Can aggressive behavior be because of an overreaction to certain situations, or does it have deeper roots?
When you look at all the violence that’s around us, it seems easy to put blame on it. We also might feel that it’s just our human nature to have aggressive behavior and there’s nothing that we can do about it.
It may also be thought of as an act of self-preservation, connected to our evolutionary biology, and important for our survival. But just because we can be aggressive doesn’t mean that we should. We can be calm and under control, so it shows we don’t have to be controlled by behavior that is violent.
Behavior like this never has a place, but it’s important to look at why it’s happening in the first place. If it’s a reaction to a stressful, or threatening situation that may explain some of it, but does it go deeper?
Looking at the causes of aggressive behavior can help to identify if it’s connected to childhood roots. Getting a better understanding of all this can help in dealing with this dangerous situation.
This article will look at 5 causes of aggressive behavior that may have childhood roots.
1. Imitation Of Daily Life & Environment For Aggressive Behavior
This might be one of the easiest causes to identify that has childhood roots. Children mimic what they see and if they are brought up in an aggressive – or violent – environment, this will have a serious impact on them.
The problem that happens is that this aggressive behavior can accidentally be encouraged without people being aware of it. If we ignore this behavior, it can signal to the child it’s ok and they will continue to act this way throughout their lives.
In worse situations, this behavior may have been encouraged at a young age and it’s cemented into them as a positive characteristic. The instinct to act this way continues into adulthood with the individual unable to understand why it’s become a part of them.
2. Poor Relationship Skills
Some people have had trouble developing proper relationship skills and this can cause them to lash out and get aggressive. It can all come down to being frustrated and not knowing how to handle this frustration. They may also feel overwhelmed in various relationships and it becomes their default setting.
We can trace this back to childhood and a lack of a nurturing environment. The individual may start to see people as threats instead of being able to connect with them. This behavior can easily be carried into the future creating more frustration as they may not understand why relationships can’t develop or be maintained.
3. Trouble Coping With Emotions
Everyone has trouble dealing with emotions at some point, but a well-adjusted person will have learned to cope. Different emotions can easily cause aggressive behavior whether it’s fear, guilt, jealousy, or sadness. When that person gets older, those same emotions can cause the aggressive outbursts as they have never learned how to manage their feelings.
Children cannot handle emotions and it needs to be taught and nurtured, so it doesn’t lead to destructive behavior. This can be even tougher for people with cognitive disorders, or having autism spectrum disorder, as childhood will be even more frustrating.
Besides not having the ability to cope with the frustration, they might not even know why they are feeling the way they do. They also may not even be able to describe the situation causing the frustration.
4. Socioeconomic Status
Whether it’s a child or an adult, certain socioeconomic circumstances can trigger stressors that might lead to behavior that’s aggressive. There can be many factors that cause this including feelings of oppression in the household because of unemployment, lack of financial stability, living situations, and education.
These conditions would affect adults in the household and this would trickle down to any children living there. The child could then carry this mindset into adulthood and those same stressors will again cause aggressive behavior.
Depression is often a cause of this negative behavior, but it might also have childhood roots. Research from 1998 shows that there is a close association between the quality of the child-parental relationship, aggression, and maternal depression.
The evidence also suggests that depressive symptoms in mothers who display negative, unsupportive, and withdrawn behaviors towards their offspring are less likely to develop secure attachments.
Depression in mothers can have a negative impact on children leading to their own depression that causes aggressive behavior. Then when those kids who are depressed have their own children, the cycle continues to repeat.
There are also studies that show a strong connection between depression and aggressive behavior in adolescent males. You can even look back a few years and predict this behavior before it happens. It goes back to looking at the offspring of depressed mothers. When the kids become young adults, they can begin to display this behavior at age 20.
There are many causes of aggressive behavior and it’s something that needs to be taken very seriously. It’s important to identify what is causing it, and sometimes it means looking back into the past.
Looking at a person’s childhood can give some insight into what may cause this behavior. From there, correcting it may be much more possible.
Copyright © 2012-2023 Learning Mind. All rights reserved. For permission to reprint, contact us.