Aggression & Tantrums
Aggression is normal in children as they seek to develop independence and explore and understand their environment. It is only problematic when it interferes with a child’s capacity to interact with others and start friendships.
Tantrums are emotional outbursts when they don’t get things to go their way. Anger and aggression are usually part of the tantrum, but the primary cause is the conflict between the child’s desire and the wishes of the supervising adult.
It is not uncommon for toddlers less than 5 years to throw tantrums every week lasting 5-10 minutes. This is fairly common and is a normal part of the development process. Children normally outgrow this behaviour by the age of 5 years. It should only be considered a problem if the children do not outgrow this by kindergarten. It is also a problem if the behaviour interferes with their normal school routine and causes a strain on their relationship with other children and their parents.
Causes of aggressions in children
Aggressions and tantrums are caused by a combination of factors and the most common is neuro behavioural causes. Some children have an inborn temperament that causes an outburst with the slightest provocation. In such cases, behavioural therapy is the mainstay of treatment. It aims at ensuring the children are able to handle anger and to manage the urge to throw a tantrum.
Trauma in early life is a major cause of aggressions. Children who often witness violence are very likely to be violent themselves. A lax in rules or an extreme of rules can also cause aggressions in children. An environment that enables anger without consequences allows a child to learn that tantrums are the way to get their way.
Medication is one of the ways to handle aggressions and tantrums. There are no specific treatments for aggressions and tantrums but medication to handle ADHD, anxiety and depression goes a long way in ensuring that the child is able to handle frustration. The goal of treatment is not to remove the frustrations but to ensure that the child can comfortably handle anger without feeling the need to knock everything over.
Our team of experts take a multidisciplinary approach which aims at ensuring that any underlying conditions are handled and taken care of.
Behavioural therapy which can be family therapy or child therapy, or both will help the child learn how to deal with their anger, express their disappointment in a non-aggressive manner, amicably resolve conflicts and interact positively with peers and adults.
Book an appointment with our Paediatricians and Psychologist at Kids Health Space for multidisciplinary team management.