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Aggression in children

Q: I was wondering why children exhibit aggressive behaviour. I am interested in your professional opinion on why some children act in an aggressive manner while others do not.

A:There cannot be one specific reason given to why some children seem more aggressive than others. Aggression is as much an environmental concept as it is an inherent one. Some children naturally have a tendency towards more activity than others. If this hyperactivity is not diverted into meaningful activities, the child may manifest it as aggression.

The environment a child grows up in has a profound impact on aggressiveness. Violence in the home, on television and in other settings a child is regularly exposed to, may cause him to behave in a more aggressive way. Seeing and experiencing excessive violent acts seems to desensitise children into believing that violence is acceptable and thus may spur them on to behave in the same way.

A parent's role in such a case is tremendous. Negative reinforcement of an aggressive act goes a long way in discouraging a child to copy it. Parents who tolerate and even encourage their child's aggressive behaviour are likelier to have aggressive children than those parents who dont.

Childhood trauma, neglect, craving for attention, marital discord between parents etc. are other things that might predispose children towards aggression. In all this, it should however be kept in mind that it is the aggressive act and not the aggressive child that should be condemned.

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