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Dealing with Aggression

Smacking and shouting are usually discussed in terms of parenting, but sometimes it is children who lash out. Mariella and guests discuss the causes and consequences of aggression.

Aggression peaks at the age of 2. It can be a good thing on a rugby pitch, in a boxing ring or in business and we associate it, perhaps wrongly, with boys rather than girls. Most children become less aggressive as they grow older but not all kids are able to manage their anger and distress. Anyone who's watched brothers and sisters scrapping on the back seat of a car, knows aggressive behaviour is part of family life. Even if home is an oasis of calm, children will still have to deal with aggressive classmates at school. And for many children, aggression and serious violence is inescapable and it can fuel their own behaviour.

As they discuss furious toddlers, warring siblings, school exclusions and serious harm, Mariella and her guests explore the roots and impact of children's aggression. Questions for discussion include why some children are more aggressive than others, whether parents respond differently to aggression in boys and girls, whether violence is addictive, how parents can best deal with meltdowns and intimidation and where to draw the line between normal sibling rough and tumble and unacceptable attacks. As levels of school exclusions and knife attacks rise, contributors also explore possible links between children's aggression at home and school and rising violent crime among teenagers.

Joining Mariella are Child Psychologist Laverne Antrobus, the author Tim Samuels, Seamus Oates from the TBAP Multi-Academy Trust of Alternative Provision schools, Debra Spencer of the University of Cambridge and Jane Griffiths from Break4Change.

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43 minutes