Weighted Blanket for Juvenile Aggression
Moms are no strangers to seeing their kids go from doll-faced angels into crying little monsters whenever they don’t get what they want. Temper tantrums are one thing, but anger management is a different story altogether.
How can you tell if your child is having a typical tantrum or displaying symptoms of aggressive behavior?
What Is Aggressive Behavior?
While occasional outbursts are normal, frequent and uncontrollable bouts of anger aren’t. If your kid exhibits signs of being verbally or physically abusive, destroys property, or even causes physical harm to himself, it might be time to figure out the root cause of his actions and address it properly.
Causes of Aggressive Behavior
There may be many underlying factors that can explain this sort of behavior. In general, our attitudes are influenced by things such as physical and mental health, family structure, relationships, life experiences, and so on. These all come together to shape us into the adults we are today.
But with children, the reasoning is more basic. They could be seeing violence in their daily life and hence perceive it as ‘normal’. Or maybe you could be inadvertently encouraging the behavior in your child when you give him attention for it, by either ignoring or rewarding his aggressive behavior.
It could also be due to them having trouble expressing or understanding their emotions. Language is a faculty that might not be within reach yet, especially with young children. For this reason, they become frustrated when people don’t understand what they’re trying to say, or if they can’t fully comprehend themselves what they’re feeling.
Another, more serious reason could be that your child could be suffering from an underlying mental condition that may be affecting his behavior. These may include:
- autism spectrum disorder
- attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- bipolar disorder
- conduct disorder
- intermittent explosive disorder
- post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Ways To Treat Or Cope With Aggressive Behavior
The first step should always be to talk to your physician or psychologist to determine the underlying cause of your child’s excessive aggressiveness. If needed, they will be able to provide the medication necessary to curb your child’s violent tendencies.
They may prescribe antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) like phenytoin and carbamazepine for aggression brought on by pediatric epilepsy. For schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, or bipolar disorder, your doctor may prescribe mood stabilizers, and also omega-3 fatty acid supplements.
Once you’ve done this, you may seek supplementary ways to help you and your child manage:
Your physician might suggest your child undergo cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to help him develop coping mechanisms that will allow him to deal with his condition on his own.
2. Proper Diet
Pay close attention to what your child eats and the timing of his mood swings, as his aggression might be caused by a sensitivity to certain food, like gluten or sugar. You also need to ensure that he drinks ample amounts of water throughout the day, as dehydration might exhaust his body and cause a sensory meltdown.
3. Observe Your Environment
Are the lights too bright? Is it too cold? Was there a last-minute change in routine that could have led to him lashing out? Looking around at what might have been the cause of your child’s meltdown (especially if they have Sensory Processing Disorder, or SPD) will help you prevent more meltdowns in the future.
4. Remove Dangerous Objects
During a temper tantrum—or a sensory meltdown, whichever the case may be—your child will have no control over what he does. He will likely pick up the nearest thing within reach and fling it to the opposite side of the room, or push it so it falls to the floor. If it’s glass, sharp objects like scissors and forks, or something expensive like a mobile phone, he could either hurt himself or your wallet (triggering an aggressive response from you, as well).
Avoid such things by keeping dangerous objects out of the way, and monitor them like a hawk until their ‘episode’ is over.
5. Allow For Recovery Time
Most kids with aggressive tendencies might have a hard time settling down after such a high-energy incident. Give them some time and space to be left alone and calm down on their own.
6. Prepare An “Emergency Meltdown Kit”
Basically, this is a toolkit that can help you diffuse the situation for the next time an anger-motivated outburst comes along. Pack the following items for your kit:
- Aromatherapy oils
- Handheld massage ball
- Noise canceling headphones
- A favorite toy or stuffed animal
- Favorite food
- Fidget spinner
- Change of clean clothes
- Entertainment, like a Game Boy or tablet
7. Weighted Blanket
For several years, observational therapists have been using weight to combat anger-fuelled episodes in patients with Asperger’s, autism, ADHD, and other such neurological conditions. Some therapists would ‘squish’ the patient between two bean bag chairs, or place a pillow on top of the patient’s body and sit on them. Both techniques use a significant amount of weight to ‘ground’ the patient and help calm him down.
Miran Blanket uses the same principle of weight therapy, which is scientifically called Deep Pressure Therapy. This weighted blanket is designed to weigh from 10 to 15% of your child’s body weight, which works to not only soothe the nervous system, but calm the mind.
Weighted blankets also induce the production of serotonin and dopamine, our so-called “happy hormones”. These allow your child to have a better night’s sleep and make him feel even more refreshed when he wakes up, which could help curb his aggressive tendencies.
There are many ways in which we can deal with children who are aggressive. Just because they may be violent right now, doesn’t mean they always will be. With the right combination of medical help and good old TLC, your kid will someday be able to manage and overcome his aggressive behavior.