Child Aggression: Prevention is Better Than Cure

Ever heard of child aggression? Or wondered why some children tended to be more aggressive than others?  

angry boyWell, this year, researchers from the United States of America, have managed to pinpoint what the early predictors of child aggression are.

Childhood aggression has been linked to outcomes such as juvenile delinquency and even mental health problems.

The study of 100 families has managed to define the relationship between certain factors, such as a child’s inhibitory control, gender, siblings and maternal education and depression symptoms, and child aggression.

This research will allow early prediction and prevention of aggression in children, so as to curb the problem before it surfaces.

Nipping it right in the bud, I’d say. So let’s go through the list of relationships the study found.

A Child’s Internal Inhibitory Control and A Sibling’s Influence

Ooh, inhibitory control- fancy word you probably don’t understand. Well, let me explain it to you.

Siblings Fight Over A Toy Dinosaur

Inhibitory control (IC) refers to the ability to control one’s emotions and behaviours in effort to overcome temptations. Researchers found that IC is a significant predictor of aggressive behaviour in children. A lack of IC could even indicate ADHD in a child.

Surprisingly, a sibling’s IC does not affect or cause aggression in a child.  Interesting, hey?

Gender Versus Aggressionangry girl

You must be thinking, “Of course gender has something to do with aggression”.

I know, because I originally thought so too, but you’d think wrong.

Gender actually does not play a part in how aggressive a child is. Shocker, right?

There is a common misconception that boys are more aggressive than girls. When we think of aggression, the first thing that comes to mind is violence, fist-fights, kicking, and threats. We always assume aggression is portrayed as physical.

However, aggression in children is demonstrated in different ways, in boys, more commonly in the form of rough play and violence. Girls, on the other hand, tend to partake in relational aggression, or easier known as emotional aggression, more often.

Emotional aggression refers to any form abuse that is not physical but rather emotional, for example, shunning another child from their group, or intimidation. Emotional aggression in children are often unnoticed and therefore underreported.

Maternal Education Levels and Depression Symptoms

Maternal depression has the strongest influence on child aggression.

Mothers with lower education (on average lower than 17.82 years of education) had children with higher aggressive behaviours, regardless of their depression symptoms.

On the other hand, children of mothers with higher education, increasing became more aggressive as depression symptoms increased.

mother and child

Well, there is no need to worry, as maternal depression is highly treatable. Child aggression can be caused by a number of factors, some more surprising than others.

But hey, now that we know what the predictors are, prevention is very possible. After all, nothing’s greater than a mother’s love for her child.


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