3) Physical and Emotional Force With and For vs. Against

Are Boys Naturally More Aggressive? – Part Five

After last week’s post 2) Emulation and Processing of Society’s Rules and Roles, I’m finally getting to the third type of boys and girls so-called aggression :

3) Using Their Physical Force With or For Rather Than Against Others.

It seems highly likely to me that so much of what we see as aggression in all children, not just boys, but more often so in those that need more movement and action to process emotions and understand relationships and responsibilities, is not aggressive behaviour at all but a child thirsting to make an impact, to contribute his/her new found physical power, and ideas to her/his environment and community.

“Mummy, what can I do? Why am I important? Do my ideas count? Can I help? I want to do it alone!”

Children have a real need to feel the power and see the result of their physical force – their strength, not necessarily against, but potentially with or for others. In this way, they can begin to sense how they matter, what their contribution is, how they fit in; in other words, they begin to formulate two of the most profound senses of all, belonging and meaning.

Could it be that what we have been perceiving as physical aggression or wilful misbehaviour against us as parents, siblings, friends, teachers, or strangers is in fact a deep seated desire of our children to have their impact felt? We live in a society that has mostly espoused us vs. them, winners and losers, power-over… . What we start to notice by the ‘terrible twos’ is that our children are starting to realize that they have an effect on their surroundings. I believe it is part of their ‘individuation’ the gradual process by which they separate themselves form their environment, mother and perceive themselves as individual beings that have a unique contribution. Not only does their physical force create cause and effect: ‘Look mummy, I pushed the truck down the stairs!”, but also their needs, desires and expressions create reactions – so often, sadly, negative, from us as if we were horrified that they might develop a will and their own singular opinions.

Are our children’s needs to have an impact on their surroundings really acts of aggression against us or others or a desire to contribute?

To Be Continued…

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