How to Handle Stubborn and Aggressive Child?

How to Handle Stubborn and Aggressive Child

Learning to handle a stubborn and aggressive child can come up with unique

challenges for the parents. Parents probably have dealt with child’s tantrums at various

ages. Regulating parents’ as well as the child’s emotions is a skill parent should learn. Some

children take longer to master self-control than others. But, dealing with a child’s aggression

and stubbornness effectively will create a better future for the child.

Related Blog: Child Counselling: Types, Benefits, Importance, Challenges

What is Aggressive Behaviour in a Child?

Aggressive behavior in a child is when a child reacts in hostile or aggressive ways

towards peers, siblings, or adults. This can include verbal as well as physical aggression.

There are many reasons why your child might be aggressive. They might be feeling anxious

or unsafe because of some significant change that happened in their life. They could be experiencing peer relationship difficulties. They might be having difficulty expressing how and what they feel or what their wishes are or they could just be trying to get their way.

Children with conditions such as autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

(ADHD), Learning disabilities, Mental retardation might also display aggressive behavior

when they feel out of control, stimulated or anxious, or when they’re finding the

environment different or difficult to process.

Following are the few characteristics that a stubborn or an aggressive child will display –

  • Attention seeking behavior
  • Throwing temper tantrums
  • Physical symptoms such as hitting themselves, and others.
  • Need to be independent
  • Being bossy at times.

10 Ways To Deal With Your Stubborn and Aggressive Child

Struggling with a child’s aggression problems can be stressful and demoralizing for the parents. It saps parents’ resilience, optimism, competence, and goodwill. It can redefine the parent-child relationship destructively, and prompt you to think about your child in ways that undermine your ability to cope.

Here are a few helpful tips for dealing with the child’s aggression or stubbornness –

1. Set An Example

If you want your child to be less aggressive and stubborn, you as a parent need to watch your behavior. If you as a parent keep on showing aggression to your child or any family member or friend or colleague, the child is going to model the same. Always watch your  behavior around your child. One of the best ways to teach him/her appropriate behavior is to control your temper. Start expressing anger more productively. If you express your anger in quiet, peaceful ways, your child probably will follow your example.

2. Understand Your Child’s Perspective

To better understand your stubborn child’s behavior, try to look at the situation from their point of view. Ask them questions about why s/he feels so. Put yourself in your child’s shoes and try to imagine what they must be going through to behave in such a way. The more you know your child, the better you can deal with their stubbornness and aggression. Show empathy to the child. For example, if your child is hitting others in school, ask him various questions about why Does he hits others? What makes him angry? Instead of just scolding him. Enter healthy distractions and limit unhealthy ones – While teaching your child other ways to respond to the anger, there’s nothing wrong with distracting him at times or trying another approach. As long as you’re not Bribing them; him to behave differently by offering more screen time. For, example, there’s nothing wrong with intentionally changing his focus. While changing his focus, make sure you are not entering unhealthy distracters such as more screen time, offering sweets, etc. You can also give rewards wherever needed. Instead of focusing on financial or material goals, you can try rewards like half an hour of special time with parents, grandparents, or friends, choosing what the family eats for dinner, or selecting what the family watches for movie night.

3. Appreciate Calm Behavior

When you think your child has reacted well instead of showing temper tantrums or aggressiveness, appreciate the child by saying sentences such as “You did well this time, keep it up!” The child will feel encouraged and might continue showing the positive behavior from time to time.

4. Identify The Child’s Triggers And Help Him Name The Emotions

 Identify what makes your child angry? what tantrums does s/he throw when angry, and how does s/he reacts? Along with that, help the child name the emotions. Sometimes, the child might not be angry, but frustrated. Naming emotions will lead to dealing better with the emotions.

5. Set Clear Boundaries

Few boundaries need to be set clearly for your child. They should understand that in a few cases, No means No. Even if they show any aggression, they need to understand that my parents are not going to change their opinions despite my aggression. Parents also need to be on the same page about setting clear boundaries. Parents also need to communicate with their family members about the pre-set boundaries so that the boundaries will be clear to everyone.

6. Negotiate With Them

Sometimes, it is necessary to negotiate with your children. It is common for them to act out when they aren’t getting what they want. If you want them to listen to you, you need to know what’s stopping them from doing so. You can start by asking a few questions such as, “What is bothering you?” “Is something the matter?” or “Do you want anything?” to get them to talk about it. This informs them that their parents respect their wishes and are willing to consider them. Negotiation need not necessarily mean that you always accept their demands. It’s all about being considerate and practical. For example, your child may not be willing to do the homework for a set hour. Rather than insisting, try and negotiate a time that suits both of you.

7. Talk With Your Child

Once your child has calmed down, discuss the situation with them gently and kindly. Ask if your child can tell you what made them so angry. Explain that it’s natural to feel angry sometimes, but it’s not acceptable to push, hit, kick or bite when you’re feeling that way.

Together, you could think up better ways for your child to handle anger, or any other negative feelings such as finding an adult to help, counting to 10, taking deep breaths, or walking away from the situation for a minute or two. Help your child understand that just saying how they’re feeling can help. For example, they could say,” I’m angry because you called me fat”; instead of acting aggressively. For younger children, it’s acceptable to teach them how to say a firm & say no instead of lashing out. The most important thing is that your child uses words instead of violence to get their point across.

If your child’s reluctant to talk about the incident, or can’t find the words to explain it yet, it’s best not to force them. Instead, you could sit down quietly together and read a book or listen to your favorite music that deals with feeling upset or angry. There are lots of wonderful books available that can help children manage big emotions, such as anger, fear, and frustration.

8. Don’t Hesitate To Ask For Help From An Expert

 If you think, you as a parent can’t deal with your child’s aggression, feel free to ask for help from a counselor. Don’t hesitate. Anger is normal. You just need to deal with it correctly.

9. Set Realistic Expectations And Short-Term Goals

Children have shorter attention spans. They need some extra time to process the information. If you tell your child to NEVER show temper tantrums, children are very less likely to follow it. Instead, try saying – “I am sure you will not be showing any temper tantrums today” By saying so, Parents set a short-term goal and kids feel relieved and feel that it’s easy to follow this just for today. Thus, the likelihood to show temper tantrums decreases day to day.

10. Say No Assertively

When you are setting clear boundries, saying No is important. But, the way parents say it might hurt the child. Thus, it’s better to say no assertively, without hurting the child immediately. In this way, the likelihood of a child listening to you will increase.

Why Is My Child So Angry and Aggressive?

Genetics and other biological factors also play a role in anger/aggression. The environment is a contributing as well. Trauma, family dysfunction, and certain parenting styles also make it more likely that a child will exhibit anger and/or aggression that interferes with his or her daily life.

Multiple factors can contribute to a particular child’s struggles with anger, irritability, and aggression. One common trigger is frustration. When a child can’t get what he or she wants or is asked to do something that he or she might not feel like doing.

Frustration often leads to anger and aggression. For a few children, anger issues often

accompany other mental health conditions as well, such as ADHD, autism, Mental

retardation, and Tourette’s syndrome. Aggression can also arise from physical disturbances.

If the child is constantly ill or has some physical disturbance such as fractures, or injury, it can

also lead to aggression.

How Do You Discipline A Child Who Doesn’t listen?

The way to get a child to listen has less to do with getting them to follow orders right now and more to do with building a positive parent-child relationship in which kids willingly listen. Of course, you want to stop the negative behavior. To function well, kids must be able to listen to and cooperate with parents, teachers, coaches, and others. The key is in your approach.

Fostering a positive, close relationship with your kids is the best way to deal with negative behavior like not listening. Kids need love, affection from parents, and a positive time with parents. Making some time, even 30 minutes a day, to give your kids your undivided attention, play with them, to listen to them makes them feel valued, loved, and more willing to listen. Building a strong positive relationship with your child allows you to teach and guide them. In addition to getting them to listen, you’ll lead them toward becoming cooperative, listening to kids and beyond. 


  • Set clear goals 
  • Listen to your child 
  • Show empathy to your child
  • Be kind 
  • Show them respect 
  • Be your child’s friend 
  • Talk with them 
  • Give your kids a second chance 


  • Scold and hit your child 
  • Punish them 
  • Blame them for never listening 
  • Shame your child for whatever they have done
  • Threaten
  • Yell 

How Can I Help My Child With Anger And Aggression?

For many generations, tantrums were viewed as manipulation attempts done by kids. Try to find a solution by negotiating or distracting – a slice of apple before dinner instead of an ice cream. to motivate your child toward something that excites them. You can also offer an alternative or compromise. 

Instead of yelling, try to be a child’s friend. Understand them well. Speak to them assertively. Give them options about how they can express anger more productively. If you are not sure about how to deal with it, seek the help of a counselor. 

Further Reading:

How To Deal With An ADHD Child At Home?

Does Counseling Help Children with ADHD?

Does Behavioural Therapy Work for ADHD Child?

What Causes Aggressive Behaviour In Child


Just like adults, kids never enjoy feeling angry or having anger outbursts. Often, they are reacting to frustration and an inability to manage their thoughts and feelings. Helping your child learn to respond appropriately to anger and other negative emotions will have a positive impact on their life at home and school. If you’re struggling, ask a counselor for help.

If your child is suffering from any temper issues and you as a parent can’t deal with it, or if you know anyone who might need help, We are here to help you.  Click on the link given below to book an appointment with our child counselor.


About Author

Sawani Oak

Counselor, Team WAITT

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Post