In an argumentative situation, one of the most difficult emotions to manage is aggressive behavior. Aggressive behavior can range from your child’s natural aggression to emotionally severe cases where a child lashes out physically or emotionally to justify his actions. Aggressive behavior should never be accepted. Rather, it needs to be challenged and, if possible, corrected as soon as possible. While there are always exceptions, a child that consistently resorts to physically or emotionally aggressive behavior should be checked by a family member or trusted friend for signs that he may be suffering from some type of addiction.
What exactly is assertiveness? According to Dr. Carol Dwein, who teaches family and relationship skills, “aggressive behavior that is used to get attention or to gain an advantage is generally considered aggressive.” While aggression is generally a negative form of communication, assertive communication is usually a positive, constructive form of communication. In addition, assertive behavior stems from recognition, respect, and caring; while aggression isn’t; such as, shouting your opinions through destructive acts communicates your feelings are only important to you. Through a series of actions and reactions, assertiveness communicates your needs and expectations clearly to your child without the use of violence or verbal coercion.
Some behaviors that often show signs of aggression or lack of assertiveness include: screaming at another child over something that you did, hitting another child in the name of a parent or guardian, or even just continuously talking about an issue that has nothing to do with you and your interactions with other people. It is important to understand that many children experience a great deal of pain and frustration, and are simply trying to learn how to deal with these feelings. For this reason, when children experience anger or frustration they sometimes resort to extreme actions such as hitting or screaming at others. To avoid this problem, take steps to teach your child that his words have consequences, so that he can learn how to better control his anger and frustration by using more constructive ways to express his feelings.
There are many ways that parents can help their children practice assertiveness. One such method is through the process of personal goals setting. Setting personal goals for your child allows you to help your child understand what his social interactions will be like, and how to set reasonable and achievable goals that will help him achieve those goals.
Also, it is important to remember that most people do not respond kindly to passive or non-interactive behaviors, especially in social situations. Children who are passive or who exhibit anti-social behaviors are less likely to interact with others and often act out because they do not feel they are in control of any given situation. Therefore, if you are experiencing any issues with your child’s behavior it is important to seek the assistance of a qualified professional to help them create a plan of action to address their behaviors.
While there is a wide variety of different techniques and books that can be used to teach assertiveness to your child, you may find that using a program that combines assertive behavior therapy and modeling can be the most effective avenue for you to take. This type of intervention has been shown to work very well for most children. It can help you create a plan that will help you and your child live a happier and healthier social life, without the need for harsh punishment or retribution. Regardless of which method you choose, taking steps to practice assertive behavior and interacting positively with others will go a long way towards creating a happy and fulfilled childhood.