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Kicking, Hitting, and Biting

If you have a child who likes to kick, hit, or bite, know that you are not alone. It is actually quite common for kids to go through stages like this. And, while this behavior may be even more common when kids are toddlers, it can still often happen with kids in elementary school. The good news is that there are things you can do to eliminate aggressive behavior in your child.

Why the Aggressive Behavior?

There are many reasons why elementary-aged children may show signs of aggression. Children who engage in aggressive behavior like kicking, hitting, or biting may be doing it for self defense, but they may also be doing it out of frustration or from being overly tired.

Tips to keep in mind when dealing with aggressive behavior:

  • Intervene immediately and redirect the behavior.
  • Remove your child from the situation if he refuses to calm down and act appropriately.
  • Talk to your child about why he is behaving aggressively and let him know that it's not acceptable.
  • Teach him better ways to handle his anger or frustration with techniques such as journaling, counting to ten, or talking about it, giving him healthy ways to address negative feelings.
  • Lead by example. Make sure that you handle your own anger appropriately.
  • Role play with your child to teach him how to handle situations he may get into at school that usually leads to aggressive behavior. This way, you can teach him appropriate ways to respond.
  • Be sure to compliment him when he does the right thing. Create a behavior chart that rewards his good behavior.
  • Notice if your child is watching television shows that depict aggressive behaviors, as they may prompt him to do the same. If he is, nix violent television exposure.
  • Do not hesitate to seek professional help if you have a child that is overly aggressive and nothing seems to be working to curb the behavior.

Getting angry is a normal human emotion, but it is what we do with this anger that is important. By teaching your child healthy ways to handle anger, he will be less likely to turn to aggressive behaviors.