Vicious Cycle of Unfairness, Anger, Conflict, and Aggression.

In Beyond Sibling Rivalry, Henry Holt & Company, New York, NY, 1999, Peter Goldenthal introduces the concept that too often children go through a vicious cycle of unfairness, anger, conflict, and aggression.

It begins when something happens and the child feels unfairly treated. It may be that something has not worked out as they hoped for, for example he was not invited to a party. The child shows his disappointment by complaining. At other times, the complaint could be about genuine bias by others that make him feel dis-favoured.

The child becomes angry and shows it by being uncooperative or aggressive.

Parents are annoyed by the child’s bad behaviour. Unfortunately many parents also become angry and at their worst criticize and blame the child, yell, and punish with a time out or restricting privileges.

The child now has all the reason necessary to feel unfairly treated. The parents did not take the time to understand how he feels and why. Anger sets in and the child retaliates by being even more disruptive.

If parents are constantly angry at their kids, it’s no wonder the kids are angry at them. Anger feeds on itself.

Parents have to learn to manage their anger, so that they set the right example so that their children learn how to control their own anger when conflicts occur. It can’t be done in the pitch of the battle. At calmer times, parents should model good conflict resolution skills when interacting with their children and with other family members.

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