My son is aggressive

Debra - posted on 06/24/2010 ( 3 moms have responded )

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My 10 year old son is aggressive. If he is called a name at school he gets realy angry. He doesn't respect other kids boundaries or listen to other kids when they tell him to stop annoying them. He often get's on just fine with kid's younger than him and younger kid's like him alot. I have tried a child phsycolgist and have enrolled him in a social skills course. It's almost as if his self control button is broken. I have tried taking away privilages and although it 'sometimes' works he seems to revert back to his old pattern. He has an older brother-12yrs who is not aggressive but can say things that easily pushes his brothers buttons. I have tried talking and reasoning, and tried getting angry. I am worried he will be beaton up or I'll be hearing from the police.

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Cheryl - posted on 06/25/2010

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Bingo!! I was trying to find a clue as to why your son was so easily triggered, and I think the issue is the older brother. Does the older brother get any consequence for his behavior?? If not it could be that the 10yr old is frustrated and has a lot of pent up anger at not having any recourse when he does get his buttons pushed.. He has had to grow up in the shadow of his older brother who has always run faster and jumped higher and thought quicker ; always left behind....Was the older brother ever encouraged to help his brother along, like how to throw a ball or just to be helpful with homework etc., or just playing together positively? And then to say encouraging words, like," that's good," that's how to throw the ball, it's ok, let's keep trying.
You should stay on top of how he treats him and not leave them unsupervised.. do not let the older child babysit him now or when he gets older! Trust me this could end up in a terrible disaster! I have 3 boys, my older one was the more physical and more aggressive one, and his almost 4 yrs younger brother was always the object of his teasing and hurting. I never left them alone without supervision and I always punished for that behavior, but then I also realized that the younger one needed to feel empowered so I began to include the younger one on what punishment the older one would get.. and we would discuss it right in front of the older one.. What consequence do you think Jim should get for hitting you?? "Grounded for a month!!" he might say.. "ok maybe that is too much".. He could make your bed for a week, or do your job of taking out the trash? Other tiimes it might be that younger Mike gets to go on a little outing that bigger brother misses out on, etc... you get the picture.. So in that way he feels he has some power, recourse, and a sense of fairness..You and your husband need to be vigilant about this or he will grow up a very angry and frustrated young man. If you can, ask the teachers at school if they could reinforce this at school by punishing the name callers wi something like missing out on recess(where a lot of name calling happens) or some sort of consequence.. trash or clean erasers, or cleaning the blackboard( not even sure if they use blackboards anymore)

Just to say, my younger, more sensitive, less aggressive son grew up to be bigger than his older brother and he then had the upper hand, and got chances to get even, but he didn't he has grown up to be an pretty even tempered young man. involved in International Relations, was a volunteer firefighter, an EMT, and has a heart for developing countries(particularly the middle east) and what he might do to help, is interning and just spent 10 days at the UN interning when they had the nuclear non-proliferation treaty review sessions. The older brother Jim just got out of the army! So his aggression got to be channeled more constructively, this last tour to Iraq he got to be involved wi engineers in an office, working to rebuild for the Iraqi people..so you see what you do or don't do when kids are younger really does make a difference when they get older!

It is very important to get co-operation from the school on this.. I bet you will see it helps.. also get boxing gloves and a punching bag for the younger one to get out his anger that way while you are working on the rest.. and get a second set and let the 2 of them duke it out fair and square.. throwin ya a curveball here.. no pun intentded.. but is he in any kinds of sports? Our son really did well in baseball with a group of his peers competing wi kids generally his size, even becoming a catcher in hi school and college and a co-captain.It gave him an outlet and helped him to feel good about himself that he was able to excel and compte with kids his own age and size, and then skill became the deciding factor on who would be the best.. not the biggest!

But I know this is a distressing situation, so I took a little more time and wrote more extensively.. it is a tough one..in the end one of the good things to come out of this was how well he treated HIS little brother when he came along,, they played together very well and I had almost no problems with them, they were good buds. Now all my sons laugh and talk and are good friends, but the oldest at 5'10" has a healthy respect for his 6'1" and 6'4" brothers....they are ahead of him in school and now the oldest is racing to catch up to his younger brothers in school.!! so I guess what goes around comes around.. There is definitely no name calling from the older brother, and only respect and almost envy at their excelling in school.. It will take some time but I believe as you work on it little by little you should see some improvement.. the younger needs a way to express his anger constructively while you are working on this.. that is why I suggest the gloves and punching bag.. as he gets better and stronger at it he could even beat his brother( older brother doesn't get to use the punching bag BTW, it is JUST for the younger one, that will be empowering to him to if it is just his, or just him and dad.. Hope something here helps, take what does work for you and throw out the rest.. God Bless all mothers of sons!! They really need it!! ;-) Last but not least I just thought of.. take the younger one to a different room when something happens wi older bro or at school and give him a chance to talk about how angry he is at you in a safe place.. Let him be angry at you and bounce stuff off of you, if he can do this safely, get mad, cry and you won't punish him, you just try and be affirming and understanding, Honey I know it must be hard when your brother calls you names, I know how you must feel, let's give him a good consequence shall we?/ what do you think it should be?? I betcha the anger and crying will turn to smiles and glee!!.. this might help initially until you see progress with the other strategies..
Last but not least have you tested him for Ausberger's syndrome?

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Christiane - posted on 06/25/2010

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Here's a simple 7 Step by Step system that you can start using to deal with your aggressive children.

STEP 1: MODEL APPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR

Children, during their childhood stages are very vulnerable to negative influences. They tend to imitate what they see, what they hear and what they experience. A bad experience may also lead to them always remembering the incident. Also, aggressive discipline will result in aggressive behavior in the children towards other children and even the parent. Remember, don't do anything negative that you wouldn't want your children to imitate you in front of them.

STEP 2: HOUSE INSPECTION

Remember to always inspect your house for possible aggression traps. Is there enough room for your children to play together and independently? Are there enough materials for each child to interact with?

Does each child receive an equal amount of positive attention from the parent or caregiver?

STEP 3: TEACH YOUR CHILD CONTROL EARLY

As soon as your child throws the first temper tantrum, begin to talk about different situations and the
emotions they evoke.

You can say things like, "It's OK to be angry when your tower falls, but throwing blocks is not nice. Try again.

Mommy doesn't like biting. Biting hurts. Hitting is not nice. Please don't use your hands that way."

Use a firm voice but avoid yelling. Yelling is also a form of aggression, in which your child might imitate your actions.

STEP 4: INTERVENE IMMEDIATELY

Whenever your child becomes aggressive towards others or towards his or her own body, have a time out period. This is for you and them to calm down before discussing the behavior and alternative behaviors in which you can solve the problems with the current situation.

STEP 5: FOCUS YOUR ATTENTION ON THE HURT CHILD

Even negative attention will reinforce aggressive behavior. Put the aggressor in time out, walk away, and
comfort the hurt child. When the aggressor leaves time out with your permission, have him or her do something nice for the hurt child, such as giving a favorite blanket or toy.

STEP 6: TEACH THEM TO BE ASSERTIVE

Teach your children to be assertive and ask for what they want instead of being aggressive and demanding.

When your child screams and throws an empty juice cup across the room, say, "Do you want more juice? All you have to do is say, 'Mommy, can I have more juice?' and I will get it."

STEP 7: ROLE-PLAY WITH OLDER CHILDREN

Make a list of scenarios and ways to ask for things such as snacks, money or free time. Talk openly with
your child about feelings and emotions. Discuss different possible responses or refer to the list every
time your child uses aggression.

I hope these 7 simple steps will give you a better idea of a step by step system how you can deal with an aggressive children.

Jamie Sullivan is a mother of 3 children aged between 4-16 years old and an author of "Child Anger Revealed - Your Ultimate Guide To Deal With Them Effectively" at http://www.ManageYourChild.com

Cheryl - posted on 06/25/2010

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Re reading your question I would also make note of the fact that he gets along well with younger children.. he is not going to treat other young kids the way he was treated.. that is a good positive sign!! I would encourage that!

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