There is nothing worse for parents than seeing someone abuse their child. Whether it’s another child at school or at the park, or an adult who is too vocal.
But there is another truth. Parents sooner or later discover that their child is not an angel. Indeed, while they thought they had invested enough in the education of their offspring to make them a good person, any situation can reveal the extent of their error.
For example, they see their child hitting a classmate or they catch him lying or stealing.
In short, their angel becomes a devil! Why ? And above all, how to react?
When the going gets tough, everyone overreacts. The child like the parents… Whether it is because of shame or because they know that he knows and can do better, they get carried away.
In such situations, the parent usually reacts violently. However, responding aggressively to aggression does not help the situation. And that can’t calm her down or solve her.
The first thing you need to know is that aggressive behavior in children is completely normal, it is a response to a strong feeling.
The child is not aggressive because he thinks such behavior is acceptable. And the reaction of parents in this situation is crucial.
The aim is to help the child understand his feelings and why he reacted in this way, and then to help him develop other defense mechanisms for his feelings.
You should also explain to him that aggressive behavior is unacceptable without instilling feelings of guilt or shame.
Here are the 10 magic phrases of the Montessori method:
1. How about staying home today?
The principle “prevention is better than cure” can be applied to harmful behavior in children. Of course, you cannot control your child’s attitude, but you can observe and monitor their actions.
This will make it easier for you to listen to their needs. Indeed, after a while, you will discover what triggers your child’s anger and you will be able to act in time.
For example, the Montessori Method suggests keeping a journal with the child’s periods of sensitivity, stimuli, aggression, and possible trigger.
After analysis, you will be able to anticipate the scenario.
2. I can’t let you do this.
If your child is going through an aggressive phase and is trying to physically express his anger and aggression, try to be with him when he is around other children.
If you notice aggressive behavior, stop it and say “I can’t let you push other kids” or a phrase that fits the given situation.
The key to success is to be consistent, but not angry. Your goal is to calmly limit the unwanted behavior of the child.
If you react violently, you are showing your child that this is exactly the reaction he should have. Then he will react violently.
3. You look upset …
Putting a name on feelings is always good. Young children often react aggressively because they are not able to express and clearly say what is bothering them and what they are feeling.
If you are not sure how your child is feeling, you can use expressions that are easy to understand. For example: “I would be angry if someone took my orange”.
If your child is older, you can openly ask them to explain their feelings to you.
From time to time, talk about your feelings. Take advantage of the quiet moments when you can discuss with your child the feelings that a certain situation evokes.
4. I want to talk to you about what happened …
While it is very important to set limits to stop unacceptable behavior, it is also important to talk about it.
The best time to speak is when everyone is calm and rested. You can start the conversation by reminding the child of the context of the situation in question.
“I saw that Paul took your shovel. You didn’t like it, I know, but that doesn’t mean you have the right to bite him for it. ”
Depending on the age of the child, you can build a conversation depending on their level of understanding. Offer her alternative behaviors by teaching her to say: “You cannot take it because I play with it”.
5. Stay close to me.
If your child has exhibited aggressive behavior in the past and you can already predict what a particular scenario will cause, ask him or her to play near you.
You may even need to hold her hand until the situation is completely clear. Be calm, observe the situation, listen to your child.
After he’s calmed down, offer him a game that you know is the safest. Give your child another chance to play calmly before going home. Stay close to avoid unnecessary outbursts of unwanted behavior.
6. How would you feel? I would feel …
In addition to talking about your feelings with the child, include your perspective on the situation. Talk about how you would feel if something similar happened to you.
Try to be as objective / objective as possible, without condemnation on either side. Make your story understandable to a child but also informative.
If the child cannot follow you, explain in detail how you would feel. You can tell that you would feel sad or hurt.
Empathy develops over time and it can be learned. As a parent, you are one of the guides in the proper development of compassion.
7. How about taking a break?
When you notice your child is nervous or upset, find a quiet place where you can take a break together and take time to calm their temper tantrums.
Take a deep breath or sing a song that you know is calming or positive. And once the child is calm, you can talk about what happened.
Practice deep breathing with your child and teach him that it is a method he can use in the future to calm down and regulate his behavior.
8. Let’s find something you can bite.
Young children hit or bite when they can’t control their emotions. If your child is behaving aggressively, when they are not angry or sad, find another way to teach them to deal with strong emotions.
Give him a distraction or show him that he can, for example, hit a pillow when he feels the need to physically express his emotions.
9. To another child: “Everything okay? How can we help you? ”.
If you cannot stop the consequences of the unwanted behavior and your child has hit or bit another child in the past, always focus on the child who is the “victim” in this situation first.
You don’t have to be dramatic, but you should always be an example of how to treat another child. Demonstrating behavior is more effective than telling stories.
A child who has caused pain to another child can help them by offering them a glass of water or a hug. Teach your child to be sympathetic to others.
10. It’s time to go home.
If you find yourself in a park (outside or at someone’s house) when you notice that your child is about to be overcome with uncontrollable anger, stop the game and take the child home.
The child will certainly be upset, but it is best to be home by then. Then go to the park the next day. In addition, you can tell the child in a pleasant way that it is time to go home so that he does not take it as punishment.
Remember the following: Aggressive behavior is not something that characterizes a child as “bad”.
A child who shows aggression needs you. He needs attention, love, and your help. Set boundaries, be consistent, and be understanding.