How to Handle Aggressive Behavior in Children-Renae Lingafelt-Beeker

Do you have a child enrolled in your program that exhibits aggressive behaviors such as biting, kicking, head-butting, throwing objects, hitting/slapping, taking toys/objects away from others? Wondering why this might be occurring?

First of all, you need to look at the function of the behavior. In other words, why might the child be doing these things?

Is it sensory, attention seeking, avoidance behaviors? Is this behavior appropriate for the developmental age of the child?

Knowing the function of the behavior will help figure out what strategies to use to help stop the behaviors from occurring.

For sensory behaviors, finding a more appropriate outlet for the child to get that sensory input may be all it takes to curb the behavior.

For a child who likes to bite, providing chew tubing, objects, or foods for the child to chew on can prevent a bite on another child.

For a child who kicks, slaps, hits, or head-butts, providing games and activities where these motor skills can be used appropriately (kicking a ball, slapping a ball, hitting with a hammer, “tackling” a punching bag, throwing beanbags or cotton balls) may help curb the aggressive behaviors against other children.

If the behavior is attention seeking, providing attention for a lack of those negative, aggressive behaviors can be used. Letting the child know your expectations, and providing praise for appropriate behaviors can make a world of difference.

If the child is trying to avoid an activity, try approaching the activity in a different way. For example, if a child throws the pencil every time you do a writing activity, give the child a choice of what to write with. Try writing in sand or paint instead of writing with pencil and paper. Giving a new spin on the same task may make it less aggravating for the child and may actually make the activity enjoyable.

Renae Lingafelt-Beeker
Behavior Specialist-Region 10
Work Family Resource Center

Are you Listening? Steps to Active Listening For Parents!

Steps to Active Listening for Parents:

Active listening is  a way to show your child that you care about what they are saying and that you understand. It is an effective way to show your child how to use emotion and logic to solve their problems. This is also known as integration something that is talked about in The Whole-Brain Child,a popular book, that teaches you how you can teach your child to handle emotions using integration.  Integration is using the left and right sides of the brain to solve a problem.

5 Steps for Actively Listening to Your Child:

  1. Stop whatever you are doing, then give your child your full attention.
  2. Sit at eye level and listen to what they have to say, without judgement.
  3. Repeat what your child says back to them in the form of a questions for reassurance.It’s important to give your child time to answer.
  4. Practice integration of the brain. According to The Whole-Brain Child, the concept of  integration is connecting, then redirecting your child through the use of the right and left sides of the brain. Connect  with your  child by actively listening (Right Brain).  Then,redirect your child  by using logic to help them find solutions to their problems(Left Brain).

Tell us what you think about this article in the comments below. 

Are You Listening?

There’s a difference between listening and hearing.  You see, listening has meaning, a meaning through experience, and hearing is the way your brain processes sound. Hearing is natural, but listening is not. However it  can be practiced.

Why is Listening Important?

Listening is a very important because it helps you learn, solve problems, build relationships, create peace during a conflict and communicate effectively.

Here are a two fun examples showing how to teach your children how to listen effectively:

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  1. Lie on your back, close your eyes, and listen. You can do this activity inside or outside. Then, ask your child what they hear and compare answers.
  2. Cut out pictures of activities of sounds they may hear inside and outside. Hold up a picture of what they might hear. You can even test you child by holding up the same picture late, and asking “What sound does this make?”

Pay attention to  your child’s progress, then tell us about your experience in the comments below.