Does Your Child Hurt Other Children?
The question of whether your child wants to harm fellow children may seem out of
place, but in reality, it is an issue many parents face daily.
Many child therapists confess to interacting with children who use strong expressions
such as “I want him dead”, “I hate him so much”, or “I feel like killing”.
Many therapists have been ridiculed, sworn at, kicked, and hit by children they counsel,
just because of anger.
Today, many parents find it difficult to manage constantly angry children, and they end
up sending them off to relatives or therapeutic camps, schools, boarding facilities, or
outdoor programs. Many children are getting expelled from school and recommended
to seek psychological assessments from counselors.
The reasons they get expelled range from assaulting their colleagues, insulting peers and
teachers, aggression, use of inappropriate language, and fighting, among others.
Surprisingly, you may realize that this habit is with several children in school.
What’s the root cause of the problem?
Where does this desire to harm others come from? What causes anger? How does this
affect the teachers, family, and society?
Many theories try to explain the cause or the origin of this collective anger in children.
One expert explains that there is internal unrest in a person who feels like hurting
others. The same internal unrest may also cause a person to harm himself, like in the
case of suicide or homicide. One cause of such internal unrest or conflict is depression.
Children learn from adults
Anger is a very potent human emotion. It is one of the primary emotions that dictate
human behavior. Other emotions include sadness, happiness, joy, and fear. Anger is
more dangerous than all these other primary emotions, and it can cause other primary
emotions like sadness and fear or secondary emotions such as confusion and
When a child gets angry, then he must have witnessed anger used as a remedy in certain
situations. He may consider anger as an avenue of releasing emotions in school or at
home, as demonstrated by video gaming, books, movies, television, friends, or even
Children witness anger everywhere, on the news when people are demonstrating or
when there are terrorist attacks, at the grocery store when there’s a disagreement, or
when mom and dad are fighting at home. Anger goes hand-in-hand with violence
because violence is the quickest route to relieve anger.
A child brought up in an environment full of anger will develop the habit of hurting
others. Adults send mixed messages about anger to their children. For example, when
mom and dad get angry at each other in front of the child, the child will believe that
anger is acceptable. When they see nurses, doctors, teachers, and other adults getting
angry, they’ll learn that anger is part of life and is acceptable.
What’s the way forward?
As a parent, you need to teach your child early enough that anger is unacceptable. Try to
let them know there are better ways of solving conflicts rather than resorting to anger.
Be a role model by bringing them up in an anger-free environment. Show them love and
try to understand any challenges they might be facing that can lead to anger.
Raquel Soteldo RP(Q), MA, ABA, PMP, CCC