Aggression is any behavior that is hostile, destructive or violent. Its intended is to harm, injure or damage a person or a target object. Aggression in human beings can be blamed on very many things that affect the growth and development of the mind. Such triggers include fear, family difficulties, emotional trauma and the media.
This research helps show that television does not significantly cause aggression but there are other factors help in the development of aggressive behaviors although the television cannot be ruled out to contribute slightly.
Children learn behaviors through watching and imitating others peoples’ behavior as they try to equate with them. Watching the violence on the television is suggested to slightly increase violent behaviors in children, although those already in violent behavior are greatly influenced by the media as they try learning defensive ways to protect themselves from any aggression.
Aggression is manifested in children through swearing, shouting, throwing and kicking whatever is around them and it thus needs to be measured to determine its levels for the proper control measures to be taken so as to avoid further injury.
The measurement can be done using a checklist, observation for any noticeable changes in the previously known behavior; a subtype scale may as well be used to determine the aggression levels (Berkowitz, 1993, pp1-25).
Aggression in children is learned through enactive learning of behavior as well as observation learning by watching others. In cases where parents resolve differences through fights the children learn to use aggression as a way of dominating over others from their early days and carry on with this behavior to their later lives.
Aggression portrayed in the television is jus but fantasized by children but in actual sense has minimal contribution to aggression and other related violent behaviors evident in children.
Causes of Aggression
Aggression in children results from very many factors that affect them as they grow up. Some of these include:
Unfulfilled human needs and other personal desires are the one of the leading causes of aggression in children. The desire for children own what their parents cannot afford like being in a fancy home, getting education from expensive schools in relation to their peers and other desires result to aggression towards those children whose parents are able to afford such luxuries.
Children should thus be taught to be realistic with live and get content with whatever is available within them. Failure to control such desires results to aggression ranging from petty theft to even massacres. Aggression is not part of human life, but it is a reaction to circumstances that frustration on the acquisition of basic needs that have not been fulfilled.
Pain and discomforts caused to children by their parents and other elder people in an attempt to discipline them may cause aggressive behaviors to be manifested since the child cannot fight back but will direct their anger and frustration to other children of their age or young than them who cannot fight them back.
It is thus important to administer pain is a light manner. Hot environmental conditions trigger discomforts that make children aggressive.
Frustration is a major cause of aggression in children; children whose achievements do not much with those of their peers are usually frustrated and end up into aggressive behaviors so as to cover up for their failures. This may either in school or other social activities where children are competing.
Birth complications increase aggressive behavior latter in childhood though there is direct link. Aggressive behavior develops when birth complications combine with other factors such as disadvantaged families that cannot fully provide for their children and poor parenting. Birth complications are believed to result to damage in the nervous system that affects the brain function.
This is referred to as brain dysfunction. Impaired brain function predisposes the child to aggressive behaviors later in their lives because their brain is poorly functioning (Berkowitz, 1993, pp 45-169).
Brain dysfunction results to aggression when the prefrontal region of the brain which controls and regulates emotional reactions is functioning poorly and cannot keep aggressive impulses in check. This results to increased likelihood of aggressive acts.
Some situational factors such as exposure to alcohol impair ones judgment on making decisions. Alcohol disrupts the information making processes and this is even serious in children who get drunk they view an event as a purposeful one, and act more aggressively.
Children who are desperate in live tend to be more aggressive. Desperation can be a result of massive poverty, crime or even violence situations within the community where the child is being raised in.
If the rich and powerful individuals in the society are drug dealers and gangers and those who live straight are poor then the children watching them may conclude that to succeed in life one has to become a drug dealer or a gangster which triggers aggressive behaviors in children.
Consequences of Aggression.
Aggression has both positive and negative consequences to both the individual and those around them. One of the positive elements of aggression is that it preserves and protects an individual from other aggressive individuals; it also helps the child to increase their dominance in the social environment through suppressing their peers and subjecting them to their way of thinking.
The negative consequences of aggression are worse to both the perpetrator and the victim. Children who are aggressive in school are more likely to be rejected by their peers because they cannot accept to be dominated by them. In worst cases aggression can result fines, loss of freedom due imprisonment. Such cases make the affected person even more aggressive and can engage in criminal acts.
Aggression makes the victim lack confidence and trust with themselves because others are belittling them. This makes them develop aggressive behaviors as they try to cope with the aggressor .
The child within a school setup lacks trust with every around them since they view all the other people as untrustworthy and out to oppress them. This makes them feel unsafe and insecure (Berkowitz, 1993, pp 200-290 ).
Aggression results to the development of an aggressive personality on the aggressor. This type of personality develops to worse aggressive behavior as the child develops to adulthood. Aggressors have a lower intellectual achievement in their academic live because their mind cannot concentrate on one specific activity rather their minds are spread across a number of activities.
Control of Aggression
Aggression can be controlled by giving children positive attention for desired behaviors so as to reinforce it. Parents and children caretakers should always realize that anger is a common emotion in children and the way to deal with it determines the levels of aggression in children.
Parents should be good role models when their children display aggressive behaviors. By becoming upset and angry when dealing with an aggressive child makes them more aggressive.
By providing many physical activities such as exercise and outside play helps aggressive children to direct their energies to better and more constructive activities and avoid releasing unwanted emotions.
Violent television programs and toys that encourage aggressive behavior such as the guns, sticks should be eliminated. Children usually imitate what they see rather than what they are told so through avoiding some activities that may escalate and promote aggression and redirect these children to appropriate activities.
To cut defiant behavior and replace it with positive experience parents should be able to play with their children, learn how to recognize and respond to their needs and develop and mend the relationship.
This will help them identify any unwanted aggressive behaviors that may develop due to the feeling of being neglected, some parents do not play with their children and need to learn how to connect with them, recognize and respond to their needs in the most appropriate way.
Rules and commands should be explicit, constant, firm and brief. Children learn their mistakes through comparing the past to the present mistakes and how they where dealt with/It is thus important to approach a similar way of administering punishments for similar mistakes without disparities.
Aggression needs a firm and consistent response for any misbehavior. Shouting out or uttering a string of dire threats to an aggressive only makes the child more resistant to any change of behavior that you wish to suppress and helps develop aggression.
Planning and avoiding places which trigger aggression in children such as supermarket where a child grabs whatever is around them helps in minimizing aggression behaviors incase the child does not get what they wish to have (Berkowitz, 1993, pp 350-465)..
Human beings are not born violent but rather bent towards brutality and self-destruction due to their aggressive behaviors. Aggression is usually a result of unfair environments that frustrate and degrade the human dignity. It’s difficult to eliminate aggression entirely but can be reduced through the creation of free societies that encourage prosperity by providing moral education to the young people and clearly explaining to them that aggression has no importance in the long-term.
Aggression like all unwanted behaviors involves biological forces and social environment that regulate behavior. Aggression is thus an outcome of the regulations between the external and internal stimuli.
The television should not be fully ignored as a cause towards aggressiveness in children but the society must play a communal role in providing a good environment that does not promote frustration in the lives of the young children.
Parents should ensure that they provide their children with almost all the basic needs within their reach and spare enough time to relate with their children so as to learn them as well as discover any aggressive behaviors that may be developing and stop them before they get to distractive levels.
Berkowitz, L (1993).Aggression: Its causes, consequences, and control. New York; McGraw-Hill
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