How to Handle Aggression from Your Child

Search Knowledge Base by Keyword

How to Handle Aggression from Your Child

You are here:
< Back

how to handle agression

How to Handle Aggression from Your Child?

Many children will bite, scratch, kick, hit, and throw things unexpectedly at people. There are generally three things to check out right away:

  • How you (and the people around you) react to the aggressive behavior. When hurt, most people react both outwardly (by yelling, making pained expressions on their face, pulling away quickly, among other things) and inwardly (getting mad, frustrated, annoyed, upset, or another kind of discomfort).

    Many children will do behaviors specifically because of the reaction they get from the people around them. It can be very entertaining and interesting for some children to watch their parents gesticulate and have tremendous facial expression. You become like a cartoon, and most kids really like cartoons, specifically because of their exaggerated quality. We have found that whatever you react to in a child grows. Meaning, if your child bites, scratches, or kicks you and you make a big deal out of it, (s)he is more likely to continue the behavior, because it’s fun to watch you make a big deal out of anything. Once you’ve been bitten, scratched, etc, protect yourself from it happening again, in a calm and easy way. Do not try and discipline your child right now… you are most likely just encouraging the behavior by yelling or speaking with an irritated voice, etc.

    Also, your internal reaction is vital as well. It’s not that you are supposed to fake feeling calm, but that you actually do feel calm. This is important because children can sense how the people around them feel emotionally. If you feel bad (or sad, angry, frustrated, etc.), this counts as a reaction too! And you very well may be encouraging the behavior by having a discomfort.

  • Am I giving in to what (s)he wants when (s)he is aggressive towards me? The idea is to ask yourself, does the biting/scratching/kicking work to move me? Do I give him/her something because (s)he hurt me that I wouldn’t have otherwise given? If so, it’s important that you change that. As long as a child believes that hurting others works the best to get things, that will be what they resort to when nothing else is working. So instead, when your child communicates in a way that you want, have that work the best!
  • Offer different physical stimulations if (s)he starts to get aggressive, or you see warning signs that it’s coming soon. For example, squeeze his/her hands and feet, if they allow it, and even massage the jaw. Some children get bursts of energy, which can be released by your squeezes. You can also offer other kinds of physical activity, like doing a chase game.

For more information about Aggressive Behaviors and Intense Energy, see Aggressive Behaviors & Intense Energy.

Source: Bryn N. Hogan – Q&A Session 9 with the Director of The Son-Rise Program


Have any questions? Ask an Autism Expert

Contact us for a complimentary priority call with a Son‑Rise Program Advisor & free Autism resources.


Our Commitment to Privacy

The Autism Treatment Center of America® (a division of The Option Institute & Fellowship®) are committed to your privacy. This notice serves to help you better understand what information we collect, how we use that information, and with whom we may share a limited portion of that information. If you have questions or concerns regarding this policy, you should contact Customer Support by email

We know that you value your personal information, and we strive to protect your privacy as if it were our own. The Autism Treatment Center of America (a division of The Option Institute & Fellowship) uses of your information is limited to the ways outlined in this notice, except as required by law and/or to comply with a judicial proceeding, court order, or legal process served on us.

Information We Collect From You

  1. Online Contact and Info Requests: If you submit an online request for Option Institute products such as free brochures, or submit a question through a “Contact Us” or “Call-Me” form, we may have to gather additional information from you to respond to your request. Such information will include name, shipping address, telephone number, and email address.
  2. Non-Personal Information We Receive Automatically: Like most websites, we utilize cookies. Cookies are a mechanism to remember information about you when you navigate from one web page to another. Our website uses cookies to hold a user’s unique session identifiers, allowing us to serve correct information back to the user. Such information may include your language and currency. Our website cookies do not hold any personally identifiable information. We may use other similar technologies that allow us to collect non-personally identifiable information about your visit to help us better your experience.

Lawful Basis For Processing Your Data

  1. Consent: We will not process any personal information unless you agree to our Privacy policy and freely give consent to process your information for the purpose of your request.
  2. Fulfillment of Requests: We only store and process your information for the purpose of your request. Your information is removed and no longer processed after the request has been fulfilled. If you have also freely consented to receive marketing or promotional communications via a request form or registration form, we will retain your information until you revoke your consent or unsubscribe from receiving those communications via the instructions located at the bottom of all our emails.

Sharing of Your Data

  1. If we are required by law: we will disclose information about you in response to a subpoena, court order, or other legitimate governmental request.
  2. We will only share your data with third party service providers such as email services to facilitate fulfilment of your information or contact request. None of your information will be processed or stored by any third party if you choose to revoke your consent or submit a request to be forgotten.
  3. We do not share or distribute your information with any other third parties for any purposes other than the purposes you freely consent to.

Use Of Information Collected From You

  1. Information Requests and Customer Service: After submitting information to us via our online forms, your contact information including your email address will be used to respond to that request. After you submit online information requests to us, you may, from time to time, receive email or other communications from us or our service providers with information including information about our upcoming programs or products if you choose to agree to receive those communications. If you do not wish to receive these communications, you are able to opt out of at any time by following the unsubscribe link found in the email.
  2. Third-Party Service Providers: We work closely with other companies and individuals to facilitate transactions and better your experience. Examples of third-party service provider services include shipping orders, analyzing data, providing accurate search results and links, affiliate marketing, and newsletters. Any information that we share with a third-party service provider is done so safely, securely, and under a contractual relationship with that provider to protect your data.
  3. Promotional events: From time to time, we or a service provider acting on our behalf may use your name, email address, telephone number and/or mailing address to send you information or offers for a program, product or other service we believe to be of interest to you. If you do not wish to receive these communications, you are able to opt out of at any time by following the unsubscribe link found in the email.

Data Retention Policy

We maintain a data retention policy to protect your data. Information collected on our website will be retained for as long as necessary to fulfill the purpose for which it was collected.

How We Secure Your Information

We are committed to protecting the security of your personal information and to honoring your choices for its intended use. To prevent unauthorized access, maintain data accuracy, and ensure the correct use of information, we strive to maintain physical, electronic, and administrative safeguards. We use industry standard security protocol such as encryption and https security protocol to protect your information.
Any time we share your information with a third party consistent with this Privacy Policy, we utilize technological or contractual safeguards in an effort to keep your information safe.
While we are confident ordering online is safe and secure, if for any reason you cannot access the secure server or feel uncomfortable ordering online, please feel free to place your order with us by phone at 877-766-7473 or +001-413-229-2100.
At any time you wish to opt out of receiving promotional mailings, you may call or email Customer Service (

Your Rights

At any time, you can use the following request form to request any of the following:

  1. Confirm whether or not personal data about you is being processed.
  2. Provide you with further details about how we process your personal data.
  3. Provide you with a copy of any data which we hold about you.
  4. Withdraw your consent to using your personal information, where we rely on your consent as a legal basis to justify using your personal data.
  5. Consider any valid objection to the processing of your personal information (including the right to object to processing on grounds related to your particular situation where we are relying on our legitimate interests as a legal basis for processing).
  6. Request to update or delete personal data which we hold about you.
  7. Restrict the way that we process your personal data.
  8. Consider any valid request to transfer your personal data to a third party provider of services (data portability).

We will consider all requests. However, certain personal information may be exempt from those requests in certain circumstances, which include a need to keep processing information for our legitimate interests or to comply with a legal obligation. If such an exception applies, we will notify you when responding to your request. Please note that we may ask you to provide us with information necessary to confirm your identity before responding.

Policy Updates

We reserve the right to update the above policy at any time. If we decide to change our Privacy Policy, we will post the updates to this Privacy Policy here and on any other place we deem appropriate, so that you are aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it.