IT IS easy within the family environment for fights and aggression to occur. This can range from arguments, hurtful comments, refusal to share as well as common ‘rough and tumble’ play, to more destructive behaviour. The key to preventing bad behaviour is to nip it in the bud early on. Fighting and aggression is usually a result of children feeling frustrated, resentful or angry when things don’t go their way. If you can understand what the likely triggers are, then you will be best placed to ensure they don’t happen again.

When encouraging your child to play cooperatively:

• Explain the rules.

• Choose some activities that teach turn-taking.

• Encourage good behaviour.

• Help with problem solving.

When managing squabbles and fighting:

• Tell your child what to do – not what not to do.

• Return to the activity and give your child the opportunity to behave well.

How to manage aggression:

• Act quickly when your child becomes aggressive

• Speak firmly and tell them what to stop doing.

• Back up your instruction with quiet time or time out.

• When your child has been quiet for two minutes let them rejoin the activity.

• Praise them if they play well.

As I have said in my columns before the key to a happy child is good communication. This mixed with love and understanding will enable you to deal effectively with bad behaviour.


NEXT WEEK: Separation anxiety