Warning Signs to watch out for in Children with Violent Traits

The spate of violence in the families and the society at large, this led the PDC Crew to engage Dr. Olugbenga Gbarada, ChMc, ACiarb, a Don of Peace and Conflict Resolution; the Chief Executive Officer of Dispute Resolution Academy (DRA) and the Executive Director, Initiative for Peacebuilding and Social Change (IPSC).

He gave us an insight into some of the warning signs that parents can watch out for in children with violent traits. These identified traits in children include the following and many more. Excerpts:

  • Intense anger

Anger is an emotional state that varies in intensity from mild irritation to intense fury and rage. An angry child often acts impulsively i.e. without thinking.¬† The child has given in to the frustration and has given up restraint, hence, the saying that “Frustration begets anger and anger begets aggression.” The aggression is redirected toward a less threatening and more available object. Anger can weaken the ability of a child to solve problems effectively, make good decisions, handle changes, and get along with others.

Intermittent explosive disorder (IED) in a child is an impulse-control disorder which is manifested in sudden episodes of unwarranted¬†anger. The disorder is demonstrated by hostility, impulsivity, and recurrent aggressive outbursts. Children with IED essentially ‚Äúexplode‚ÄĚ into a¬†rage¬†despite a lack of apparent provocation or reason.

A child in a state of rage may lose much of his capacity for normal thought and reasoning, and may act, usually¬†violently, on his impulses to the point that he may attack until he himself has been incapacitated or the source of his rage has been destroyed. A child in rage may also experience tunnel vision, muffled hearing, increased heart rate, and hyperventilation. His vision may also become “rose-tinted” (hence “seeing red”). Children in this state often focus only on the source of their anger. The large amounts of adrenaline and oxygen in the bloodstream may cause a child’s extremities to shake. Rage is at one end of the spectrum of¬†anger, and¬†annoyance¬†is at the other side

  • Frequent loss of temper or blow-ups

A Child that loses his temper gives way to violent anger, lose self-control. He becomes so angry that he shouts at someone or show in some other way that  he is no longer in control of himself.

  • Extreme irritability.

Babies and young children often feel¬†irritable, especially when they’re tired or sick. Irritability¬†is a feeling of agitation. When they are¬†irritable, they become frustrated or upset easily. They might experience it in response to stressful situations. It may also be a symptom of a mental or physical health condition, Insomnia.¬† A common¬†anxiety¬†disorder¬†symptom in children is a significant trigger for manic episodes such as severe mood episodes, extreme¬†irritability, and other pronounced¬†symptoms¬†of bipolar disorder disguised as underlying obsessive thoughts, compulsions, worries, or other¬†anxiety symptoms. Experiencing¬†irritability, hostility, anger, and being sensitive to rejection are all common¬†symptoms¬†when¬†depressed in children. Other emotions such as sadness, shame, or helplessness frequently underlie the¬†irritability, but¬†irritability¬†is what shows up on the surface.

  • Extreme impulsiveness

Impulsivity is a tendency to act without thinking about the consequences of your actions. These actions usually occur in children as a reaction to some events that triggered an emotional response. Impulsivity is often accompanied by symptoms such as restlessness, hyperactivity, inattention, problems doing quiet activities, problems with executive function, talking excessively, and fidgeting. Children who have extreme impulsiveness have trouble focusing. They are also easily distracted. They may not always show many signs of inattention. They may not necessarily have trouble focusing or becoming easily distracted

  • Becoming easily frustrated

Frustration is an emotion that occurs in situations where a person is prevented from reaching a desired outcome.  In general, whenever we achieve a desired outcome, we feel delighted and whenever we are prevented from reaching our goals, we may yield to frustration and feel irritable, annoyed and angry.

Frustration is experienced whenever your actions are producing less and fewer results than you think they should.  However, when it results in anger, irritability, stress, resentment, depression, or a spiral downward where we have a feeling of resignation or giving up, frustration can be destructive. The frustration children experience can be as a result of two types of goal blockage, i.e. internal and external sources of frustration.

Internal sources of frustration usually include the disappointment that they get when they cannot have what they want as a result of personal real or imagined deficiencies such as a lack of confidence or fear of social situations.

The second type of frustration results from external causes that involve conditions outside the children such as physical barriers they meet in life including other people and things that get on their way.

Have you noticed any of these traits in children around you?  If yes, the child needs help. Let’s work together to reduce violence in our children, families and the society at large.

About our Guest:

Dr Olugbenga Gbarada, ChMc, ACiarb, a Don of Peace and Conflict Resolution; the Chief Executive Officer of Dispute Resolution Academy (DRA) and the Executive Director, Initiative for Peacebuilding and Social Change (IPSC).


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