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Dealing with aggression and defiance in children

Dealing with aggression and defiance in children can be challenging but there are strategies that can help. Remember that every child is unique and what works for one may not work for another, it takes time and patience to address these behaviours effectively.

Here are some tips for managing and addressing these behaviours:

Stay Calm

Reacting with frustration or anger may escalate the situation further. Take a deep breath and approach in a calm and controlled manner.

Set clear expectations

Communicate rules and expectations to the child and ensure they know what is and is not acceptable. Use simple and direct language.

Provide a safe environment

A place where the child feels safe, secure and loved. This helps reduce their need to act out aggressively and defiantly.

Offer choices

Give age appropriate choices where possible, this gives the child a sense of control and autonomy for example 'do you want to brush your teeth before or after a story'

Use positive reinforcement

Acknowledge and reward positive behaviour, offer praise, encouragement or small rewards when they display good behaviours.

Use time in instead of time out

This involves staying with a child providing support and guidance, help them calm down, reflect on behaviour and discuss alternative ways to handle their emotions.

Teach them emotional regulation

Help your child understand and manage their emotions. Teach healthy coping strategies such as deep breathing, counting to ten or taking a break. Encourage them to express their feelings in appropriate ways such as using words or drawing.

Set consequences

Have clear consequences for aggressive or defiant behaviour. Ensure that they know in advance what these will be and make sure they are fair and related to the behaviour and be consistent.

Model good behaviour

Children learn from other peoples behaviour, they see what others are doing and how they behave and copy what they see and learn. be the one that shows them how to behave, how to speak to other people in a kind way and be calm and respectful manner.

Seek professional help

You can seek medical and professional help if you feel that the behaviour is getting out of your control.


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