The boys aged six and four, were arguing over a truck. A caregiver intervened in the argument and decided to settle it by asking the boys to name a number between 1 and 10. The boy who got closest to the number she had in mind would get the truck. (Her intervention was developmentally inappropriate.) The 4-year-old could not understand the task she posed. The older child retaliated by threatening to take the younger boy off a birthday party list, an act of hostile aggression. Hostile aggression is any act intended to hurt or harm another.
- How did the action (intervention) of the adult affect the disagreement over the truck?
- Was the intervention appropriate? Why or why not?
- How might you have helped the boys solve the situation by themselves?
- If your goal is for children to learn to settle disagreements by themselves, what might you have done during this episode?
- What are the developmental differences between these 2 boys?
- What are some clues that C.J. did not understand the adult’s solution?
- How would you classify the older boy’s threat to take C.J. off his birthday party list?
- What are the characteristics of hostile and instrumental aggression? How do they differ? At what ages are they most common?