This can be a game-changer with kids who are acting out aggressively, or are caught in a cycle of creating bad behavior, getting a bad response, and then repeating.
Try to put aside your anger and frustration and muster genuine curiosity and say:
"I know you must have a good reason for dumping sand on Bobby's head. Can you tell me what it is?"
"I know you have a good reason for being so angry right now. Can you tell me about it?"
If you are able to say this with good will, you may be very surprised by how much your child wants to share their good reason, and how doing so makes then feel seen, respected, and lets them get the big feelings off their chest.
"I dumped sand on Bobby because he always comes over and grabs toys from me, and nobody ever sees it or stops him! It's not fair!!"
"I'm so angry because I hate having a sister and we always have to what she wants and I have to give up so much!"
Validate and empathize as much as you can, and listen as they unload. Afterward, it's very common for your child to spontaneously get into a more cooperative mindset and want to make amends.