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How to manage aggressive behaviour in a child?

Q: My 4 1/2 year old son is naughty and he uses bad language. He was brought up by his grand parents who pampered him a lot. When the child uses bad language or beats his parents/grand parents with a scale, we as parents warn him and convince him not to do that. But now-a-days he has made a habit of beating and using bad language and we are compelled to beat him sometimes as it is becoming out of our control. Whenever we try to advise the child or warn the child not to do it, the grand parents come into the picture and say that please do not scold or beat the child as he is too young and you don't know how to bring up a child. The child watches all the serials and cartoon channel and if we switch off the TV he starts crying. We cannot even advise the elders in the family not to watch TV. The major problem is that the child has now started beating the guests who come to visit. We are very worried about his behaviour. Can you suggest how we can stop the child from behaving in this manner.

A:From the details provided by you, it seems that your son is showing aggressive behaviour and has become defiant. There also seems to be some underlying resentment and conflict among the elders in the house which is affecting your son's upbringing. Try out the following; a) Stop beating the child or even scolding him constantly. Instead reward his desirable behaviours whenever possible. b) Show restraint in your own behaviour by not hitting, by not being rude to him or to each other. Become a good model yourself. c) Talk to your elders calmly and not in the presence of the child. If they do not change, just let them be! Grandparents are there to love and spoil the child! You look at your own behaviour and attitudes! Family counselling may help all of you - not just the child! d) Use reasoning and explaining with your child to firmly state that hitting is not allowed. Try to distract his attention when he is going to do anything undesirable. If he persists in hitting, hold him firmly and use time-out techniques or withdraw some privileges. In case these methods do not work and there is no improvement, consult a child psychologist and also try to rule out any medical problem.

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