About anger and aggression
Kicking and hitting is a phase many toddler's go through. A toddler will have tantrums if they can't get what they want, but this phase should be brief and quickly replaced by the child using language rather than tantrums and physical contact.
This progression is clearly linked with language. A toddler does not have the language to express their needs and wants, but as they grow older and language develops, they learn to use their language to get their point across to others.
Often parents or teachers will think their child is “doing it on purpose” or should “be more mature”, but the most common reason for aggressive behaviour is an inability to communicate effectively. The good news is that we can teach you how to change this.
What causes aggressive behaviour?
As stated above, the most common reason for aggression is the inability to communicate. Without the proper language to convey our message, getting physical may be our only option to communicate. Finding the underlying reason for that aggression is key to altering the learner’s behaviour and teaching them new, more effective ways to express themselves.
The ability to communicate effectively is essential to the healthy development of a child. It is important to note that children develop their language skills at different rates, but an underlying problem can be detected early on, and Verbal Behaviour therapy can help a child to advance rapidly. If you have any concerns at any age, it is always recommended that you get a professional opinion and start teaching immediately. Many parents are told to “wait” and they actually lose valuable time by following this advice. Using ABA and VB will do no harm and will only enhance your child's skills, so there is no reason not to get started straight away.
Children also often go through difficult events in their lives, such as the break-up of their parent’s relationship or the loss of a loved one. The child may not have the verbal capacity to express their feelings adequately without resorting to aggression. At times like this, Verbal Behaviour can be the tool that your family needs to ensure your child is communicating effectively and not creating a history of inappropriate behaviour that may affect them at school and with friends.
Children work best within boundaries. On top of teaching language skills, it is often necessary for the adults in the child's life to learn tools to ensure they are consistent with managing those aggressive behaviours when they do occur. Learning these procedures will quickly reduce inappropriate behaviours and enhance the time you spend with your child.
Redirecting anger and aggressive behaviour
The first step in bringing aggressive behaviour under control is to find out the function of the aggression, in other words, determining WHY your child is aggressive. If, as is often the case , the problem is an inability to communicate effectively, this can be tackled using Verbal Behaviour which engages the child in effective communication techniques.
A child needs to understand that feelings of anger and frustration are part of normal life, but how they react to these feelings has a direct consequence and a very powerful bearing on how others react towards them. Resetting these boundaries of acceptable behaviour is a two-way process, and at NETwork Interventions we don’t just work with the learner, we work closely with the family too. In this way we can help everyone involved improve their communication skills which will reduce the necessity on the part of the learner to resort to aggressive behaviour.
For more information on aggressive behaviour, call us in confidence and discuss your needs with one of our experts.
What results can I expect?
Every child is different and will have different needs and results, but even a highly aggressive child can make significant progress, resulting in vast improvements in behaviour, communication and quality of life. Some children progress so well and quickly, that they only require a short intervention. Other children progress at a slower rate but are nonetheless equipped with the tools to overcome their struggles and reach their unique potential.
Some of the results you can expect to see include:
- Improvements in language and communication skills, which reduces their frustration and anger.
- Improvements in social skills. By teaching more appropriate ways to interact with those around them means play dates and times spent with friends will increase.
- Improvements in behaviour and ability to follow instructions, resulting in more invites to parties and play dates, improved performance at school and better relationships with children and adults alike.
The results you can expect from the interventions will vary according to a number of factors, including your child’s current communication skill set and your availability and determination to implement the recommendations day in day out.
Following an in depth assessment and observation of your child, we will discuss the results you can expect to see, along with the time scales and costs involved for successful implementation. Whether your child’s programme lasts one month or one year, you can rest assured that we’ll be with your every step of the way, equipping you with the knowledge, training and support to make it work.
Did you know?
NETwork Interventions has worked with many children struggling with anger and aggression and in many cases, the child has made remarkable progress. When our words fail us, we often resort to aggressive acts. By teaching a child to communicate their emotions, needs and wants more effectively and appropriately, anger can be reduced to within the normal range of those of the child's age and experience and aggression can be reduced and even eliminated.