Physically aggressive behavior is common among small children. When frustrated or angry, toddlers may act out. Often, they will push, bite, or hit. Most children show less physical aggression as they grow up. Their language and interpersonal skills improve, too. But continued aggressive behavior is a sign of a problem. This behavior can lead to aggression and delinquency in adolescence and adulthood.

Aggressive behavior can be psychological or physical. Forms of psychological aggression include threatening or bullying others. Forms of physical aggression include: 

  • Pushing.

  • Hitting.

  • Slapping.

  • Kicking.

  • Stabbing.

  • Shooting.

  • Raping. 


Encouraging the following behaviors can help manage aggression:

  • Respecting others and valuing differences.

  • Participating in school and community functions, including sports, music, after-school programs, community groups, and volunteer work.

  • Talking with an adult when they are sad, depressed, fearful, anxious, or angry. Discussions with a parent or other family member, counselor, teacher, or coach can help.

  • Avoiding alcohol and drug use.

  • Dealing with disagreements without aggression, such as conflict resolution. To learn this, children need parents and caregivers to model respectful communication and problem solving.

  • Limiting exposure to aggression and violence, such as video games that are not age appropriate, violence in the media, or domestic violence.