Aggressive Kids Making the Wrong Friends

February 12th, 2013 posted by Jan N. Hughes

arguing Nearly 90 percent of children labeled as having aggression problems don’t form friendships with “the right kinds of kids” – those who can provide appropriate examples of behavior when interacting with others. This is according to a study by Texas A&M educational psychologist Jan N. Hughes who has several recommendations for parents, in light of her findings. While this study was part of a larger study sponsored by NIH on early interventions for aggressive children, an interest developed regarding the potential ameliorative influence of pro-social friends on aggressive children’s development. When asked if she could describe some of the “wrong” kinds of kids and/or friendships, Dr. Hughes noted “Children who are bullies or who frequently oppose adults’ authority exert a negative influence on their friends, especially their friends who are moderately aggressive. That is, for children who have aggressive tendencies that are not full blown yet, associating with children who are defiant and aggressive increases the probability that they will become delinquent and substance-abusing in their teen years.” Dr. Hughes shares her recommendations to parents of aggressive children below. (relevant to children ages 7-11):

  • Enroll children in adult-supervised activities that are pro-social in nature, such as 4-H, church youth groups, band, scouting, and community theater.
  • Know your child’s friends. Get acquainted with their parents, and arrange opportunities to spend time with your children and their friends by planning outings and other recreational events of interest to children.
  • Talk with your child’s teacher about the company your child keeps at school.
  • Plan recreational activities that involve families that have children similar in age to your children (i.e., Community organized Backyard Camp ).

For some fun family centered activities, see our family leisure , family travel , and kid’s sections. This study was conducted between 1996-2001; the particular data reported in Dr. Ang’s dissertation study was collected in 1996-1998 and involved 150 aggressive children.

Jan N. Hughes (1 Posts)

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