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What a father can do about aggression

Author GreatDad Writers
Submitted 19-01-2007

  • Respond quickly: Try not to wait for your children to yank each other’s hair for the third time before reproaching them with an “Okay, that’s enough.” They need to know immediately when they’ve crossed the line. If they are really angry, you might send them to their room to cool off before talking to each of them. Or try reducing your kids’ allowance by a dollar or the TV time by 30 minutes as a consequence for their aggressiveness

  • Set an example: No matter how angry you are with them, try not to yell, hit, or tell your children they are bad. Rather than getting them to change their behavior, this simply teaches them that verbal and physical aggression is the way to go when they are mad. Instead, set a good example by controlling your temper and calmly pulling them out of the action when they go too far

  • Stick to the plan: As much as possible, respond to aggressive acts the same way every time. Your boringly predictable response (“Okay, you hit your brother again — that means another time-out”) will set up a pattern that your children will come to recognize and expect. Eventually, they will learn to anticipate consequences before they act — the first step in controlling their own behavior

  • Talk it out: Let your children cool down, then calmly discuss what happened. The best time to do this is after they’ve settled down but before they forget the whole thing — ideally, 30 minutes to an hour later. Ask if they can explain what triggered the outburst (“Jessica, why are you so angry at your brother?”). Explain that it’s perfectly natural to get angry sometimes, but it’s not okay to react violently. Suggest better ways of dealing with anger — voicing their feelings without yelling (“I’m really mad that he always messes up my stuff”), shooting some baskets to blow off steam, or simply walking away from the situation until they cool off