This blog is a continuation of pitfalls to raising a teen. Now, I’d like to address aggressive behavior which can get very scary! It’s critical to understand and deal with this type of behavior right out of the gate. There are many reasons for this type of behavior. See if you identify with any of them.
A common cause of aggressive behavior may be due to re-enactments of scenes your teen views. Teens can receive unconscious signals of victim / victimizer disputes and align with the victimizer because it’s safer for them.
Significant stress in the home or school could easily bring out aggressive tendencies, as the teen has not been taught how to talk it out or ask for help.
According to Daniel Amen in his audio book, Frazzled Parents, “mental Illness, depression, and anxiety can impair the child’s ability to think, and therefore the child can act on impulse and be aggressive.” You may have noticed that younger children with ADD are impulsive and often aggressive.
He also states that “brain trauma is another reason why a teen may act out. There may be serious effects caused by a head injury in sports that can create serious side effects; particularly on the left side of the brain.”
Here’s a suggestion if your child is exhibiting aggressive behavior. The earlier you start your strategy, the more effective it will be.
It’s important that you provide clear guidelines as to what is accepted and what is not, depending upon the age of the child.
It’s unfortunate that some parents walk the fence and tell their child that it’s okay to defend themselves with force if they feel attacked. These kids usually use self-defense as an excuse to bully or pick a fight with another child whom they actually deliberately provoke.
If a child has a propensity toward violence, it’s important to tell them that no violence with be tolerated, and that it takes a smarter person to know how to walk away from a fight. Another suggestion Amen makes is to reward non-violent behavior as much as possible by trying to catch the child acting appropriately at home, school (speak with the teachers), or in the community.
Have a plan when aggressive behavior becomes obvious to you, such as isolation or some type of grounding.
Here’s another idea. Teach the child relaxation techniques which I’ve addressed in my writing before, but I’ll make mention of in the next blog.