Aggression in children and teens takes many forms, but the most common types are verbal and physical aggression. Aggression in children and teens takes many forms, however the most common types are verbal and physical aggression. Sometimes, children are acting on impulses, accompanied by guilt after they realize they have lashed out. These children and adolescents may have chronic problems with attention and impulsivity, or generally have difficulty controlling their behaviors but they essentially want to “be good.” The cause of aggressive behavior may be ADHD, anxiety, or another disorder that leads to a buildup of stress, resulting in impulsive acts to let off steam. Sankofa’s staff have experience with helping families and youth develop healthier behaviors, minimize impulsivity, and build routines and rewards into each day.

Children and teens also show behavioral problems that are willful, deliberate actions in opposition to adults. When children or adolescents have problems with authority figures, they may have a more serious condition called Oppositional Defiant Disorder or Conduct Disorder. Oppositional Defiant Disorder and Conduct Disorder involves aggression along with callousness towards consequences. Often, these children and adolescents are no longer interested in “being good,” because they know how to get what they want by “being bad.” Sankofa’s staff work with families to restructure interactions and support healthier relationships, while assisting individual children and teens with managing their own behaviors and intentions. Usually, oppositional aggression is accompanied by anger. Through individual and family therapy, Sankofa’s staff can assist clients to overcome anger and other underlying feelings and develop their capacity to express positive emotions.