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Rebellious children

Rebellious children

What is meant by a rebellious child?

It is considered that a child is rebellious when it presents conflicting behaviors , badly seen by society, aggressive and, sometimes, violent, which are perfectly observable. Behavioral problems during childhood are something that is repeated frequently. Children challenge their parents, challenge them, disobey established rules and answer. It is very important, however, to distinguish whether the child’s behavior falls within the usual casuistry, that is, if it is a rebellious child, or if, on the contrary, the child presents a certain behavior disorder that makes it aggressive and violent.

Difference between rebellion and violence

Childhood and rebellion are closely related, so a rebellious child need not necessarily be identified as problematic or conflictive. This is what the psychologists Josep Cornellá and Álex Llusent say in the study on Aggressiveness and Violence in Children and Adolescents ,carried out by the Department of Health of the Generalitat of Catalonia; According to the report, it is wrong to confuse aggression and violence, since the former is understood as a natural physiological pattern that includes behaviors with minimal negative effects on the psychological development of children, and which represents a temporary behavior whose intensity and frequency usually decrease as a result of minimal or no intervention on the part of the parents or educators.

Violent behavior, on the other hand, refers to those behaviors and actions carried out with the intention of causing physical or psychological harm or to another person. Violence, according to the study, is closely related to maladapative aggressiveness , which is not regulated or uninhibited, which presents a clear disproportion between the causative stimulus (what makes the individual aggressive) and the reaction. The maladaptive aggression associated with conduct disorder, understood as a repetitive pattern of aggression, lack of remorse, rejection of rules , etc., and usually symptoms of an internal fault in the child.

Symptoms of aggression in a child

As it grows and develops, the child will present a different behavior in which rebellion and defiance will be present. However, the problem of behavior is manifested when aggressive and violent situations appear that tend to evolve according to age and that do reveal the existence of an internal fault that should be solved:

  • Children from 3 to 7 years old : According to the study, there is a defiant attitude towards adults that manifests itself in the form of disobedience to certain instructions, tantrums, bad moods, physical aggressions (especially to other children), arguments where people are blamed others for erroneous acts that they themselves have committed, and tendency to provoke the anger of others.
  • Children from 8 to 11 years : In addition to the above characteristics, you can begin to observe insults, theft of belongings to other people inside and outside the home, lies, frequent and persistent transgression of the rules, physical fights, intimidation to other children, cruelty to animals, provocation of fires and other patterns of aggressive and violent behavior.

In general, most children do not follow this development that reveals the existence of aggressive behaviors motivated by an internal problem; However, it is necessary to detect this type of behavior at a young age in order to prevent its development and the emergence of serious conflict situations.

Causes and risk factors

When talking about alterations in behavior and behavior that are motivated by something in particular, it is difficult to distinguish between precise causes and risk factors that may have led to the appearance of violence and aggression.

Individual factors

  • Genetic

    According to Cornellá and Llusent, it is very difficult to establish the extent to which the genetic factor influences the development of aggressive behavior. It has been observed that violent behaviors are more frequent in a child whose father uses violence than in another whose father is not violent; however, it is very complicated to establish if the cause is due to a genetic factor or to the education received and the values ​​transmitted in the family environment.

  • Difficult temperament

    The child manifests an absolute lack of control over himself that translates into excessively abrupt responses and difficulty adapting to any environment.

  • Alterations in affective bonding

    Especially if they occur in the first six months of life.

  • Exposure to neurotoxins during pregnancy

    Tobacco or alcohol are the most common.

  • Poor school performance

    Poor performance in school causes frustration and can generate conflict.

Family factors

  • Family education

    Especially, the father’s. If the education that parents give their children is based on a coercive style, with little vigilance and attention and with a low level of involvement, it is very likely that the child will develop an aggressive behavior that, on occasion, responds to an attempt to call the attention of their relatives. On the other hand, if educators in the family are too intransigent, intrusive and employ an oppressive and punitive discipline, the child can develop a behavior of rejection with violent manifestations.

  • Alterations in normal family functioning

    separation and divorce badly managed, domestic violence or situations of conjugal conflict (excess of arguments, insults, disrespect, etc.).

  • Socioeconomic and family structure factors

    A low socioeconomic level and lack of resources, as well as very large families or the age position between siblings can also generate behavioral problems in the child. The arrival of a younger brother can provoke jealousy and trigger rebellious behavior in the child.

  • Physical and sexual abuse .

Social factors

  • College and education

    According to the study, it has been found that in schools where there is a precarious organization, where teachers are constantly rotated and there is no frequent contact with parents, situations of behavior disorders are generated in the students and there are more levels of aggressiveness.

  • Friendships and social relationships

    Friendships and the immediate environment play an essential role in the construction of children’s education and values. In conflictive neighborhoods and with few resources there are higher rates of violence.

  • Media

    The scenes of violence that appear on television, as well as some information, produce insensitivity and transmit the learning of violent behaviors and aggressive attitudes. In addition, programs that include erotic scenes often show contempt towards women.

  • Videogames

    Those video games that have violent content cause an increase in aggressiveness, especially in children between 4 and 8 years of age.

Treatment and prevention

Although there are a series of measures that act as a treatment to contain aggressiveness and suppress violent and aggressive behaviors in children, such as family interventions and training in parental skills, cognitive-behavioral techniques, techniques to improve the child’s interpersonal activities and relationships, or psychopharmacological treatments. , the best is prevention . A good education by parents and educators will help control and suppress the misbehavior of rebellious children and prevent them from reaching the extreme case of developing a behavior disorder that makes them violent. Cornellá and Llusent establish a series of recommendations to deal with this type of situation:

  • Promote the game and the positive relationship linked to it.
  • Praise and reward socially acceptable behavior.
  • Be clear and concise with the orders and rules that are given to the child. Disagreements between the parents in regard to education, the disavowals between the parents and the absence of clear limits can confuse the child, who responds aggressively.
  • Faced with an inappropriate behavior, it is convenient to manifest logical and calm consequences.
  • Reorganization of the child’s time planning to prevent problems. Sometimes, the location of the brothers in separate rooms solves serious problems of faternal rivalry.
  • Work with the child on problem-solving skills and the ability to develop alternative solutions in situations of frustration.
  • Possess good communication skills, a sense of humor, a sense of autonomy and a positive sense of independence and self-efficacy, high self-esteem and impulse control.
  • Have a support system (family, teachers and environment).

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Rebellious children


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