No More Hitting: How to Help a Child with Aggressive Behaviours — Hand in Hand Parenting
"The perspective that has helped my family greatly is that an aggressive child is a frightened child. Aggression is the associated “fight or flight” response that leads a child to act out. Unless there is an immediate threat, the fear most likely comes from another incident from some time back in the child’s past – perhaps something that happened when they were just an infant....
"When a child is stuck in aggressive behaviours, he is gripped by some old fears or upset that got stuck in his limbic brain, the seat of his long term memory, some time ago. The emotion from that incident didn’t get processed at the time. The limbic brain stores that emotion, but when an incident has the feel of the original upset, that same emotion flares again. It overrides a child’s prefrontal cortex, where impulse control, reasoning, short-term memory and verbal skills take place. So when your child is acting out aggressively, he is in ‘fight or flight’ mode, and simply can’t reason or co-operate."
If you have a child who is struggling and lashing out, this is a must read by Anna Cole, a Hand in Hand parenting instructor in the UK.