The nature of children is such that when they are born, they feel the desire to play, to put on different roles, and reveal their desires and world perception in very unique ways, which often are outrageous and do not fit into the societal norms. The overwhelming majority of boys become very aggressive through their nurturing, and some parents find it extremely difficult to deal with. Unfortunately, such parents frequently get down to punishing their children physically in quite a harsh manner.
This type of behavior only shows the lack of understanding and tolerance towards their offspring on their behalf and usually makes the situation worse (if not in the beginning, then when children grow up, they are prone to have many problems with surrounding people). In order to avoid such a serious problem with a child, I would try to keep from doing the following steps.
The most important step which can prevent a boy to behave aggressively in most cases, in my opinion, would be to secure for him a stable, reliable and safe home with loving, though firm and attentive, discipline in the period of being a toddler and continuing up to the preschool period, as during this time the child’s behavioral attitudes are formed, and he is extremely susceptible to the reactions of surrounding people and situations that happen around him in general.
Each person who takes care of one’s child for any amount of time should be a great role model to follow. If it happens that I would need to attend to the aid of a baby-sitter or grandparents, then they have to observe the rules established in my way of the boy’s upbringing. In case of the opposite, they have to find a good response so the child will not be confused by differences in views in such sensitive age. Moreover, if the boy commits a wrongful act, the reprimand should be immediate so he can learn a good lesson of what is good to do and what is bad.
The other step would be the understanding of enormous importance of toys and games in children’s life. Boys as well as girls love to play very much, and the influence of these games cannot be undermined as children are taught how to share and communicate with each other. While playing, kids develop the ability to solve problems, think logically, plan and work out strategies, and cause and effect procedures. For most children, it is the main occupation during a long period of their life.
Unfortunately, many new toys of our time are not quite educational. Each year, we can see how a new wicked twist is added to the toys (skulls, plastic mummies, dolls that vomit). Despite this, such playthings are very popular. They tend to develop violence in the heads of little children. Of course, I cannot reject that it is common for boys to behave in an aggressive way as this paper is about; however, it does not mean that this natural outburst of aggression should be encouraged. It does not mean that the child will become a criminal in future, but let us think of the morals such a child will have while playing with guns and military vehicles or prostitute-like dolls all the time.
There is no single toy that does not bring certain education to the child. All of them teach something. The question just remains what message they carry. For example, when a girl plays with a doll, she often talks to the doll and then replies in the voice of the doll developing her communication skills in such a way. The girl can invite other friends to play together showing initiative and ability, desire to cooperate with others. She sets the table for a tea party showing everyone who sits where and what is going to happen next; that is how planning skills and strategic way of thinking are fostered. The girl likes to make up scenes when the dolls are sick or need help – in such a way she learns how to solve serious problems. She is responsible for her baby-doll and has to think how to behave with it and what consequences her behavior can have on the doll logically outweighing all pros and cons of her steps. In case the girl has a doll that can cry, she learns about cause and effect. The same can be told about boys and their toys.
The significance of toys in children’s upbringing is so crucial that I consider it to be the number one reason for promoting certain emotions, feelings and, therefore, behaviors of girls and boys. For example, famous Barbie dolls foster eating disorders and negative thoughts about girls’ appearance as the looks the Barbie doll has is usually impossible to attain. However, Barbies are also dentists, McDonald’s workers and doctors that show to the would-be women that beauty is not a fault, and being feminine does not mean to be shallow or not quite clever.
The next good example, which reveals the highly negative sides of the wrongfully effective selection of toys for boys, is “G. I. Joe” commercial which was released in the 1960s. The commercial depicts soldiers with all their ammunition and happy boys playing with it. It shows us the war in a very positive light which can easily lead to boys’ perception of the war as of something very good. Unfortunately, such hidden impact of the child’s subconsciousness can have fatal effects in the future as the child learns that the war is a good thing to happen so why not to provoke it?
On the other hand, the “G. I. Joe”, Superman, Power Rangers and other similar toys educate masculinity in would-be men. They teach them about ‘bad guys’ who have to be defeated in order to protect those who children love. Various Rescue Heroes allow boys to learn a vital lesson that poor and weaker human beings should be protected, and that they need to help those who are in danger.
Quality of toys matters a lot. Qualitative toys show children that hard work has a high value, and it is good to expect the best from life. Therefore, the first thing I would do to counter-act the aggressive attitude of my son would lie in careful selection of toys that I will buy for him. There is a wide variety of things to buy nowadays, which can allow us to choose only those items which will not foster negative behavior of a boy helping in such a way to diminish aggressiveness of a child who can suffer enough from other bad influences without wrong toys to add up to the problem.
The next step I would like to follow in the upbringing of my son is that children never know rules until they are taught them. Owing to this, I find the behavior of certain parents highly outrageous when they make their offspring carry out the punishment due to the commitment of a wrongful act, which the children did not know to be wrongful even if it seemed to be quite explicit. For instance, toddlers are inclined to touch and explore everything. Knowing this, I would hide all valuable items which can be broken, lost or spoilt. I find it useful to establish a special nook for a boy where he can play, paint, draw or do any other developing activities that do not harm his health or mine.
As I have already referred to the importance of a loving, firm and attentive discipline, I would like to tackle this subject once again. Discipline cannot be carried out only in those cases when the child has misbehaved. He should be always supported in the good deeds and shown a great deal of affection and gratitude in everything positive that he managed to do. The sincere and open smile of a child or his revelation of love should be noticed and responded in the same manner.
It is crucial that the child could see a good example of nice manners at the table while receiving guests, talking on the phone, etc. The feeling of respect and encouragement from my side will help my son to learn, change if necessary, and learn to listen and help others.
It is vital never to forget about the individual approach to each person. If this boy is not the first child in my family, I should not treat him in the same way I treated other children as those methods can either do not work with my son or even harm him or worsen the situation. In my point of view, the parent should be very flexible and change other approaches if the old one does not work.
Most boys have little ability for the natural self-control. Most parents usually share that biting, hitting and kicking are the most widespread manifestations of boys’ aggressiveness. This is the duty of a parent to teach a child not to do it all under the influence of strong emotions such as anger, instead use words to show what he feels. Moreover, it is vital for a boy to learn the difference between imagined and real insults, and the appropriate standing for his own rights and applying rude force owing to anger.
The most successful and also simple way to teach such lessons, in my point of view, will be a constant supervision of the boy in his interaction with other people, especially with his playmates. When a disagreement is comparatively minor, parents should give their boy the opportunity to figure out the problem on his own so that he can develop confidence, persuasive and communicative skills, and tolerance. However, as soon as the situation gets acute (physical fight does not stop even after a warning or when the boy obviously cannot control his anger anymore), parents or supervisors should intervene at once. When children calm down, I would consider appropriate to forbid them to play together for that time and explain that it does not matter who is to blame for the quarrel, fighting is out of place and can never be used to solve any problem again.
One of the very useful and at the same time the most difficult lessons to teach an aggressive or inclined to be so boy is how to deal with his own anger, how to stay calm and reasonable when he wants to tear his opponent apart. And the younger the boy, the more difficult it is to explain it; however, the better he will try to perform it. The older the boy, the easier he will understand it, but in most cases, childish arrogance and insolence will hinder him to perform the instruction properly. In the period of adolescence, this problem doubles up as the boy’s emotions and ambitions combined with the increase of frequency of interactions in the society usually take over the responsibility and reasonable thinking.
To alleviate this problem, the following lessons are vital to be taught to a boy:
- saying a firm “no” with such tone of voice which does not leave any other resolution;
- turning his back on the offender;
- finding compromises as a choice over a fight.
The sooner the boy understands that it is more effective and welcoming to learn how to settle conflictive situations with the help of words in a civilized manner, the better ability to avoid physical violence he will develop. To speed up this process, examples of ‘grown-up’ behavior can be very useful, especially if they are used in terms of praising the boy on a good deed. The boy needs to learn that gentleness and kindness are rewarded whereas hitting, biting, and kicking are punished and severely disapproved.
My own behavior around the son has to be near to perfect. Even when the boy dislikes mother’s or father’s behavior, it is likely that he will still copy it in his way, at least the limits of what can be done and what cannot will be formed according to his parents’ treatment of him, each other, and all other people around them. Because of this, it is crucial to do everything possible to control my own temper. When the boy sees a quiet and peaceful display of anger or other negative emotions, he will probably behave in the same way.
In case of a misdeed, the boy should be explained the wrongfulness of his actions in such a way that his personal dignity will not be hurt. However, this explanation should be never delayed, and the responsibility of the bad deeds of the son has to be well understood by him. Otherwise, such situations will occur one after another, and if the parent is not able to explain effectively why they should be stopped (no physical punishment is allowed in no way in order to avoid psychological traumas), the boy can lose the trust into the seriousness of a parent’s teachings and pay little, if no, attention at all.
The last significant point to note will be an abstinence from the constant comparing of the boy to all the other boys. This mistake is very common among American parents who think that the best way to teach the child is to show the outstanding result in something of their neighbor, son’s classmate, or even worse, the character from the movie. Each person is individual, and the boy should feel it from his parents very well. Comparing the child to the other children, parents show the lack of understanding, respect, and undermine their offspring’s trust into them as sons and daughters usually decide to avoid telling fathers and mothers about things that happen in their lives.
To conclude, I would like to say that teaching your overly-emotional boy to behave in the right way can be quite an unpleasant process. However, if not conducted in the effective way, it can cause many serious problems both to you and to the boy, and impact his way of making decisions in future. The more responsibility we take on ourselves to provide good education on manners to our aggressive boy at the moment when the conflict is still fresh, the better results we will obtain in future, and the less nervous breakdowns or heart problems will bother our life.