Agression in children


#1

Hi,
My 8 year old has been acting out agressively at school, and I'm really worried about her. She has expressed worries about death. I'm not sure where that is coming from. My husband is not the best example of anger management. He is not classically abusive, but we've had some issues in the past and he is still very physical when angry (throws stuff, screams). I've been working so hard to fully commit myself to the success of this marriage for the good of the children, but today I'm worried. Do you think I can teach my child to be kind and gentle despite my husband's infrequent outbursts? Isn't that the Catholic way? Does anyone have any success stories they could share?
Thanks


#2

This may not be the best place for advice. Yes, you could find some good help, but there are many other sources on the internet that provide specifically parenting help.


#3

Family counseling worked for us, although the issue wasn't aggression. Children are naturally going to copy what they are exposed to.


#4

I think that we have all forgotton that no child was ever ruined by an appropriate disciplinary swat on the behind coupled with an explanation as to what occasioned the swat; but many children, especially today, have been ruined by a swat with no explanation, or the lack of a timely swat.


#5

There are some good parenting Catholic books out there that explain the need to teach your kids to have a good heart, and what is type of teaching is appropriate at each age and what children are going through at each age. Go to Amazon and browse and look at the feedback.


#6

[quote="Margaret44, post:1, topic:244204"]
Hi,
My 8 year old has been acting out agressively at school, and I'm really worried about her. She has expressed worries about death. I'm not sure where that is coming from. My husband is not the best example of anger management. He is not classically abusive, but we've had some issues in the past and he is still very physical when angry (throws stuff, screams). I've been working so hard to fully commit myself to the success of this marriage for the good of the children, but today I'm worried. Do you think I can teach my child to be kind and gentle despite my husband's infrequent outbursts? Isn't that the Catholic way? Does anyone have any success stories they could share?
Thanks

[/quote]

Well, I was like that as a child and had a similar father (angry, yells, curses, throws things, etc. but never physically abusive). I acted out my frustration in the same way he did. Perhaps that is what she is doing?

The key to this issue is whether or not it is actual anger or frustration without an appropriate release. My parents did not know how to deal with that situation since they are both very similar, and it wasnt until I was around 24 that I started to get things under control. What really helps this sort of behavior is to give them a better outlet for frustration than anger, and it is the hardest thing to do as a parent (i would imagine) to do this. Because you have to tell them in word and deed. You have to show them that you will do the same, and you need to help your husband to do that same.

The other thing that will help is to never tell your child that they are wrong for how they feel. (FTR, I am not all hippy/newagey/whatever) You need to affirm that it is ok to be angry or frustrated. Explain that there will always be things that frustrate or anger you and that without a good way to show that emotion you will only make the situation worse.

Essentially, it might go like this:

DD starts hitting or throwing things so you say "Now suzie, that is not going to make this go away. I totally understand why you are so frustrated, that used to bother me. Then I learned to" whatever. As much as children are NOT adults, they respect being treated as though they are intelligent (although they do need to understand that you are the one in charge) and typically respond better to that sort of method than any other. I know I sure did/do.

Dont despair, it wont ruin her life and if you can nip this in the bud it wont be a problem.

Heck, I was one of the angriest people you would ever meet (for lots of reasons, some good some not) and now, through the grace of God, I have found ways to handle it.

Depend upon it, it is better to learn how to live without being angry than to imagine one can moderate and control anger lawfully; and if through weakness and frailty one is overtaken by it, it is far better to put it away forcibly than to parley with it; for give anger ever so little way, and it will become master, like the serpent, who easily works in its body wherever it can once introduce its head. You will ask how to put away anger. My child, when you feel its first movements, collect yourself gently and seriously, not hastily or with impetuosity.

Further, directly you are conscious of an angry act, atone for the fault by some speedy act of meekness towards the person who excited your anger. It is a sovereign cure for untruthfulness to unsay what you have falsely said at once on detecting yourself in falsehood; and so, too, it is a good remedy for anger to make immediate amends by some opposite act of meekness. There is an old saying, that fresh wounds are soonest closed.

St. Frances de Sales

I would not start with this quote (she is only 8 after all) but I thought it might help you.

FSC


#7

Oh and look up Dr. Ray Guarendi, he has 10 children and has spent LOTS of years as a therapist and his parenting insights are AWESOME. He doesnt pull punches and he has a way of putting things in perspective with affirmation and discipline in their correct degrees.


#8

[quote="Margaret44, post:1, topic:244204"]
Hi,
My 8 year old has been acting out agressively at school, and I'm really worried about her. She has expressed worries about death. I'm not sure where that is coming from. My husband is not the best example of anger management. He is not classically abusive, but we've had some issues in the past and he is still very physical when angry (throws stuff, screams). I've been working so hard to fully commit myself to the success of this marriage for the good of the children, but today I'm worried. Do you think I can teach my child to be kind and gentle despite my husband's infrequent outbursts? Isn't that the Catholic way? Does anyone have any success stories they could share?
Thanks

[/quote]

How does she worry about death? Her own death? Your death? Death in general? Is she a worrier by nature? How is she being aggressive? What specifically is she doing?

By "issues" what do you mean? Did your daughter see her father screaming and throwing things? When did this happen?

Any other stressful things happening at home?

These are questions that a doctor or psychologist would ask if you took her in for an evaluation. She may or may not be depressed. Children have very different symptoms than adults and may act out instead of of withdrawing. If she has witnessed your husband acting out, she may be afraid or she may be depressed. Depending on how serious you think this is, I would take her to the pediatrician and explain your concerns.

Your child CAN learn to act differently but if your husband continues to act out like that, chances are really good that she will take on that bad example throughout her life. Very hard to combat those kinds of influences by a parent with a bad temper...


#9

A friend of mine told me her 7 year old son come home from school wanting to commit suidice. She took him to the Doctor and was told it was attention deficit disorder.

I would have a medical exam to rule out anything biological

Then, I would try to find the words to get hubby to learn to control his anger.

CM


#10

She needs to know that it's unacceptable to be violent, and why. It's okay to feel angry, but not to act out on it. That would sound hypocritical coming from someone who is violent.

A lot of times, kids copy their parents. They don't do what their parents say, but rather what they do. I knew a lot of kids whose parents smoked and always told them it was wrong, but went ahead and did it, and the kids did too. When they see it happening, they think it's okay.

Explain to her that she may miss out on a lot of things by being violent - including relationships and friends. She may have lasting regrets. Let her think about how it makes others feel when there is violence and really look at it from that perspective. If your husband won't go to anger management, he could at least read a book on it. A lot of people who are angry claim they are "out of control" but they are in control. That is the first thing they need to learn. You may not be in control of how you feel, but you are in control of what you do about it.


#11

[quote="Margaret44, post:1, topic:244204"]
Hi,
My 8 year old has been acting out agressively at school, and I'm really worried about her. She has expressed worries about death. I'm not sure where that is coming from. My husband is not the best example of anger management

and you don't know where her problems are coming from?

. He is not classically abusive, but we've had some issues in the past and he is still very physical when angry (throws stuff, screams).

what is your definition of "classically abusive?"

,

but today I'm worried

. and you don't think his "not classic" abuse is behind this?

Do you think I can teach my child to be kind and gentle despite my husband's infrequent outbursts?

not likely

Isn't that the Catholic way?

nothing in the "Catholic way" enables abusers.

see your priest is my best advice for your spiritual counsel

see a marriage counsellor and a family therapist next.

get lined up with a good lawyer and the crisis hotline in your area. It is only a matter of time before you need it.

[/quote]


#12

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.