What Are Causes of Child Aggression?

Child aggression can be a serious condition that needs to be addressed. Sometimes childhood aggression comes by itself while in most circumstances it is a sign of an underlying condition. By the time a child enters grade school aggression should be out of their system. They have learned to express themselves and have gotten past parts of their growth where aggression is their go to feeling.


What might cause child aggression? There are numerous different reasons for unexplained aggression but we are going to take a look at some of the most common.


Family Problems


When a child senses that something is wrong with their family they start to act out. You may not let them see you fighting or learn about financial problems (just two examples) but children are very perceptive. If they sense something wrong at home, they might lash out.


Learning Disabilities or Disorders


If a child is confronted with something that they aren’t able to comprehend or can’t understand they get frustrated. A child who is frustrated by something they don’t understand will start to lash out. It isn’t uncommon for that lashing out to take the form of physical actions.


Neurological Disorders 


Damage to the brain or disorders in the brain can lead to aggression. These conditions are much harder to diagnose and will require the help of specialists.


Behavioral Disorders


There are a number of behavioral disorders that lead to aggression. In some conditions ADHD can even lead to aggression. This is because oppositional defiant disorder comes hand in hand with ADHD in nearly half the cases. Other behavioral disorders can cause aggression too but ODD is one of the most common.


Emotional Trauma


Any kind of emotional trauma typically exceeds a child’s ability to cope. In many cases it exceeds an adult’s ability to cope too. When the child can’t cope with emotional trauma they act out in the only other way that they know how, by being physical. Emotional trauma could include violence, abuse, or anything they have experienced that caused significant fear.


Exposure to Violence


While violence in television and movies by itself will not cause aggression in children, it can trigger aggression if the child is otherwise predisposed.  For example, if the child is predisposed to aggression through mental health or prior experience it could increase their chance of aggression when exposed to violence.


What Can You Do?


The first thing to do if your child is being regularly aggressive is to remind yourself to calm down. An aggressive child can quickly ramp up an adult. Learning relaxation and mind calming techniques will help you to remain calm in a situation where your child is being aggressive.


Those same techniques that you learn can be used to calm your child too. Teach them these techniques if they are open to learning them. Promote self-control in your child and these techniques won’t just help them feel calm but help them to feel as if they have a good amount of self-control.


Make your child responsible for anything and everything they do. If they hurt someone or damage something let them have an appropriate punishment. If property gets damaged, not only should there be punishment but your child should be made to pay for the repairs through chores or other work. This will help to further instill responsibility.


Seek the help of a professional if your child starts to harm people, animals, or damage property. This can lead to serious problems if it hasn’t already. A professional can work on the steps above and more. For childhood aggression a number of approaches are used. Most commonly talk therapy is used to help the child understand what they are doing is wrong. Cognitive behavioral therapy can also help them to challenge their thoughts and choose to avoid being aggressive. And if there are underlying causes for the childhood aggression, medication can be sought.


For many childhood aggression can be extremely upsetting. Using this article you can get a general idea of where it is coming from. Use this along with the second half to help your child learn that aggression is not the answer. However, if your child starts to exhibit serious signs of aggression, professional help should always be sought.