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Starts and gets into fights:

This is a two-sided problem. Children may bully
and pick on other children and start fights; or they may come out fighting any
time they get frustrated, angry, or afraid. Conversely, some children may do
things that aggravate others to the point of fighting. Either way, it is a
serious problem.

Several things need some thought if you see this
sign in your child. Where did your child learn the behavior? Whether he is the
aggressor or the victim, he learned the role somewhere. It is not true children
often fight. By ten or so, most youngsters never get into physical fights.
Those who do usually have a behavior problem. They think fighting is a good way
to settle things. They may have learned this from their families or perhaps
from living in their neighborhoods or attending their schools. Some places are
very rough; and fighting is the normal way to handle conflict. Finally, it may
just be one step beyond screaming and yelling, hitting and hurting. If these
problems go unchecked, fighting and more serious violence are nearly certain,
especially as children get physically bigger and stronger.

If you are at your wits end and your child still
fights, say, “Your fighting is a serious problem. I’ve tried several
things over many weeks. (Then list the things you have tried.) You’re still
fighting. Here’s the problem. I want to help you but wonder if I can. However
you feel about it, I want you to know where I stand. If you and I can’t work
this out, it still has to be worked out. The fighting has to stop. We’ll start
with counseling. If that doesn’t help, we’ll take the next step. I don’t know
for sure right now what that is. I sincerely hope we don’t have to find out;
but I want you to know I will do whatever it takes to help you.”

What if your youngster says, “I don’t care
what you do?” You can say, “That’s a shame. I wish you cared. I care
and will do what has to be done to help you over this problem. Nothing is
happening today so we’ll have some chances to talk about this more.”

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