NUMBER 79 • 5 AUGUST 2002 • AGGRESSION IN YOUTH
INDEX OF QUOTES
Youth exhibit aggressive behavior for a number of reasons and purposes. For some, their behavior serves as a way to control their environment and feel powerful. For others, aggression is the easiest way to get what they want. Taking the possessions of others may compensate for a lack of belonging or connectedness. Students who are unable to gain academic skills and rewards may find status in aggression. Others exhibit aggressive behaviors in response to overwhelming feelings of frustration, anxiety and/or anger. In most cases aggressive behavior serves one additional purpose of confirming a world view in which hostile adults can be made to show disrespect, anger, and ultimately counteraggression towards them.
Whatever the underlying need, adults must recognize that students are trying to engage them in power struggles which almost always escalate student behavior to more aggressive and dangerous states. Unless we are aware of the transactional nature of this lure, we stand a good chance of being baited and hooked. The end result of this fishing expedition is a well-intentioned but frustrated and angry teacher who runs the risk of losing control and either threatening, yelling, devaluing, or harshly punishing students. Predictably, all of these possible outcomes will provoke further student aggression.
— HOWARD MUSCOTTMuscott, H. Avoiding counter-aggressive responses in work with youth with aggressive behaviors. Reclaiming Children and Youth. Vol.4 No.1, pp.41-44