Aggression vs. violence in boys

Michael Gurian, MFA, CMHC Family Counselor, shares advice for parents on the difference between aggression and violence in boys how to be able to tell the difference
Raising Boys | The Difference Between Aggression and Violence
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Aggression vs. violence in boys

Aggression, that's something that parents think a lot about, especially with boys. And actually, some aggression is great. And the key distinction for parents is aggression versus violence. What we tend to do is we group it all together, and we don't want to group it all together, especially if we're raising boys. Boys, there's a lot of reasons in the brain and testosterone and hormones, there's a lot of reasons why boys are biologically much more likely to go out into the world, hit things, bounce things, and be aggressive. And they actually bond with each other, they love each other by being aggressive. So they'll slap each other around a laugh, "Ha ha ha, that's really funny," and bond with each other that way. So that's aggression and that's okay. Violence is when someone tries to destroy another person, that's violence. But aggression is when someone tries to play with, when someone even tries to control another person. That's still okay, that's aggression. And what it's asking is for the other boy to fight back a little, to rise up, to engage, and to love and care. So I think the key thing is separate aggression and violence. Don't worry if the boys are being aggressive; do worry if they're becoming violent.

Michael Gurian, MFA, CMHC Family Counselor, shares advice for parents on the difference between aggression and violence in boys how to be able to tell the difference


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Michael Gurian, MFA, CMHC

Family Counselor & Author

Michael Gurian is the New York Times bestselling author of 25 books published in 21 languages. He provides counseling services at the Marycliff Center, in Spokane, Washington. The Gurian Institute, which he co-founded, conducts research internationally, launches pilot programs and trains professionals. Michael has been called "the people's philosopher" for his ability to bring together people's ordinary lives and scientific ideas.

 He has pioneered efforts to bring neuro-biology and brain research into homes, schools, corporations, and public policy. A number of his books have sparked national debate, including The Wonder of Girls, The Wonder of Boys, and Boys and Girls Learn Differently!, and The Minds of Boys.

Michael has served as a consultant to families, corporations, therapists, physicians, school districts, community agencies, churches, criminal justice personnel and other professionals, traveling to approximately 20 cities per year to keynote at conferences. His training videos (also available as DVDs) for parents and volunteers are used by Big Brother and Big Sister agencies in the U.S. and Canada.

 As an educator, Michael previously taught at Gonzaga University, Eastern Washington University, and Ankara University.  His speaking engagements include Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, Stanford University, Macalester College, University of Colorado, University of Missouri-Kansas City, and UCLA. His philosophy reflects the diverse cultures (European, Asian, Middle Eastern and American) in which he has lived, worked and studied.

Michael's work has been featured in various media, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, USA Today, Newsweek, Time, People Magazine, Reader's Digest, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes Magazine, Parenting, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, and on the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, PBS and National Public Radio.

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