Let’s face it. Aggressive behavior is not fun to deal with and especially when you see it in your child. For many parents who have children with ADHD, autism or other related disorders, aggressive behavior may not be so uncommon. But it is something that parents may be reluctant to talk about for fear that they or their child will be judged. I am sure many of you have gotten well meaning advice that all your child needs is more discipline. But it is never that black and white. There are no easy answers when it comes to dealing with aggressive behavior. I want to encourage parents who are dealing with your child’s aggressive behaviors to be able to find support here. Let’s talk about this openly and have an honest discussion without the fear of being judged. You are among friends here.
We have been very fortunate in that we did not see many aggressive behaviors in our son for most of his childhood years. But all that seemed to change when he turned fourteen. That seemed to be the “magical” age when we saw his testosterone kick in and he was just not able to handle it very well without some help. The teen years can be hard for any kid. But you take a kid who has symptoms of ADHD such as the inattention, hyperactivity, and especially the impulsivity and you add some teenage hormones to the mix and there is the potential for some interesting behaviors to develop. What had been silly or attention getting behaviors in the past were turning into aggressive behaviors much to our dismay. It has not been easy and it didn’t happen overnight but we have used some strategies which were effective in greatly decreasing my son’s acting out behaviors. In this post we will talk about the factors which may contribute to aggressive behavior. In Part Two of this series I will give you some ideas of how to decrease these behaviors.
What is aggressive behavior?
I think we all know what it is but just to make sure I will list some of the behaviors usually considered to be aggressive. Aggressive behavior can include anything from hitting, kicking, biting, scratching, pushing, pinching, throwing objects or any other action which is likely to hurt someone else. Your child may also engage in verbal aggression such as swearing, calling people names, or yelling.
I have written about some of these behaviors in the following articles.
Contributing Factors for Aggressive Behavior
I have said it before and I will say it again. Anytime you are dealing with a behavior problem it is imperative that you take some data about that behavior. The ABC or Antecedent-Behavior-Consequence recording system is an easy way to keep track of the behaviors you are looking at and to also look for patterns. Aggressive behavior doesn’t occur in a vacuum.