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How to treat aggression in children? These 7 pointers have been known to help!

Updated: Aug 28, 2023

Aggression is not a normal behavior in children if it remains consistent. It is also something that can easily lead to violence. If you have a child who always "feels like hitting someone", it is important to help him/her deal with their aggression in the right way so it will not go too far, and they will be able to handle this when they grow up.

Child psychologists have known for a long time that it is important to teach children how to handle aggression and that there are various ways in which parents can do this. You might think that this could not be an easy thing to do and you would have to learn a lot of different things in order to be able to teach your child how to handle aggression.

How to handle stubborn and aggressive child?

Is your child behaving aggressively? Are you also worried about how to handle aggressive child behavior? According to experts, there are 7 elements that you need when you want your child to learn how not to show aggression.

1. Modeling

This is the first, and most important thing that you need to do in order for your child to learn how not to show aggression. This means that if you are asking your child to be gentle, it is best that you also show them what this looks like. For example, if you have a child who is always hitting other children or animals, or you say, my child plays aggressively, it is best that you ask him/her to stop doing this in an assertive way. This means that you should tell them to "stop using aggression" in an assertive way. This is the easiest way that they can learn this and for a child, it can be easier for them to understand this than what you have just said

2. Reinforcement of positive behavior

When it comes to handling aggression in children, this means that when they exhibit aggressive behavior, they need to be immediately redirected in a positive way. For example, a mother could say to her child, "Stop hitting! That is not nice" or "Stop throwing things at other children! You are very aggressive in this way." This should be said in an assertive way because even though it may not have anything to do with this behavior that you want your child to stop doing, it will be good for them and for their future.

3. Setting clear (behavioural goals) behavior plan for aggressive child

When dealing with aggression in children, setting clear behavioral goals can be important. This means that you need to know when your child has well-learned what you have asked them to do and also if they know exactly how to do this themselves. For example, if you have asked your child to say "please before they eat" and you have noticed that they are able to do this themselves, it would be appropriate for you to reinforce this behavior. You can have a word with your child in a calm way and tell them how important it is for them to say "please" before they eat.

4. Making sure that parents are the main mediators of discipline

This is something that is very important and it means that if you are asking your child to stop doing something, you should not add external factors on top of this. For example, if your child is throwing things at another child and this is done in front of you, it would be best for you to only say "stop it" instead of adding reminders like "don't throw things at others." In this way, your child will learn not only to stop the behavior but they will also learn how to handle their aggression and they will be able to do so when they grow up.

5. Emphasizing that aggression is a normal behavior

This is something that children will learn when they are very young. It means that your child will know that aggression is something that happens when you feel angry and it does not mean what it involves. For example, if your child throws things at you, he/she will know that it is not nice to do this to their parents because they want the things to stop. This means that he/she will also be able to stop this behavior in the future when they are older and feel like doing this again.

6. Encouraging the child's positive development

This means that it is important for your child to continue to grow and develop. If a problem arises, it is best that you do not allow the situation to become worse. This means that if your child's aggressive behavior starts to appear again, you should address it in an assertive way and focus on helping your child develop skills that they need in order to manage their aggression. For example, because they are angry, this is a time when they can learn how not to show aggression by saying "I'm sorry," instead of grabbing someone by the arm and saying "you're going down!"

7. Helping the child to understand the cause of their behavior

What causes aggressive behavior in child? This is very important because when dealing with child aggressive behaviour problems, they need to understand what it is that causes these behaviors. For example, if a child hits others because they are angry, it is important for them to understand that this feeling cannot be directed towards others and they need to find another way in which they can deal with their anger. This means that you should encourage children to express themselves in ways that are less aggressive and you should also help them learn how to deal with the situations that make them feel angry.

Significance of parents/immediate guardians for treating aggression in children

Both children and adults can benefit from having the skills they need to handle aggression. Children can maintain their self-control in conflict situations and with other people, while adults can maintain their social relationships and be effective at work. Nonetheless, parents are often most directly responsible for teaching children what is appropriate behavior, how to recognize aggressive behaviors in others and how to respond appropriately. This means that if a child does not have this skill from their parents, it will be difficult for them to grow up as a socially competent person who will be able to handle aggression correctly.

Many children have aggressive behavior and do not have a learning or emotional disorder. However, parents of aggressive children may report a variety of emotional and behavioral characteristics that contribute to aggression. Research has recently emerged which is identifying some of these characteristics in individual aggression, with evidence that they are related to the risk for aggression and violence. These characteristics include attentional bias (attentional bias), hyperactive behavior, sensory defensiveness (sensitivity), attention problems, and temper tantrums. Early identification of these characteristics allows parents to use interventions that are more likely to be successful in changing the child's behavior.


All children have the potential to become aggressive, but it is important that parents are able to identify certain characteristics that are involved in aggression in their child and what causes aggressive behavior in their child. By identifying these characteristics and using this information, it allows parents to make better decisions about how they can help their child improve their behavioral skills. This will allow them to focus on teaching them positive emotional and social behaviors that allow for successful social interaction.

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