We all know that children are born being a blank book where their history begins to be written. While it is true that genetics play a role in the development of their personality and temperament, the environment and education they receive is undoubtedly the most important factor to take into account. So is it possible for a 1-3 year old to be aggressive?

You may have been called from nursery school once to tell you that your child has bitten or hit another child. It is quite common for this type of behavior to appear at these ages  (from 1 to 3 years old), because that is when the little ones begin to develop language but do not fully master it.

They are not bad children

It does not mean that they are aggressive or “bad” children, much less that they will be in the future. It only means that they have not yet developed their linguistic and emotional skills… So when faced with frustration in a specific situation, they act instinctively: attacking to defend themselves.

It is at this stage that children begin to realize that they are independent beings from their parents and that they can show what they like and what they don’t like, what they feel or what makes them angry. But of course, in addition to the fact that they lack that language to express well what they have in their mind and heart, they also lack the ability to properly self-regulate.

They do not understand what the social rules of coexistence are nor do they have the necessary skills for conflict resolution. Nor do they understand that actions have consequences or how they can affect other people. The emotions they feel come long before their rational thinking, so they are impulsive and get carried away by those intense emotions.

Aggressive behaviors

When aggressive behaviors occur (bites, scratches, shoves, kicks …) it is the way that children have to be able to release the energy that has accumulated through that intense emotion that they have not known how to channel otherwise.

The moment things do not go their way, it is normal for frustration to appear. Although aggressive behaviors can also appear when young children are hungry, something is bothering them, they are sleepy, they are overstimulated or tired.