Aggressive Behavior in Children & Teens

It is common for kids and adults alike to struggle with how to respond when they are angry or overwhelmed, but aggression and intimidation is never the answer. Here at Empowering Parents we believe, as James Lehman said, “There is no excuse for abuse.” Children become aggressive for many reasons, but often it comes back to the same place so many negative behaviors start: a lack of problem solving skills.

To change this negative pattern of behavior, it is necessary for one to replace the aggressive and abusive acting out behaviors with healthier, more appropriate ways of solving the problem. If your child is verbally or physically aggressive and you fear that it may get worse if it is not addressed, important things to remember are you’re not alone, you’re not a “bad” parent and you don’t have a “bad” child.  What you do have is a challenging situation that needs to be managed immediately and effectively. In the articles below, our experts offer real solutions to help you address your child's aggression so that you can take that next step towards lasting change.  Here are some articles to get you started:

Disrespectful Kids: How to Get Your Child or Teen to Behave with Respect

We all know that kids can act in many disrespectful and rude ways to parents: they can slam doors, roll their eyes, and tell you they hate you, to name a few. It’s natural to get very worried and frustrated and wonder if these types of behaviors constitute out-and-out abuse, or just “rudeness and mild disrespect.” How can a parent know when these rebellious and rude behaviors have crossed over a boundary and gone way too far? Read More

Signs of Parental Abuse: What to Do When Your Child or Teen Hits You

Jennifer’s son began hitting her when he was 14 years old. “I just didn’t know what to do,” she told us. “If anyone else had hit me, I would have called the police. But this was my son! I didn’t want him arrested but I wanted the abuse to stop. I was ashamed to admit to my family what was going on and I knew they would take action, even if I didn’t. The situation was intolerable but I couldn’t take action. I felt trapped, like I was in a car without brakes.” Read More

Anger, Rage and Explosive Outbursts: How to Respond to Your Child or Teen's Anger

Everyone gets mad sometimes, children and adults alike. Anger is an emotion that can range from slightly irritated to moderately angry, all the way to full-blown rage. A child’s anger often makes us feel uncomfortable, so there can be a natural tendency to try and change the situation for your child, so the anger will evaporate. Or on the flip side, it’s easy to fall into the trap of “bringing down the hammer,” to put a stop to the anger through intimidation or punishment. But the fact is, your child will experience situations that may trigger anger throughout life. You can’t stop the triggers, but you can give your child the tools to understand anger and deal with it. Read More

6 Ways to Manage Tantrums, Misbehavior and Meltdowns During the Holidays

If you have a child or teen who misbehaves, the holidays can be a source of infinite stress and anxiety. Your individual expectations of the holidays can be seriously at odds: you expect to have a nice, shared time with your whole family and maybe attend some larger family gatherings; they expect to get every gift they demand, and they intend to spend their school break staying up late, sleeping in, and playing video games. The resulting holiday season can be filled with tantrums, obnoxious behavior, and lots of yelling and screaming. Read More

Stop Aggressive Behavior in Kids and Tweens: Is Your Child Screaming, Pushing and Hitting?

When a child is aggressive toward others – hitting, screaming, pushing, throwing things – the natural response of the people around him is to withdraw. It’s frightening to see someone whose anger has reached a point where it seems out of control. If your elementary or middle school-age child is behaving aggressively toward others, it’s important to address the issue now, before it escalates to serious consequences such as suspension, legal problems or serious harm to others. Read More

How to Manage Aggressive Child Behavior

I’ve talked with a lot of parents who feel out of control in the face of their child’s anger and aggression. In fact, I can’t tell you how many moms and dads have said, “I feel like I’m failing at parenting.”  In my opinion, it’s not so important why you as a parent aren’t effective at times—what’s more important is what you do about it. The very first step is to be aware of the patterns that have been created over the years with your child. Ask yourself, “What's the behavior I’m seeing, and what am I doing in reaction to it?” Read More

Angry Child Outbursts: The 10 Rules of Dealing with an Angry Child

Mikayla, age 13, has just been told she can’t go to her friend’s house. “You need to clean your room first,” says her mom, “You promised to do that, remember? ”Mikayla gets in her mother’s face and screams, “You’re the meanest mom in the world! I hate you!” She turns and runs into her bedroom, slamming the door. “That’s it! You’re grounded, young lady,” her mom shouts back. She’s left feeling exhausted and defeated, and unsure if she’s done the right thing. Read More

Aggressive Child Behavior Part II: 7 Tools to Stop Fighting in School and at Home

In part 2 of this two-part series, James discusses exactly what to do when your children get in trouble for fighting at school or at home—and the right kinds of consequences to give them so they learn to use appropriate behavior instead of lashing out when they feel like hitting someone the next time. Read on to find out the steps you can take toward resolving the problem of fighting at school, plus get advice on how to handle fights that break out between siblings at home! Read More

Aggressive Child Behavior Part I: Fighting in School and at Home

Does your child always seem to get in trouble for fighting? You’ve tried talking to him, but the aggressive behavior hasn’t stopped—he still roughhouses with his siblings at home to the point of injury, brawls with kids on the bus and gets into fistfights at school. In part 1 of this two-part series on aggressive child and teen behavior, James Lehman explains why kids get into fights in the first place—and tells you the three basic types of fighting that you need to address as a parent. Read More

Passive-Aggressive Child Behavior: Hidden Anger in Kids

Does your child take forever to get up, eat breakfast and do his homework and chores? You nag, threaten and repeat yourself, but he still doesn’t seem to pay attention to anything you say. Here, James Lehman explains the passive-aggressive ways kids control you—and how they use it to avoid responsibility. Read More

Hitting, Biting and Kicking: How to Stop Aggressive Behavior in Young Children

“I’m not allowed to bring Ben to play group anymore,” said Sarah, whose son is now five years old. “The last time we went, he bit another boy who was playing with a truck Ben wanted. And the time before that, he hit a little girl across the face. I try to tell him ’no’ but he just doesn’t listen, so I end up apologizing for him. I’m starting to feel like the world’s worst parent because I can’t control him when he acts out.” Read More