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Increasing Anger and Violence in Children

Updated: Mar 20, 2020

What goes on in a child's mind?

Reported cases of teenage children inflicting violence on their school mates, teachers, parents etc. is on the rise and we seem to be having no clue. The closest of people are caught unawares and are under tremendous shock to find their own son, dearest friend, brother or family member being accused of such terrible crimes. The crimes we are talking here are not petty thefts or shop lifting but rape & murder, crimes that are planned, brutal and cruel and sometimes for absolutely no good reasons.

Why? Why is this happening? Why are our young children unable to control their anger? Or what exactly is leading them to end up committing such heinous of crimes that impact them for the rest of their life? These are some burning questions from which we cannot turn our backs anymore. As a society, are we providing an environment where our children can develop with sound mental health? Are we ourselves competent enough to manage our children in this ever changing times.

Somewhere as a society we need to revisit our roots of culture, traditions, values that were/are so ingrained into humanity and its values like tolerance, self-satisfaction, contentment, pursuit of true knowledge, spiritualism etc. But momentary satisfaction, selfish needs, immediate gratification, seeking quick money and materialistic success, blindly following escapism and the tremendous unwanted/untimely exposure are causing one and many to seek to drastic measures, i.e. giving in to frustration, anger and dissatisfaction resulting in extreme anger and violence.

All living beings especially humans seek emotional support, love and affection, acceptance, the key ingredients required to develop self-worth and self-esteem. It’s been established through research that people exhibiting anger and aggression actually desire love and time, the children in this context were not able to develop that because of lack of appropriate love and affection. Parents mostly these days are confused as to what love towards their child means. The parent child relationship has become a give and take relationship where a child thinks for e.g. “If I do my homework then I can demand a movie or a play-station” and the parent thinks that “oh my son has done so well let me pamper him with a trip to WOW or give him an iPhone”. In our counselling experience we are finding more and more that parents are unable to inculcate the essence of duty and responsibility in their children. At the same time children are also becoming more and more demanding.

It is entirely not necessary to acknowledge a child’s good deed with a material gift. There are so many different ways to appreciate your child. A child from the day it is born is smart it learns and picks from the behaviour it is receiving. So if it cries and howls and immediately is pacified by a cuddle (which it definitely needs from time to time) shall use this mechanism but then it is the only way it knows how to communicate and convey.

Similarly a child if screams and vails for a toy in the market and lies down on the ground throws tantrums and is definitely gifted with that toy, it’s a learning for him/her that this is how I get my things. But as a parent one needs to understand that they are in the driving seat not the child. From day one a parent has to keep creating a learning environment for the child that inculcates good behaviour and understanding.

A child needs to be explained the difference between needs and demands and which shall be fulfilled and which are conditional. There has to be a specific age when a smart phone is accessible to a child? These days’ parents are showing videos, pictures to their one month old (a complete disregard to the safety instructions provided on such wireless gadgets) and later they do not know how to take their child off from digital addiction.

For a child it is equally confusing since there is an unfiltered bombardment of information from all spheres as to how to operate, what to accept, what to reject, which is good, which is bad. At a very impressionable age a child is confronted with unscreened and unfiltered information that even their parents don’t know how to control. All this without the proper dosage of love, care and affection results into what we are observing today, the profoundly serious psychological state of our young children and for that matter the entire humankind.

A child requires nurturing, it seeks appreciation not criticism all the time. The child’s growing brain longs for knowledge, here knowledge needs to be understood as ways, mechanisms, information, behaviours, stimulations and practices that prepares him/her to understand life in varying context. Not the information that we misunderstand as knowledge and are easily just copying from looking around. I am sure all know that spoon feeding is only for babies not for growing thriving children.

Hence provide an environment to your child where there is involvement in real sense. Exchange of experiences, stories, time, sharing, caring, respect, values. Encourage your child to develop good habits of reading, writing, contributing to social causes and environment, having a healthy outlook towards life its value in general.

I am sure it’s not that difficult, and if we want our children to be responsible citizens then constructive efforts from the elders is a must.

Kindly share your comments and make this a slogan “Save our Children from anger and violence.”

Do refer to this series of articles on Adolescent Violence in Hindustan Times that tries to deconstruct the psychology behind violence in young children through burning cases.

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