How to deal with a childs abusive behaviour

Dealing with a Child who is behaving Differently

When a child becomes abusive and exhibits violent behavior, it’s a huge red flag and should never go unnoticed or unchecked. Sudden outbursts of uncontrolled rage isn’t just a phase as some presume and is usually the first external manifestation of deep-seated resentment and anger. Without necessary preventive mechanisms, this problem behavior can quickly spiral out of control.

Let’s take a look at some of the Strategies you can use in mitigating this problem behavior:

📌Exerting Power- Sometimes children resort to name calling and verbal abuse to check how far they can push their parents before they flip. Or they might exhibit violent behavior as a method of releasing frustration and anger. Whatever might be the cause, parents and caregivers must deal with such instances with tact rather than punishing the child as this might trigger the child to become increasingly difficult and stubborn.

📌Conflict at Home- Children reared in dysfunctional homes where parents are either absent or are mired in marital conflict is a hotbed for disaster. Children feel powerless in such a scenario and find no other alternative than to lash out at authority. Rather than blaming the child and subjecting them to disciplinary measures, its always a much better option to reason with them and let them know that they are not to blame. Sometimes children hold themselves responsible for family conflict and become violent and angry as a result of it.

📌Heart of the Matter In a high conflict situation, its usually the children who face the onslaught. Since each child’s coping mechanisms are different, they might exhibit their frustration in various ways. As a society, we are accustomed to finding an instant solution and sometimes children are termed as “difficult” or someone with “learning disabilities” or “problems with controlling rage” and so forth. Its so important to do a deep dive and understand the set of circumstances that contributed to a child displaying a particular “problem behavior” and then devise specific strategies to deal with that, rather than prescribing a treatment that has nothing to with the cause.

📌Letting the Abuse SlideSometimes parents might ignore abusive statements or name calling. Unfortunately, this behavior escalates since this wasn’t curtailed at the outset. Children feel they have the upper hand and use it to their advantage. Refusing to address this behavior, assuming mistakenly that this is a form of love and giving in to a child’s demands every single time are huge mistakes. Parents and care givers must exercise firmness and discipline to give the child a “feel” of who is the authority figure. Children must realize that violent behavior will not be “indulged” under any circumstances. 

📌Excessive / Unbalanced Love Can there be something called as Excessive love? Yes, you heard that right. Giving in to a child’s demands every time, fulfilling all their wishes and refusing to acknowledge the required change in their child’s Behavior is not the best parenting. This also leads to violent behavior and irreverence towards authority figures. Abusive behavior doesn’t happen overnight. Exercising restraint and discipline never goes out of style and must an indispensable element in parenting.

📌Maintaining Appearances In a bid to maintain peace at home, parents and caregivers try to placate an angry child before the rage begins. They cajole and request the child to calm down which only serves to exacerbate an already fuming child. Rage and anger can only be counteracted with a calm disposition and a No- Nonsense attitude. There’s no other way.

📌Punishment Gone Awry- Children who are subjected to excessive punishment at a young age may exhibit violent behavior as a method of getting back control and respect. Excessive punishment, withholding affection and treating a child with disrespect can have an irreversible impact on a child’s psyche. Sometimes, the effects are so damaging that a child may resort to inflicting self harm. This requires a detailed in-depth analysis and prompt medical intervention. 

📌Setting Boundaries –  Its very crucial to establish the boundaries and teach children to respect these boundaries at the outset. Having said that, there are multiple causes that might lead to a child being difficult and abusive. 

There’s no strict criteria that fits all and it demands an in-depth analysis of each specific situation to understand the reasoning that drives such behavior. In the end, what matters is that children learn how to solve their problems appropriately without resorting to violence and aggression. They must know that there are far better mechanisms at their disposal. Mechanisms that if mastered, can help them in fulfilling their true potential and lead fulfilling lives.


Sajid Ahamed is a “Certified Trainer of NLP” and organizes John Grinder approved New Code NLP and NLP Master Practitioner Certifications  Courses in India and the Middle East. He has more than 1000 hours of coaching experience and is an ICF accredited Professional Certified Coach (PCC). Apart from the Trainings, he covers a  wide niche of coaching including Relationship Coaching, Parenting Coaching, Leadership Coaching.

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