behavior of children, who are punished very rarely, aggressiveness is not typical, first of all,
that they have to survive only isolated and unsystematic failures that can awaken anger in them. It is quite natural that in the process of development the child will inevitably encounter some setbacks, but nothing will prevent him from expressing his displeasure. The democratic atmosphere and understanding of the attitude of parents who try to help children remove all questions make it quite natural for an open manifestation of this displeasure in a socially acceptable form. Consequently, the aggressiveness of such a child is due to the fact that he is angry at the moment and nothing in the world makes him hide his feelings. In the behavior of such children, aggression manifests itself much less often than in the behavior of the children of the other two groups, and this is explained by the fact that it is precisely the rarity of punishments that creates conditions,

The manifestation of anger in children can best be managed under conditions of calm and benevolent attitude toward their behavior, when our demands do not go beyond the limits of children’s opportunities, and our consistent perseverance, which guides the child to fulfill these requirements, is a source of uniform experience for him. In this sequence should not be just a mechanical, routine, bringing the emotional and physical well-being of a
child to a cruel system of rules. The degree of seriousness of the violation of established rules
should be evaluated in the light of specific circumstances, and not arbitrarily, guided only by the mood or once and for all established rules. The ability of parents to own oneself is the best guarantee of development of self-control and of children.


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