November 30, 2011

Aggressive Children

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Reviewed by: 
Joseph V. Madia, MD By:

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Mental health disorder suggested more common in children with behavioral issues

(dailyRx News) Within the United States we are used to hearing claims that the media and video games pollute our minds. It seems parents around the world share the same concerns. 

An overseas charity found rising rates of anger issues in a study focused on prevention. The report analyzed the private counseling sessions between thousands of families in regard to aggressive children, generating several statistics to shed light on the scope of the problem.

"Aggressive children affect the entire family."

Family Lives is a charity in the United Kingdom dedicated toward providing free support to families in all aspects of life. Part of their service involves Parentline, a free helpline for families. The organization used data from their hotline as well as web surveys to generate key facts to learn how to help aggressive children.

Data was pulled from a June 2008 to June 2011 call log, with the last year being separated for study. The report marks its "most striking finding" to be the continual rise in aggression. The past year's data showed a 4% increase in verbal aggression calls and a 2% increase in physical displays.

The study found interesting results:

  • Mothers took the brunt of aggression
  • Girls and boys showed similar aggression levels, yet boys are more likely to be both physically and verbally aggressive
  • Aggressive behavior peaked between ages 13-15, encompassing 43% of child behavioral calls
  • Child aggression increases a parent's risk of stress by 30%
  • Mental health disorders were more common in children with aggression problems, including depression, self-harm, suicide, hyperactivity, and isolation

The report makes a series of recommendations, sharing some with the government, stating, "children's violent and aggressive behaviour in the home is a hidden and stigmatised issue, and we must work to support families who are experiencing these problems to help change their child's behaviour and improve their life chances."

Web-surveys showed parents to be largely unsure of the factors influencing their child's aggressive behavior. Although some commented on the media, video games, and mental health as few of the many triggers, an overwhelming 39% did not know any reason their child should be angry. Furthermore, 56% of parents sought help.

With potential harm to themselves and others being a continuous risk, it is important to talk to your pediatrician if your child exhibits angry or aggressive behavior that causes concern.

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Reviewed by: 
Joseph V. Madia, MD
Review Date: 
November 23, 2011

Last Updated:
November 30, 2011