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Child’s Behavior and the Source of Aggression

Aggression is a dangerous and harmful behavior which man acquires in negative conditions he passes through during childhood or even in later stages.   Aggression may have other reasons, resulting from physical or mental diseases.

How does an aggressive child become aggressive?

Is aggression an innate  trait in a child’s behavior?

Is it a natural expression of the overflow of energy and the need to prove it? Is an aggressive child considered psychologically sick?

A. M. (housewife) gave birth to her child ten years after her marriage.  As a result, he became the pampered child who received excessive care – the fact that was reflected on his behaviour: he wants others to satisfy all his desires & he can’t stand any rejection to his demands.  His mother says : «if once I don’t fulfill his desires, he will start screaming and continue doing so to the extent that  I become afraid that he might hurt himself».

So, I got so worried about him and started to offer him what he wants.

Psychologists differ in defining child’s aggression.  One of the definitions they gave in that «it is an expression of the will of power and the desire for control».  Aggression is a  substitutional behavioral activity  that man does to inflict harm on others either by verbal mocking or by physical pain.

Aggression is a behavior acquired by learning.  A child learns to respond to different attitudes either by being aggressive or adaptive.  Scientists believe that behavior is acquired according to the nature of the influencing factors of the environment a child lives in.  If an environment is void of quarrelling, anger, hot-temper, and aggression, a child develops peaceful habits and conservative behavior.  Besides, parents’ way in dealing with their children has a great impact on acquiring an aggressive behavior or avoiding it.   By encouraging their children to prove themselves without hurting others,  parents help their chiildren to maintain themselves and their rights.

Psychoanalysts believe that a child’s agitation is usually accompanied by a conflict between feelings of love and hate to the other person who represents his mother.  If the mother satisfies her demands, he will feel that she is a good person, but if she is late in fulfilling his need, threatens him, or shouts at him, she will become a bad figure to him.  Child’s aggression is, therefore, associated with his relationship with his mother.  Frustration and troubles within this relationship arouses his anger and aggressiveness.  Thus aggressive behavior is a phenomenon that appears in the child’s early stages.  He starts kicking and flicking objects, and sometimes he beats, curses, threatens or despises others.  An aggressive child in naughty and indifferent to what will happen  to him and agitated, he is uncooperative, easily affected and agitated, and noisy.

Psychologists note that the symptoms of an aggressive child that are supposed to last for at least six months are the following:

-         A child who steals more than once.

-         A child who lies continuously (not only to escape a physical punishment or attack).

-         A child who participates in making fires.

-         A child who is absent from school without excuses.

-         A child who destroys other’s properties.

-         A child who hurts and tortures animals.

-         A child who is cruel to others and inflicts physical harm on others.

Psychologists also point out that the reasons of an aggressive behavior as follows :

Gender: the outcome of researches, made in this respect, has proved that male aggressiveness is more direct, visible, and physical than female aggressiveness.  This does not mean that males are more aggressive than females, but females show aggressiveness indirectly, invisibly, and most of the times, verbally, the different expectation of civilizations and the social practices of males and females might bring forth such differences.

Family: some psychologists believe that aggression is a behavior acquired from the environment, especially the family for instance, a child becomes obstinate and aggressive if his mother is hot-tempered, and fails to converse and discuss  various issues with him.

Television: Scientists conclude that action movies a child sees on TV negatively affect his behavior, (imitation and isolation).  It is shown that children who watch action movies more than others become more aggressive.  Aggression continues to affect the child’s behavior until he becomes an adolescent and then an adult.  This means that a child imitates the behavioral patterns, which he continuously sees.  If these patterns are aggressive and negative, his conduct becomes aggressive.

Another reason for aggression is frustration. If a child’s desires are not fulfilled and his needs are not satisfied, he becomes aggressive.  Feeling deficient because of a physical defect, a repeated failure, or being of  poor achievement  in  school , a child turns to be aggressive as a substitute to prove himself and thus to attain, a social rank.  Jealousy in considered as one of the most important reasons, which pushes a child to take revenge of his brothers, friends or those who deprived him of his rights.

Over Criticism: Children who feel that their activities are constantly watched, and they are overly ordered, restrained, or criticized are more declined for aggression in their relations with others.

Educators affirm the necessity of differentiating between courage, and aggression,and some parents are wrong in believing that a child needs to be strong, courageous, and able to control others while proving himself no matter how he acts and what he does; such parents are to blame because they reinforce this attitude in their children.  Scientists warn that parents should not be tolerant with the child’s aggressiveness against others.  They emphasize the importance of applying the principles of reward and punishment in order to make him feel that such a behavior in wrong, rejected, and unfavorable, and thus guiding him to behave properly and get rid of violence.

Family troubles that involve beating and quarrelling , reinforce, the child’s aggressive behavior, especially if parents do not show any concern to upright their children’s aggressive behavior, showing them its disadvantage