Aggressive Kids? 5 Ways To Curve His Behavior
Many youth leagues are getting started for the summer and the sounds of yelling coaches (and helmets clicking, if you’re in a football-heavy part of the country) are wafting in the air at local parks and fields all over the globe. While our parks are separated by country, state and county lines a commonality is the level of aggression and “toughness” being ingrained into our little sports stars to be the best, run the fastest and hit the hardest.
No doubt there are many life lessons to be gleaned from the teamwork, discipline and dedication required in playing a sport like football but my concern is are we teaching our children how to turn the aggression off when they aren’t on the field or the court, but are instead in the classroom or learning how to successfully build relationships.
Outside of possible health implications stemming from playing contact sports at such an early age, I find the mental implications just as important. If we are teaching boys from as early as four to be tough and hit hard and we never bother to go back and put those actions into context, are we building up overly aggressive children that later turn into extremely insensitive aggressive adults?
Aggression is a quality that can work for or against you and I would love to see our children taught how to channel their aggression in positive ways on and off the sports field not leaving them to their own definitions. Of course the idea of hitting someone while fully padded on a field is fun, but do they know this is not the move when on the playground at recess.
Teaching moments abound in parenthood, and are best understood by the child when discussed in context utilizing age appropriate comparisons. Here are 5 tips that may help in discussing with your child the importance of leaving negative aggression on the field.
- Make correlations between sports and everyday life: Discipline and team work are great traits to carry into everyday life, be sure to explain the benefits of these. When discussing more aggressive matters explain how improper aggression can sever relationships and make a person difficult to deal with in personal, school and work environments.
- Balance aggression with compassion: It may be understandable to get on an unfocused child on the field, when at home bring in the compassion. Home is a safe place where children should feel loved. Make sure the tough love has an even balance of tough and love.
- Punish negative aggressive behavior: Negative aggressive behaviors shown in the classroom or at home should be punished. Don’t just punish without explaining why the punishment is being handed down.
- Offer alternative behaviors: Give examples of other behaviors they could’ve exhibited to help them the next time they are faced with the same dilemma. They won’t get it right every time but remind them often of other more positive behaviors.
- Don’t take the fun away: The more aggressive and forceful we are as parents the harder our children work to make us happy. If they think we value their hits and runs harder than their ability to have fun and do their best they will focus more on the aggression than the other positive traits that come with teamwork.