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Kids Who Fight

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A certain amount of pushing, grabbing, and even punching is normal when young children get together. Most of the time it's nothing to worry about. Injuries are few; disputes are soon forgotten.

Coping Equals Aggression

Some toddlers and preschoolers, however, get into repeated and escalating tussles. For them, aggression becomes their main approach to coping with almost any situation. They are not bullies in fact, they sometimes seem to pick hopeless fights with children who are much larger and older than they are.

In some children this aggressiveness appears to be biological, and may even be present before birth. (Some of these aggressive children were seemingly restless fetuses who kicked more than the average.) As toddlers and preschoolers, their developing nervous systems do not seem to let them control their impulses as much as their age mates do. With others, it's more a matter of their needing to learn and practice social skills.

When Aggression Works

In other areas of their lives, aggressiveness is often rewarded. A child who cuts ahead of the line to go down the slide at the playground will likely get to use that slide the most. The one who acts up in preschool will probably get extra attention from the teacher. So being aggressive toward a playmate is but a small step to success. From a child's point of view, the difference between assertiveness and aggression may not be clear. Also, representations of aggressiveness in media often seem to be rewarded, so kids get a mixed message.

 
 

 

 
 
 
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