K.T. asks from Merrill, WI on January 08, 2009
Aggressive Behavior in the Classroom
My 4 yr old boy pushed a male classmate down and growled at him through gritted teeth. He says because he wanted to be first in line. Hmm. I wonder how to deal with this behavior. He plays sometimes with older children (no more than 3 years older) and I wonder if he's getting it there. We don't watch TV with him except for Blue's Clue and he's pretend play-fighting as Spiderman or Superman or who knows what!
So - my main questions are: what to do with this aggressive behavior? How do I address the aggressive pretend play, if at all?
R.K. answers from Appleton on January 09, 2009
He is probably learning that behavior from someone. It could be the older kids he plays with or kids at school. If he has never shown this kind if behavior before I would say talk to him and see if you can find out where he picked it up from. Also explain to him that pushing is never okay. It is so difficult to teach kids the line between being a push-over and being aggressive.
One thought is he playing video games at home or someone elses home or at school? Or is he watching TV programs at the other kids homes that you may not approve of?
If this is an isolated case then I wouldn't be too worried about it. As long as you and he have a stongly worded conversation about agressive behavior.
C.S. answers from Omaha on January 08, 2009
He is a boy, that is where the behavior came from. It is amazing the difference b/w boys and girls. It is also part of the age, he is figuring out that he can push people and get his way. My sweetheart of a son disappeared at 3 1/2 and started arguing and fighting with his friends, and getting mad at having to sit in time out. we went through the same thing with our now 8 year old around the same age. You just have to be consistant with what is ok behavior and what is not. And how he is discipled when he acts out. Talk to him about how he feels when kids are mean to him and what he likes about his friends. It will take a little while but his behavior should improve.
1 mom found this helpful
L.H. answers from Milwaukee on January 09, 2009
Just tell him that the behavior is not acceptable and if that behavior happens he should go to the end of the line etc. Ask if he would like someone to do that to him if he was first in line. Tell him that he needs to treat others like he wants to be treated.
N.D. answers from Fargo on January 08, 2009
I have a 6 year old son who has aggressive behavior and especially in school. I sat down and told him that he needs to be nice to kids or they are going to be mean back to him and if he would like that. Well he got aggressive the other day with a kid in school and the kid was mean back towards him. My son came home from school and was crying he didn't like it that the other kid was mean so he has been nice since. Try keeping him away from any shows that have fighting in them and any kids that are going to influence him to have aggressive behaviors
K.S. answers from Minneapolis on January 09, 2009
It is very common for kids this age to experiment with pushing as a way to get what they want. I think it is most important to understand how the teacher handles situations like this (because they certainly come up enough in a preschool and even older classroom). I don't find that kids this age make a strong connection between something that happens at school and a "punishment" meted out hours later at home. The teacher needs to be dealing with that behavior at the moment it happens. You can certainly process the event with him at home, asking what happened, how the other child might have felt, the result of his actions (did he end up being sent to the end of the line?), etc. Even role playing a similar situation at home can help him understand how to better handle the situation next time by teaching him how to ask instead of shove.
R.P. answers from St. Cloud on January 09, 2009
My sister has 3 boys (and they lived with us for a while) and i have all girls. I am a firm believer that children are born with certain natures; boys are more agressive than girls, and it's ok in the right place. In our country I feel like we try to stifle male-ness in boys and place them on meds when they wiggle too much and try to stop them completely from acting out their natural agression. That pent-up aggression then comes out in negative ways. I highly suggest the book "Bringing up Boys" by Dr.James Dobson, he is an amazing family psychologist. Anyway, my sister has rules for her boys on this topic. They are allowed to rough-house with each other, and are allowed to 'shoot' pretend bad guys but are never allowed to 'shoot' (with sticks or nerf guns, they don't have any other facimile weapons) at each other or people. This has helped them understand the rules and at the same time, they still get to get their natural in-born aggression out. My suggestion for you would be to encourage a little more boy play during play time and set some guidelines about what is appropriate for play time and what is definitely not ok with friends and in school, in public, etc. Good luck and best wishes.
E.K. answers from Rapid City on January 09, 2009
Also keep in mind that it could be a passing thing. My 3-year-old daughter was pushing a bit at preschool one week. She had not had her regular nap in 3 days, and her grandparents who are the regular afternoon childcare, were out of town. So also check if his routine is off. It may pass.
A.T. answers from Davenport on January 09, 2009
I am a mother to 2 boys and I teach preschool (pre-K 4 & 5 year olds). I agree with some of the other postings that you should be sure to discuss the incident with his teacher & preschool staff to find out how they handled it, what did they do? If the same thing or something similar happens again, what will they do? It is important for the behavior to be addressed immediately. In my class I see aggressive behavior from both boys and girls, I don't think that sex is as much of a factor as age and social development (which comes in it's own time and speed for each child). Please remember that at 4 your son is still learning to control his emotions, feelings, and actions. We as parents and then the preschool teachers are there to encourage and guide children through this learning process. Preschool is an environment where much social learning and development take place.
Just as he is learning the ABCs, numbers, etc. he is also learning how to form friendships and handle conflict. I wouldn't be overly worried about this; look at it as another type of learning opportunity, a chance for him to realize a different or more appropriate response to those feelings. Suggest using words and asking the other child or the teacher if he could be first in line, if not, help him understand that all of the students must take turns being first in line. (In my class we have a different designated line leader each day.) I'm sure that you already have, but continue to reinforce and explain to him that we do not use our hands/bodies to hurt anyone else. Make sure he understands that he has other choices when he is upset, angry or frustrated with a classmate. Remind him to use his words first and that he can always ask a teacher for help.
I like to tell my students that being a good friend means making good choices. They all want to be good friends:)
If a child makes a poor choice then I believe in simple consequences; going to the end of the line or sometimes thinking time so a child can regain composure as it can be difficult for that age group to deal with disappointment. Often just redirection is what is needed, moving to another activity or being given another 'job'.
Social interactions are a skill that we are taught and learn, give him some time and continue to remind him of appropriate ways to express his feelings. Some children enjoy role playing...if he does maybe you could be another child at school and work through various scenarios and help him make good choices.
E.B. answers from Duluth on January 09, 2009
I have been amazed at the change in my son's behavior as he's entered preschool (School Readiness). He's 4 1/2 and has always been very physical. He bit/hit until a little later than most kids, but was in a very loving, touchy daycare who worked hard with him to teach him not to do those things--they removed him entirely from the situation and had him do puzzles (he's very, very good at puzzles now!) and it stopped. Now that he's in school, I'm not seeing the aggression, but I am seeing his language and tone of voice becoming disrespectful. Is there the possibility you could observe for an hour, see how he interacts? It might give you a clue to what's happening. Maybe he feels he doesn't have control, doesn't know what to do in a situation, or is even being taunted by other kids, all of which you could help teach him to deal with in better ways. Perhaps he's just aggressive, in which case it's a harder lesson; maybe his teacher has advice? You seem to be very accepting and ready to work on it--most teachers are very excited to work with parents like that, especially if the student is truly having troubles. Also, without diminishing the need to teach him that this is not acceptable behavior, I do think it's somewhat a boy thing. We showed affection by (ok, it's weird to write this out...) kinda kissing like dogs a little, I guess? Roughly? We'd be roughhousing and using our mouths and not biting, but using our lips to tickle (this is not perverted, I swear) and later wondered why our 1 year old bit...gee...we used our mouths for affection; he probably just didn't quite know yet how to control his teeth! Look at your own behavior, too, and see if there are subtle ways you're "encouraging" it--I think kids need rough play, but I also wondered if he couldn't tell the difference between roughhousing and aggression. Anyway--good luck.