Getting Aggression In Children Under Control with Empathy and Communication

Shyness and aggression in children is often the result of no assertiveness. Children have three ways in which they communicate:


  1. Assertive communication – This is the kind of communication that benefits everybody.
  2. Aggressive communication – Children who tend to bully other folks and uses physical touch to attain what they are looking for. The goal, in their eyes, is to win, regardless of who gets hurt in the process.
  3. Passive aggressive communication – These type of children look at themselves as losers and others as winners.

How to keep aggression in children down?

If you want to keep a child’s aggression down, they must learn to be empathic. What does this mean? It means they must have some capacity to show happiness or sadness for another person. Empathy is extremely important in society. Without empathy, the world would be both chaotic and cold.


How You Teach Children To Be Empathic

The way to teach empathy to children is to help them gain control over their emotions. This is done with talking about feelings.

When it comes to the youngsters, you need to teach them about the different emotions. Tell them what the emotions feel and look like – happiness, sadness, anger, etc. Should your child be showing an emotion, point this out to them.

For instance, your three-year-old son Ben is expressing both sadness and anger about his friend Matt taking away a toy he was playing with. Thus, he becomes aggressive and decides to show his emotion by biting Matt on the hand. What you have now are two children who are upset.

What do you do in this situation? First, you need to let Matt know that it was not nice to take Ben’s toy away because it made him sad. After that, you encourage Ben to let Matt know that it made him sad.


It’s around this point that Matt would do one of two things:

– Give Ben the toy back

– Ignore Ben and how he is feeling and continue playing with the toy.


Should Matt do the second option, you need to let Matt see how sad Ben is. Ask him to look at Ben’s face. Encourage him to give Ben the toy back by offering another toy to play with.

Be sure you deal with the biting too that Ben did.

Let Ben see the bruise or bite mark that he left on Matt’s hand. Tell Ben that Matt is sad about the bite. Be sure you advise him that only food should go into a person’s mouth. Suggest a hug be shared between them. Using language tools like “Yes/Compliance” sets work very well in such situations where you want the child to agree with you (with “yes” answers) & comply their actions (giving a hug)

Ben and Matt both see that what they did to each other made one another sad. What you have taught the boys is empathy.


Become A Role Model

A second way to teach your child empathy is to be a role model. When you and your significant other begin to argue, be sure to stay calm and negotiate to find the solution. This helps your child to stay calm when he/she gets upset. If you argue and fight physically and with hurtful words, your child will mimic that behavior.


Punishments That Are Both Abusive and Strict

Another reason children get aggressive is that they are disciplined too harshly or being physically abused. Aggressive behavior is a child’s way to deal with the painful emotions and a big cause of bad relationships, substance abuse, misconduct disorders, delinquency and truancy.