Putting a finger on aggression

Thirteen-year-old Sahil Walia smashed his phone on the floor when his mother refused him permission for the late night party that he wanted to go for. He didn’t have his meals the next day and locked himself in his room until his father came and offered him another expensive phone and the permission to attend all late night parties thereafter!

Similarly, the recent case of a 15-year-old girl who avenged her ‘insult’ by killing a two-year-old baby, by throttling the tot, until she ceased to breathe, was something that sent a chill down the spine of everyone who read the horrific news the next day.

So, what causes this anger and frustration amongst school going children these days? Dr Aarti Anand, Consultant Clinical Psychologist at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital makes a telling point: “It’s because children have too many desires, all of which have been fulfilled instantaneously by their parents.”

External factors such as increasing competition and comparison among school children are one of the major reasons of aggression. Expecting nothing less than perfection has become a common practice amongst parents, unmindful of the fact that every student, every child possesses varied capabilities and talents.

“The increasing ego clashes between parents and children are the result of the vast change in society. Earlier, parents had more time to spend with their children. With both the parents in a family being working professionals, in the present day scenario, instantly gratifying their children’s requirements, to make up for lack of quality time with then, has become easy and convenient,” Dr Anand tells Metrolife.

Dr Vasantha Patri, chairperson of the Indian Institute of Counselling, says that children develop various ways of displaying anger from their parents and the general environment in which they grow.

“Parents shouting on their servants, drivers, or even on each other, makes children believe that displaying anger helps them retain power and control in that situation. Similarly, in schools, teachers and principals scold and command children in an aggressive way. Instances such as these make children believe that by showing anger, one has more probability of gaining superiority,” says Dr Patri.

Mentioning other rampant reasons of increasing aggression and frustration, she adds, “Media acts as the major aggression stimulation factor amongst children. Seeing the hero beating the villain, and gaining power and momentum in the end, makes the children idealise the ‘hero’ in their minds. Children try to adopt these actions in their personal lives and that makes them more prone to displaying anger by slamming the door, or breaking stuff etc. “Information bombardment,” says Dr Anand, “is responsible for such behaviours.”

One recalls the simpler times in life when parents calmly and patiently used to make their children understand the value and importance of a certain possession. Children too, were more obedient and well behaved, and that lead to the common harmony of the entire family.

Dr Patri explains, “Poor inter-personal skills among parents, has eventually made things very difficult for every family. One abuses instead of listening. One finds aggressive and destructive ways of displacing anger, in place of calmly and silently discussing those issues.”

Meanwhile, even the cartoons that the children watch, Tom and Jerry for instance, feature a lot of anger. “There will always be an aggressor and victim. Our epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata, show instances of war, revenge and aggressions,” an amused Dr Patri tells Metrolife.

While our children only aspire to be winners and perfectionists, and accepting failure is a concept entirely alien to them, it’s high time parents understand and realise the importance of Mahatma Gandhi’s policy of non-violence.

As Dr Patri terms them, “the four magical words --- sorry, please, thank you and excuse me”, can work wonders to resolve any kind of argument or issue.

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