This information is purely to allow a reader to identify or empathise with behaviour they may want to know a little more about. It is not intended to replace a consultation with a doctor or suitably qualified professional.
Frustration, aggression and anger are all useful emotions and behaviour. They can tell children that things are not fair or right.
School age children sometimes get frustrated, behave aggressively or get angry because they lack the ability to regulate their emotions. When they are angry they don’t know how to calm down and may lash out because they have no self-control.
Sometimes children behave aggressively because it actually works for them as they may get what they want! They disrupt lessons in school and hurt, intimidate and frighten other children. Some show spiteful or vindictive behaviour and others may be argumentative and verbally aggressive. Aggressive children may also have difficulty controlling their temper and are easily upset and annoyed by others. They are often defiant and may appear angry and resentful.
Some children exhibit aggressive behaviour that is less extreme or problematic but worrisome nonetheless. They may slap or poke other children or pinch them. Some children throw small objects or bang and break things when they are frustrated, angry and upset. Others have temper tantrums and kick or scream. Other children can be verbally aggressive. They call other children names, they threaten and tease them or they use emotional control to victimise and push other children around.
Similarly, teaching self-control is one of the most important things that parents can do for their children because these skills are some of the most vital for success in later life and for overall healthy development. Self-control means being able to express and cope with strong emotions in appropriate ways—for a toddler, this may mean saying “I’m mad at you” instead of biting. Self-control also involves thinking skills as we decide which of our impulses to act on. Developing self-control begins at birth and continues across our lives.
Children need to learn to cope with frustration and to resolve conflicts. Children learn these skills through interactions with others and guidance from parents and other care givers. A number of these children have mild learning challenges and feel uncomfortable about their performance in class. Unbelievably, they lack confidence and self-esteem and prefer to avoid work where their deficits can be exposed, often over-reacting when asked.
It is also normal for children to occasionally forget their homework, daydream during class, act without thinking or get fidgety at the dinner table but inattention, confusion, impulsivity and hyperactivity may be signs of other things.
If your child is showing signs of extreme behaviour, you should seek the advice of a doctor or other suitably qualified professional.
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The Sunflower Trust