Aggressive behavior decreases with age

Aggressive children - what is normal?

Tantrums, screaming, hitting little siblings - those who raise children are familiar with these outbursts. But what if the aggression becomes extreme?

Text: Jacqueline Esslinger
Image: Adam Burn / Plainpicture

What form of aggressive behavior occurs in children, is strongly age-dependent. Even babies from around six months old can express anger, but they have no intention of harm. In the second and third year of life, however, tantrums and aggressive behavior are not uncommon and are often directed against adults and other children.

From primary school age onwards, gender-typical patterns in the expression of aggression are visible: Boys seem to show more open and physical forms of aggression. In girls, on the other hand, covert and verbal forms are more common. Examples are lies and the spread of rumors, for example to harm a person or to shut them out.

Aggressive behavior in children and adolescents

Aggressive behavior in childhood and adolescence was found in large-scale studies such as the KiGGS / BELLA study in up to eight percent of those under the age of 17. It shows up not only in physical attacks but also in verbal violence, bullying and theft.

Aggressive behavior is typically less common in adolescence. Unlike young children, who express emotions or impulses directly, will over the years Self-control and inhibitory mechanisms learned. However, the aggressive behavior is often more violent than in small children, due to increasing physical strength, more freedom outside the home and greater financial resources.

Correspondingly, the highest frequency of aggressive behavior occurs in preschool age, but the most serious manifestations occur in adolescence and early adulthood.
Defiant, disobedient and refusing as well as hostile behavior towards persons in authority are repeatedly summarized under oppositional defiant behavior.

This also counts to aggressive behavior, there oppositional children React angry quickly and freak out and defy rules. In contrast to this, children with a conduct disorder tend to be intimidated, assaulted, used weapons and crueled to animals.

The highest frequency of aggression is in preschool
observe, the most serious manifestation in adolescence.

Around half of children who are strongly oppositional develop a disorder of social behavior. Shows a child very young Patterns of aggressiveness, it often maintains it and runs the risk of becoming delinquent. If the criminally suspicious behavior occurs early on, around the age of 14, the likelihood of persistent criminal behavior increases. However, oppositional behavior is a typical feature of early childhood (defiant age) and adolescence.

A Diagnosis in terms of a behavioral disorder is therefore only considered if aggression occurs more frequently and with more serious consequences than in other children and if it would be appropriate for the stage of development of the child. The behavior must occur over a period of six months and drastically affect family, social or school areas.