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Aggressive Behaviors Betty Y. Ashbaker Brigham Young University.

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Presentation on theme: "Aggressive Behaviors Betty Y. Ashbaker Brigham Young University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Aggressive Behaviors Betty Y. Ashbaker Brigham Young University

2 What is Aggressive Behavior Defined as: Actions That Are Perceived as a Threat to Self and/or Others.

3 Two Types of Aggressive Patterns: Proactive aggression, characterized by: –goal-oriented aggressive behaviors –unprovoked intentions to harm or coerce others –cool-headedness –overvalued use of aggression –underestimates of victim impact Origins in home and neighborhood environments that value and reinforce aggression

4 Aggressive Behaviors Reactive aggression, characterized by: –Hyper-vigilance for aggressive cues –biased interpretation of ambiguous cues –narrow solution generation ability –predominance of anger-arousing cognitive scripts –hot-blooded anger or fear responses –over-reaction to minor provocations Origins in home environments and neighborhoods that are physically abusive, unpredictable, and fear-engendering

5 Why are children aggressive? Sometimes children do not have the social skills or self-control to manage their behavior. These must be taught. When children can't find the words to deal with aggressive feelings or are not encouraged to express themselves, they become frustrated. At other times, children cannot cope with growing levels of anger in themselves or in others. In both cases, children need to learn acceptable ways to assert themselves and to learn coping skills.

6 What does it look like? Infants –The most common complaint with infants is their crying or biting, both signs of aggression. Crying is one way children talk. They let you know when they are happy (coo and babble) or when they need something (cry). We should find out what they need and provide it, whether it be a dry diaper, food, or warm touches.

7 Toddlers –In toddlers, the most aggressive acts occur over toys. –To adults it looks like fighting, but to children it's learning how to get along. They have not learned how to say, "Let's play." –The overuse of a "time-out" or a "thinking chair" can cause children to act more aggressively the next time. However, turning the incident into a punishment or control by force can cause the child to think of ways to strike back. It may help to ask the child to rest from the activity that creates aggression.

8 Preschoolers –With loving guidance, parents will see children from 2 to 5 years of age decrease their physical aggression as they begin to use words to communicate needs. Preschoolers are self-centered and have not developed all the brain connections needed to see another's point of view. Young children see all or nothing. They do not understand that someone is not all good or not all bad. Children have a hard time thinking about the future or planning for it. They need concrete guides like picture lists to remember what to do and how to act. Young children cannot sort out fantasy from reality and get mixed up about what is real on TV. Children with difficult temperaments have difficulty reading the small cues that other children send out in social situations. have difficulty understanding the situation for what it really is.

9 Elementary In 1st to 3rd grade, most children lose the impulse to attack others. An aggressive child may strike a sibling, but seldom would he/she hit a friend at school or on the playground. Door slamming and foot stomping may occur at home, but most 3rd graders have enough control to contain themselves at school. Some children continue aggression between 4th and 9th grade. Boys display aggression in the form of direct confrontations and physical attacks. Girls seldom display physical aggression in this same age range, but act aggressively by shunning, ostracizing, and defaming others. Children who are the most aggressive in 4th grade tend to continue to be aggressive thereafter. However, they can learn coping strategies and self-control.

10 Older children –Even a child who has grown out of his aggressive ways can be provoked when in an oppressive environment, Children who have been handled harshly, inconsistently, and with little consideration may have built up anger. This can lead to mean, hateful, hurtful, and violent behavior in an attempt to strike back. –As children age, they take their lead from peers, but peers can reinforce an aggressor's actions. If peers show aggression or do not correct aggressive acts, it is encouraged. –Many aggressive children have a network of aggressive friends. Although these clusters may encourage and strengthen antisocial behavior, they also appear to provide friendships and social support. –Even if parents help control the child's aggressive behavior— other things influence aggression. Neighborhoods and media may provide aggressive environments where children witness aggression and violence.

11 What to do? Respond quickly Talk about the behavior and how to respond better the next time Stick to the plan Reinforce responsibilities Reward good behavior Limit TV time (aggression breeds aggression) Seek help Communicate Make sure children are supervised Model appropriate behavior

12 Applied Behavior Analysis The science of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), “the systematic extension of the principles of operant psychology to problems and issues of social importance” (Wolf & Risley, 1968)

13 Elements of ABA Person-centered planning Functional assessment The application of positive intervention strategies Multifaceted interventions Environment focused procedures with meaningful outcomes in employment, education, society inclusion Focus on ecological validity and systems-level interventions (Carr & Sidener, 2002)

14 Steps for Applying ABA Target behavior are identified Intervention is implementation Data collection Alternation of the plan

15 References Dodge, K. A. (1991). The structure and function of reactive and proactive aggression. In D. J. Pepler & K. H. Rubin (Eds.), Development and treatment of childhood aggression. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Dodge, K. A., & Newman, J. P. (1981). Biased decision-making processes in aggressive boys. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 90, Lochman, J. E., & Dodge, K. A. (1994). Social-cognitive processes of severely violent, moderately aggressive, and nonaggressive boys. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology,62, Dodge, K.A., Price, J., Bachorowski, J., & Newman, J. (1990). Hostile attributional biases in severely aggressive adolescents. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 99, DeBord, K. (2000). Childhood aggression: Where does it come from? How can it be managed?. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension Service


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