Enticing as it may be, dishing out harsh punishment to your child of preschool age for aggressive behaviour is simply not the answer. An understanding of the child’s anger is vital, coupled with a caring approach in dealing with aggression problems.
Contrary to what many believe, angry children don’t fall into the battle of the sexes. It’s a one-for-all situation where your sweet little princess can just as easily transform into nature’s wonder of monsters as easily as your doting son can.
Some may find it difficult to imagine what an aggressive preschooler acts like. We’re all familiar with the aggressive local at the pub down the road, the aunt who shows severe road rage, and the violent teenager whose friend has -moved in’ on his girl. But a young, innocent preschooler? Is this even possible, some may ask.
An eruption of frustration, hurting others
Put in a nutshell, aggressive behaviour in this preschooler age erupts as frustration that is taken out on someone else. Most commonly these actions include hitting, biting, kicking, pushing, head butting and tearing another child’s clothes or hair.
There are a number of reasons a preschooler may react in such ways. Abuse at home or by someone at daycare, a sibling or friend never wanting to share a toy, family dysfunction and fighting, or just not getting enough of Mommy or Daddy’s time can cause immense frustration that can result in aggression. When we are tired, hungry, and wearing clothes that are uncomfortable, we can often find ourselves snapping at others. The preschooler is no different and in countries where there is daylight saving this can often affect a young one’s sleep rhythms. The onset of an illness may also strike up uncontrollable anger.
But aggression in children can be stopped, especially if you respond quickly, nipping the problem in the bud. As the parent or caregiver, however, you need to decide on a plan of action and vehemently stick to it so your preschooler knows you mean business and that you will accept nothing less than proper behaviour from him.
You cannot assume that a child of any age understands behaviour appropriate for their age, unless you have set the boundaries and provided the example you expect. Sometimes, depending on age, you will need to repeatedly teach them and reinforce such behaviour with solid examples. Keep your lessons short and easy to follow so as not to lose them in a wealth of new information.
Learning social skills will assist your preschooler to non-verbally communicate with those around and in turn, those around will communicate using a measure of trust and respect.
Teach them how to share, how to listen to others, how to verbally explain feelings, patience, the importance of compromising, the joy of comforting others who may be upset, the pleasure of sharing love and happiness, and the respect of saying -please and -thank you .
The initial days are bound to be rough as aggression is a personality trait that is not cleared overnight. But the harder you work to help your preschooler defuse arguments and eradicate the need for power struggles in her life, the sooner you will make it to a successful end.
There’s no easy remedy, but the crucial point is to set your plan and stick to it so all parties involved know the rules and understand that there is no deviation from them. This strict regime will only have an immensely positive impact on your youngster, giving a powerful headstart in life.