Is aggression born or bred?

HOW, when, where and why does aggressive behaviour manifest?

One has simply to make use of social media on a daily basis to view acts of aggression that include rioting, assault, verbal abuse and road rage.

Scientists have explored theories that include; being born with the capacity for aggression and then learning how to control this, or being "pure" at birth and then imitating aggressive behaviour according to the surrounding environment.

One must also ask whether a placid person can be pushed to such an extent that they will retaliate with aggression and could this same gentle person become an aggressor with the use of intoxicating drugs?

Myriad questions could be asked about aggressive behaviour.

Recent research shows that children under the age of 1 begin to show forms of "exploratory" aggression and by two years of age have the ability to act out unexpected volatile tantrums.

By age 3 the same child has learned sufficient motor skills that allow them to conduct similar behaviour to that of an aggressive adolescent or adult.

Parents of two and three-year-old children often despair that their beautiful angel has turned into a monster, and worry that this behaviour will continue into adult life.

What are the answers surrounding aggression?

Not being a scientist I prefer to think that; provided parents love their child, teach that child right from wrong by practising a sound and productive belief system in the home, show the child the benefit of open conversation so they feel confident to discuss their inner fears openly, and discipline the child in a firm and caring manner, then the child will develop healthy behaviour.

Most important: it is the adult's duty to practise, and thereby instil, confidence and life purpose and meaning in their child so the child becomes the adolescent who is capable of making a healthy judgment when faced with a choice that might lead them toward an act of aggression.

Shirley Cornish Counselling is a relationship specialist and health coach. For more information phone 5443 7626, 0488 437626 or visit


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