Responding to aggressive and violent behaviours

Responding to aggressive and violent behaviours

  • The most important things a caregiver can do when responding to aggressive or violent outbursts is stay calm.
  • Speak in low and calm tone of voice and remove any other children or vulnerable people from the situation.
  • Ask the person why they are upset. Repeat what they have told you so they know that you are listening and you have heard them.
  • Ask the person to come to a different room or outside to talk about how they are feeling. A change in environment can help to calm the situation.

What else can be done?

  • Rewards for good behaviours may be helpful in reducing violent outbursts and aggression. If your loved one has something they would like to buy, or an activity they would like to do such as going to the cinema, they can work towards this with good behaviour. Praise the person when they are calm and interacting well, as they may feel they get more attention for challenging behaviour.
  • Talking therapies may be helpful in responding to aggressive or violent outbursts. This may include: cognitive behavioural therapy, family therapy or counselling.

What about medications?

  • Medication may be considered for the person living with ADHD as a response to violent and aggressive behaviours.
  • Medication is considered the most effective treatment for ADHD.
  • However, the decision to try medication is a personal one. Caregivers should take time to discuss medication with their loved one and health care professionals. Possible side effects and benefits should be carefully considered.