All behavior, including aggressive behaviors like hitting, pinching, and biting, is one way that children communicate. The message behind the aggression could vary greatly. Children may be acting aggressively when they feel scared, frustrated, or upset and don’t know what to do about it. Sometimes when children are unable to meet your expectations, they feel misunderstood or rejected. The meaning of their behavior may be that the environment is not a good match for their needs. Disorganization, chaos, too many choices, or not enough choices all lend to stress in children. Schedules which cause children to wait for extended periods of time or have too many transitions often times will cause children to lose control.
One way to combat this problem is to make sure that children know how to recognize their aggressive feelings and behave in a socially acceptable way. Provide consistent, age-appropriate expectations that match the children’s abilities. Model and teach social and play skills; including helping them learn to label those feelings.
Using children’s literature is one way to guide children through emotional topics. Grab one of the following titles and delve into the topic with your child. Talking about it is the first step to reaching a solution.
No Biting by Karen Katz
Hands Are Not for Hitting by Martine Agassi
Mouse was Mad by Linda Urban
When I am Angry by Gladys Rosa-Mendoz