Is the child aggressive or stubborn? Does he often feel the need to hit others? What is the best intervention for aggressive children? Many parents cannot tell the source of such behavior or how to cope with it and are left helpless.
Using drawing analysis of your child, we will be able to diagnose the root cause of such behavior and help you plan how to deal it sensitively. It is important to help your child outgrow aggressive behavior, in order to help him blend in society.
Children’s aggressiveness towards their parents is a well-known phenomenon, but is less common than violence among kids, or worse, parental violence. Nevertheless, many families suffer from it. Usually, this tendency is related to other family issues such as difficulty setting boundaries, overindulgence, difficulty maintaining daily routines and aggressiveness among other family members.
Case study: Child who was hitting his parents
The drawings of this 7 year-old are a case in point. His parents complained to us that he was hitting them even near strangers. He behaved aggressively because of questions he had been asked, but didn’t want to answer, or simply because his parents didn’t allow him to do or get something he wanted. His drawings reflect his temperament through the strong pressure he applies to the drawing instrument. In addition, you can see how he, ignores page boundaries in a way uncommon in his age.
Our analysis of his drawings enabled us to tailor a solution based on our assessment that in his case, violence was caused by his parents’ difficulty to set boundaries to his behavior.
How to respond?
In general, a child that acts violently imitates, in one way or another, a (physically or verbally) violent adult whom he knows well. Aggression also requires a parent who allows it to continue. If your child hits you, how do you respond? Do you hit back? Or do you give up and let it go on?
We recommend responding with a short statement that includes two parts.
First, you set the boundary by saying something like, “I don’t allow you to hit me!”
Second, you react with empathy: “I understand your anger”.
Perhaps your child doesn’t manage to express himself properly and acts out as a result. Some children hit their parents when they want to signal that they do not respect their authority. In these cases, it is necessary to see how you may restore your authority at home.
To conclude, when children hit their parents this is usually an advanced link in a long behavioral chain. In most cases, prior to this point the children’s drawings will attest to stress and social difficulties. When children are so aggressive it is mostly because they are calling for help, after many difficult moments.
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