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Support to help with anger, aggression and violence in children and teenagers

Posted on Wednesday, 08 February 2023, in Behavioural Issues

children playing with pillows


As a parent, it's natural to feel concerned when your child or teenager displays angry, aggressive, or violent behaviour. However, it's important to know that help is available to support you and your family through this difficult time.


The causes of anger, aggression, and tantrums in young children

For young children, anger and aggression can stem from various sources, such as difficulties in school, at home, or with friends. Social pressures, bullying, and conflicts at home can be incredibly stressful for children, leading to outbursts of anger.

In some cases, aggressive behaviour can also signify underlying conditions such as ADHD, depression, anxiety, or another emotional or mental health issue.

Young children may find it challenging to express their emotions, and anger or aggression becomes a way for them to communicate their feelings. Children need to learn how to self-regulate their emotions and manage their anger, which takes time and patience.


The causes of anger, aggression, and violence in teenagers

During adolescence, the brain undergoes significant changes, which play a vital role in decision-making, social behaviour, and personality expression. This rewiring process can result in impulsive behaviour, angry outbursts, and difficulty in empathy.

The teenage years are also a crucial stage of identity development, and teens may push boundaries and challenge rules as they establish their sense of self.

Stressful situations at school, at home, or with friends can also lead to angry or aggressive behaviour. For example, teens who feel bullied or stressed may lash out at those closest to them, such as their parents. In addition, they may not know how to express their feelings in a more measured way.

Conditions such as ADHD, autism, depression, or anxiety can also contribute to violent or aggressive behaviour in teenagers. Worryingly, it's estimated that only 30% of children with diagnosable mental health conditions receive the help they need.


When to seek help for your child's behaviour

As every child is unique, there's no one-size-fits-all answer to when it's time to seek help for your child's behaviour. However, it's essential to consider whether the behaviour affects their daily life, whether at home, school, with friends, or after school.

Continued angry or aggressive behaviour can have long-lasting effects, including difficulties in adulthood, and may indicate an underlying mental health condition. If your child is exhibiting any of the following red flags, it may be time to seek professional help:


  • Risky behaviours that pose a danger to them or others
  • Violent behaviours, such as fighting, carrying weapons, or planning attacks
  • Sudden changes in behaviour, such as social withdrawal, tearfulness, loss of interest in activities, or disengagement with life
  • Involvement in illegal activities, such as theft, substance abuse, or truancy
  • Concerns raised by their school, such as fighting, poor performance, or playing truant
  • Refusal to comply with reasonable requests or boundaries


Treatment for anger, aggression, and violence

Our team of behaviour specialists has helped thousands of families address and manage these issues through face-to-face appointments or online support.

Talking therapies such as CBT can help your child manage and work through problematic behaviours. Based on your child's circumstances, a psychiatric assessment may be necessary to identify any underlying issues. An evaluation by a child and adolescent mental health expert can provide an effective treatment plan for anxiety, depression, self-harm, or ADHD.


Read about our services for children and teenagers