Anger & Aggression


What is Aggression?
Anger is a fundamental emotion that everyone experiences from time to time. It is important that people learn how to express anger. Learning to control anger is a sign of maturity. Anger can be positive as it can make us become more assertive and stand up for ourselves, it can help us express tension, and it can energies us and help us feel in control (Novaco, 1975). It has negative effects when it is used too frequently, when it leads to aggression, when it is too intense, when it disrupts relationships or when it dictates the way we feel all the time.

There are many external events that the child may have no control over, but that he/she can control how they think about them or how they physically react to a situation. aware of triggers and signs. The next stage is to help track their thoughts and anger, to become

The mind and body are interconnected. Changing how we think can change how we feel. Changing how we interpret events by re-scripting our internal dialogue is called cognitive or thought restructuring.

How common is Conduct Disorders?
Expression of aggression is more common in boys than girls. Additionally, various studies have now shown that the frequency and depth of physical aggressions decreases from early childhood to adulthood. The development of physical aggression peaks between two and four years of age, most children have learned to control their use of physical aggression by the end of middle childhood, and girls learn to use alternatives to physical aggression more quickly than boys. Infancy and toddlerhood thus appear to be the best period to learn the alternatives to physical aggression.

Causes of aggression:
Young children do not have good language skills compared to older children and adults. Often, a child may act aggressively because he feels angry or helpless and has no way of expressing his feelings verbally. Children generally understand language better than they can use it, so talk to the child in age- appropriate language about why it is important not to hit others, and how it makes them feel. Encourage the child to use the language. Role-playing with children this age can be helpful.

Some children do not have good language skills because of a disability. It can be very frustrating for a child to want to understand and be understood, but not be able to. It can set up a very negative cycle of behavior and consequences that the child may not fully understand. Some children act out aggressively because they have been treated in the same manner [Negative parenting style], or because they are angry about something that is happening in their lives that they have no control over, such as parental arguments or divorce.

Children’s television programming is becoming more and more violent, and young children simply do not understand the distinction between pretend and reality when it comes to television, especially since often, violence can look extremely authentic on television. If you think the programme is full of violence, limit your child’s time watching television, and closely monitor the shows that he is watching. Explain the child what may be the outcome of the violence in real situation and how it affects others feelings.

The development of childhood aggression is associated with low socioeconomic status. Maternal stress during pregnancy and medical complications at birth are also associated with a heightened risk of exhibiting above-average aggressive behaviors in her child.

Moreover, many factors of neurological, physiological, and genetic origin that are associated with the development of aggression can be traced back to infancy, and even earlier.

Regardless of the reason behind the aggression, there are some things you can do to reduce it. The most important thing is to be consistent with your expectations and discipline. 

When the level of aggression become higher than the normal range in terms of their age mates, then the child falls under the clinical population. Aggression is often the primary characteristic of oppositional defiant disorder and conduct disorder. When these problems emerge in early childhood, they are likely to continue and be predictive of poor outcomes, such as delinquency, substance use and adult mental disorder.

Types of Aggression
Aggression can be direct or indirect, active or passive, and physical or verbal

Some example of the above aggression:

  • punching the victim (direct, active, physical)
  • Insulting the victim (direct, active, verbal)
  • Performing a practical joke, setting a booby trap (direct, passive, physical)
  • Spreading malicious gossip (direct, passive, verbal)
  • Obstructing passage, participating in a sit-in (indirect, active, physical)
  • Refusing to speak (indirect, active, verbal)
  • Refusing to perform a necessary task (indirect, passive, physical)

There also other two type of aggression:
Reactive Aggression is an aggressive response to a perceived threat or provocation
Proactive Aggression is defined as behaviour that anticipates a reward.

Intervention Strategies:

  • Parenting (skill training)
  • Behaviour therapy
  • Relaxation, breathing exercise
  • Assertiveness training
  • Psychopharmacological intervention
  • Psychotherapy
  • Play therapy
  • Cognitive behaviour therapy
  • Coping skill training