Message from the Executive Director

Perspectivei48j "Support for a Child Who Pushes, Hits and Bites"

@A child takes their friendfs toys arbitrarily in the process of growing up. They sometimes push, hit or bite their friend when their friend tries to take back their toy. Fighting over something often happens on a day-to-day basis, but how a child can learn better ways to express themselves or develop social skills depends on the adultfs approach. Ifll give a specific example so that we can think about the significance of aggressive behaviors and various coping methods.

@When a guardian sees their childfs aggressive behavior, they are troubled over gWill my child hurt their friend?h, gWill the aggressive behavior escalate?h, and gWill my child be left out of the loop?h Guardians scold their child, because they care about their childfs friends and their guardians too much. Some guardians try to teach their child the physical pain in gAn eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.h style. However, receiving a one-sided reproach or physical punishment will result in internal anger and self-injury. The care and sociality that guardians wish for their children wonft be cultivated in this way. Without normal feelings such as gI wanted it!h and gIfm frustrated!h being accepted, they develop feelings of distrust toward the guardians who are closest to them. This can become a vicious circle, possibly resulting in a tough situation in which everyone feels cornered, going out only to places where there arenft many other people and traveling by bicycle or car only, in order to avoid causing trouble or nuisance to others.

@cRegarding these kinds of aggressive behaviors, a child doesnft mean to hurt people as their guardians might fear. These behaviors show that the child is so desperate to solve things by themselves, because they canft communicate their desires and problems well. At our center, we work as a bridge by cooperating with the guardians to provide support for their children to be able to express their feelings better.

@For example, when a child tries to take a toy that their friend is using, the adult stops them and tells them, gYou canft take it without asking. Letfs ask them.h In reverse, when the other child tries to take the toy arbitrarily, the adult tells the other child, gDonft take this toy without asking. Please ask them.h Then the adult can ask the individual their wishes, gX is asking to borrow this toy, but what do you want to do?h In cases where they donft respond or hold on to the toy even when asked, the adult can confirm their wishes by asking, gYou donft want to?h The adult can then tell the other child, gX doesnft want to give it to you right now.h If they then hit the other child, the adult can tell them not to do this instead of scolding them. And the adult can comfort the other child who is crying, because though it might not look like it, the individual most certainly cares about the state of the other child.

@When you see aggressive behaviors in your child, you need to pay attention not only to the squabble over something, but also to their regular life. An attentive approach such as caring about the desires and problems which the child canft express well, confirming their feelings, and providing comfort and support fosters a sense of reassurance and satisfaction. A child looks for an adult who can understand them positively, trusts them, and looks to them for emotional support. When such a relationship is built, the child starts to communicate their anger and frustration to the adult instead of behaving aggressively as before. Itfs because they feel the comfort of their feelings being properly accepted. Such a relationship of trust with an adult fosters their confidence to assert, gCan I borrow it?h and gNo!h In addition to this, when the child has leeway, their feelings of care for other people grows, and they might feel that itfs OK to lend their toys.

@Understanding and support that comes from putting themselves in the individualfs shoes inhibits aggressive behaviors and helps foster the communication skills and sociality the guardians wish for. This fact is backed by many cases where support is provided.

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