Usually, aggression in kids comes and goes. Nearly all kids go through a phase of determining and then surpassing their social boundaries. While most children learn that these verbal and physical behaviors aren’t acceptable, some continue to break these rules, which can impair functioning and lead to trouble at home and in school. Consider the following causes of aggressive behavior in children.
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Not all children on the autism spectrum demonstrate aggression. The autism community has an axiom speaking to the uniqueness and idiosyncrasies of the spectrum: “If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.” However, some children on the autism spectrum are more prone to aggressive behavior, and if you believe your child may be on the spectrum, you should seek a diagnosis to begin pursuing intervention strategies.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
An all-too-common diagnosis in young children, the impulsive behaviors and lack of self-control stemming from ADHD often manifest in acts of verbal and physical aggression, such as shouting at parents or teachers or unintentionally injuring peers. Insufficient sleep can exacerbate or increase the likelihood of aggression, and other issues outlined here can also have a combined effect on behavior.
Trouble at Home
Issues between parents often trickle down to their kids as causes of aggressive behavior in children. Children who struggle with their parents going through divorce often have no socially sanctioned outlet for their feelings, and in lieu of healthy sublimation avenues, they lash out verbally and physically. Domestic violence between spouses can also unintentionally model aggressive behaviors that kids take with them out of the house.
Difficulty at School
School, the place where kids spend most of their week, can cause tensions and frustrations that lead to aggressive behavior. Undiagnosed learning disorders can result in poor academic performance that catalyzes violent outbursts. Bullying—still an issue in some schools despite years of anti-bullying initiatives—could lead victims to become bullies themselves, taking their victimhood out on others.
Violence in Media
Objectionable content in media has been a cultural flashpoint in America for years. While some cultural critics ridicule the real-world influence of violent children’s programming, if you suspect that TV shows or YouTube videos are influencing your child’s behavior, it’s best to intercede and limit exposure to this content.