Children aren’t born aggressive, they learn it. However they can learn how to cope with aggression. Aggression and “fight” is different from the rough play that takes place during pre-school years as it involves the intention to hurt someone else.
Many children start using physical aggression from one to two years of age as a response to frustration or to reach a goal. Children by themselves do not have the social skills or self-control to manage their behaviour but must be taught. At times, children cannot cope with growing levels of anger in themselves or in others. Children can feel frustrated and angry when things do not go their way. They may also fight out of competition, jealousy, or response especially with siblings, or friends in their school or home. Some kids may be aggressive to get what they want—a toy, attention, or to watch TV.
How to Prevent Kids from fighting?
Generally, children show physically aggressive behaviour in growth years but learn other ways of expressing emotions and solving conflicts but some children may not. Interventions at an early age aimed at helping these children to learn adequate behavior and emotional responses is necessary. It can be done by:
Recognising the reason behind aggression.
Often children who are unable to express their feelings of helplessness show aggression towards another child by hitting, pushing etc.
Control your own temper.
Children mimic adults; the way parents handle their own anger and frustration affects the child. Kids witnessing conflicts that arise in home being resolved in a peaceful manner effects their approach towards situations.
Don’t hit as a form of discipline or punishment.
Some parents hit and yell on their child as punishment. Physical punishment can reinforce a child’s aggressiveness toward others as a child who is physically punished may begin believing that this is the correct way to handle people when you don’t like their behavior.
Using good vocabulary.
In some families, specially in India, aggressiveness is encouraged—especially in boys. Parents often use the word “tough” or “strong” to compliment a child. This can cause a child to feel that she has to kick and bite in order to win parental approval.
Find a hobby.
Kids can let off some anger by punching a pillow, or pulling, twisting, stomping their feet or pounding on clay. Encouraging a child to do things he/she enjoys—drawing, walking the dog, reading—can help to refocus thoughts away from anger.
Provide Comfort and Affection.
Parents need to know that it is important to show that you genuinely care about the kids situation and feelings.
Some kids need space on their own to cool down, and some need hugs. Some need to do an activity. Parents need to experiment to find out what the child needs by offering them different activities to help them. Also, seeking professional help in extreme cases is also required and shouldn’t be shunned off.