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Aggressive Behavior in Children and Young People

  • Post category:Disorders
  • Reading time:5 mins read

The Link Between Defiant Behavior and Aggression

From defiance to aggression is just one step. The causes of aggressive behavior are largely the same as the causes of defiant reaction. The strength of the motive of resistance and hostility towards the environment depends on whether the child remains only defiant or will go on the attack. There is nothing new to be said about the environmental factors that cause him to behave aggressively. It is only necessary to emphasize that the actions of the environment with a young man are usually even more negative when he reacts with aggression, than when he responds to the actions of the educator only with defiance.

The Different Types of Emotional and Verbal Aggression

When children and young people attack their environment, they are driven to do so by different emotions: anger, hatred, jealousy, irritability, hostility. Or there is a tendency in the game to resist, to oppose, to humiliate, to destroy verbal aggression, to attack with words: the child likes to quarrel, either with educators or other children, insults them with abusive expressions, attacks with swear words and other harsh words. Verbal aggression also consists of gossiping, complaining and denigrating others. And the systematic underestimation of other people or ridicule of their traits and actions contains elements of aggression. All these forms of attack are intended to give the child (as well as the adult) a sense of superiority, greater value over others, or satisfaction in the belief that the other is humiliated, offended, disabled in their efforts or in any way damaged. And blackmail is a form of verbal aggression.

Physical Aggression and the Desire for Revenge

Another category of aggressive behavior involves physically attacking other people. It is manifested in the fact that a child or young person raises his hand to educators or even more often to friends in play and at school. This is where the desire for refreshment appears. Thus, an insecure child takes revenge by aggressively on his friends, who are more successful and resourceful than him. A mentally retarded or physically defective child takes revenge on other children because they are more capable or healthier than him. The abused child takes revenge on the educator for the beatings and humiliations he receives from him. A jealous child takes revenge on a rival for his sense of neglect. An emotionally neglected child takes revenge because he is denied the love of other people, etc.

Disguised Aggression and Destructive Behavior

Sometimes a child takes revenge with a disguised aggression that manifests itself in destructive behavior – the child intentionally or ostensibly involuntarily, but systematically breaks various objects in the house, preferably ugly and those that educators care about a lot. It corrupts or destroys various objects, such as toys or notebooks of its sibling. So a 12-year-old jealous girl happily ripped off her older sister’s dresses, spilling ink on her school books. Some children show their aggression by snatching various objects from their colleagues and then hiding them and then enjoying the confusion, anger or fear of their friend. There are children who use their aggression in the form of theft. But they do not steal something valuable, or from which they would benefit, they usually steal items that have a special meaning for the robber or are especially dear to him. An interesting case is that of a girl who systematically stole pictures of her lovers from her mother.

Animal torture is also a form of child aggression. Kanner says of such children that they regularly have heartless parents who ruthlessly abuse them or emotionally completely neglect them.

Suicidal Tendencies and Their Causes in Children

The child can also direct his aggression against himself. He then threatens suicide, or even tries to commit it. Suicidal tendencies appear in older children, in the prepubertal years, especially in young people. They are usually an expression of severe depression, but they can also serve as a means of blackmailing the environment. Threatening suicide, the child tries to force educators to do as they please, to pay more attention to him and to abandon their demands.