Aggression during puberty

The age at which children enter puberty has moved even lower in recent years, and some girls have their first period as early as elementary school. Not surprisingly, your child may experience emotional outbursts, verbal outbursts and aggressive behavior as an expression of helplessness.

Most parents wonder what they might have done wrong if their child is aggressive for no apparent reason. But it is not always due to faulty parenting. 

During adolescence, when young people are faced with problems that they cannot solve in a constructive verbal way, aggression often makes itself felt.

What should parents do in this situation? How can you help your child and not bring the situation into conflict?

First of all, you need to stay calm, even if it's difficult and not get discouraged. There are a few tips for parents to help smooth out the problem. We will certainly tell you about them, but first, let's look at the markers that indicate that the situation requires surgical intervention.

Signs and causes of the persistent-aggressive phase in adolescents

It is important for children's development that they learn to deal constructively with all emotions. Negative feelings, such as aggression, should not be taboo. On the contrary, it is important that children learn to deal with these feelings in a way that does not harm themselves or others.

As a short-term reaction to current events, such as a difficult school test, it is perfectly normal. It only becomes a problem when the symptoms persist over a long period of time.

That said, if children have frequent outbursts of aggression, it does not have to be a disorder. Children, and especially adolescents, often exhibit aggression, for example, when their needs for attention or recognition are not met.

The most common causes of aggression in a teenager:

  • Conflicts between parents / in the family
  • fear
  • uncertainty
  • The desire for attention
  • Cognitive overload

The most common forms of child aggression are

bullying other children, stealing, verbal and physical abuse.

An aggressive state of agitation is expressed in similar ways in all people, regardless of culture. Often in combination with each other may be the following symptoms by which you can recognize aggression in a teenager in time:

Restless walking back and forth, excessive gesticulation, muscle tension, constricted posture, rigid facial expressions, yelling, insults, threats, clenching of fists, hitting, kicking people or objects, sweating, redness, rapid pulse, increased blood pressure, tremors, feeling hot.

What to do when a teenager shows aggression. Tips for parents

There are various ways to reduce aggression in adolescents, both in the short and long term. 

While attacks by your naughty or aggressive child can be extremely stressful for you as a parent and can affect you emotionally, it is still important to respond calmly and not allow yourself to descend to the level of your aggressive and sexually mature child. 

Don't react emotionally, don't yell back, and try to maintain an emotional distance with your child. He is testing how far he can go in his aggressive behavior and learning very important rules of behavior for his future relationships with others. 

Children during puberty, especially when they are screaming, need clear guidelines that teach them what is right and what is wrong. These rules should come from the parents.

Together with the child in the quiet period, establish anti-aggressive rules of interaction:

  1. He is never beaten.
  2. We don't insult each other.
  3. You can walk away to calm down.
  4. We are trying to find a solution together.

Of course, you can't ask a child to always have the rules at hand and be able to apply them during a tantrum. It is the parents' responsibility because children are still learning.

If your child yells at you, try to stay calm and find out what caused the escalation. If your child responds with aggressive behavior and does not engage in reasonable conversation, remind him or her of the rules that have been established together. If he doesn't comply, end the situation without further discussion. Don't be tempted to yell at each other. 

It is important that you understand how your behavior will affect your child's behavior in the future. He is learning from you how to deal with frustration and anger, especially during puberty. You are the model he will follow.

You have to be patient, always keep the door open, treat your son and daughter as adults as possible - knowing that they are not.

If the advice doesn't work

If aggressive behavior occurs over and over again and parents feel that they are no longer able to cope with constant rule-breaking by children and aggressive conflicts on their own, it is helpful to seek professional help.

A psychotherapist will help identify the causes of aggression and prescribe appropriate therapy. Psychotherapy explores a constructive way of dealing with aggression, which means that appropriate aggression must be resolved in a controlled way, while at the same time learning strategies to avoid inappropriate aggression. It may also be necessary to work through inhibited aggression and learn how to feel and allow it.

What can parents pay attention to for preventive purposes?

Parents should establish positive role models and resolve conflicts constructively and with words from the beginning. It is very important to develop these skills by objectively arguing with the child so that the child learns to perceive their own needs, name them correctly and contribute constructively; so that their own emotions are perceived and reflected, and the child notices that they will progress - especially in the long run - if they can resolve conflicts through successful social interaction.

Very impulsive children can be taught impulse control strategies so that they can calm down before they start acting aggressively. Empathy and perception of emotions are very important for young people: they learn to perceive and respect the feelings of others. 

10 proven strategies for preventing aggressive behavior during puberty

  1. Avoid aggressive and defiant behavior yourself, because children copy their parents and their behavior.
  2. Don't react emotionally or angrily. Take a deep breath and show your child that this is not the way to get anywhere.
  3. Show alternatives: "If you tell me this calmly and don't yell at me, I'll do what you want.
  4. Ignore verbal aggression from your growing child and do not compromise when it comes to violence. Hitting, kicking, scratching, biting, and destroying objects is unacceptable.
  1. After the "storm" has subsided, talk to your child about the situation and then show them the alternatives.
  2. Accept the frustration or sadness behind the aggressive behavior. "I understand that you are angry.
  3. Always praise your child when he or she handles difficult situations without aggressive behavior. This is how you reinforce the desired behavior.
  4. Find out exactly why your child is aggressive. Unfair punishments or accusations will only make your child more aggressive during puberty.
  5. Be consistent so that your child knows what he can and cannot do. Reliable rules are essential during a child's puberty period.
  6. Keep your promises, because a child who is often frustrated has a right to become defiant or aggressive.

Conclusion

Supporting your child through adolescence can be challenging and rewarding. Both boys and girls go through physical, hormonal, and emotional changes during this time. These changes are part of a process known as puberty.

For many girls, puberty begins around age 10, whereas for boys the process often begins around age 11. However, it is important to remember that everyone is different, and your child will grow and develop at his or her own pace. During puberty, physical, hormonal, and emotional changes can also cause behavioral changes, and your teenager may interact differently with family and friends.

Emotional changes during adolescence vary widely from person to person and over time. You may find that your teenager has developed a greater sense of self-worth. They may begin to feel more capable of taking on new responsibilities and making their own decisions. They may also develop an acute need for social connections outside the family, and they may seek independence in some aspects of their lives. Other adolescents may feel frustrated when they cannot achieve their goals and, therefore, may experience negative emotions.

Your teen's mood, energy levels, and sleep patterns may fluctuate during this time, which can create difficulties in your relationship with him or her. Remember that these emotional changes are an important part of your teen's growing up.

During puberty, parents and other adult role models can help teens through this period of emotional change with patience, support, and understanding.

If you feel that you can't handle your teenage child's emotional swings and aggression, see a professional who can help restore peace and calm in your family and help your child get through a difficult time without aggression. 

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