Behavior - West Hills,CA

Updated on June 18, 2012
J.R. asks from West Hills, CA
19 answers

I am really upset. My two-year old just told his grandfather that he killed a toy robot and he died. He pretended to cry and told his grandfather to bring him back to life. We never let him watch anything with a commercial or violent content.
My son goes to preschool/ daycare and there is a little boy who pretends to turn legos into guns, who has bit, and hit on a regular bases.
The daycare provider sees the problem, but does not want to kick him out. I promise you his behavior is beyond the normal toddler behavior. I am really concerned. I know you may be thinking how do I know he learned this from the boy. But there are no other children or adults in his life that discuss violence. My friends are like minded and do not even let there kids watch sponge bob or any cartoons of the like. Should I find a different preschool?

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So What Happened?

Thanks, mommas. Ironicallly, I appreciate that the majority of the responses are non- judgemental. :-) I am supporting my home, so not working is not an option. However, I will use this as an opportunity to instill the values that I think are important. I know my response was reactive, but I guess I want to preserve his innocence just a little longer. In reallity, he probably did not conceptualize what he was saying, so using the situation as a teaching moment would probably be beneficial. Thanks again!

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C.A.

answers from Los Angeles on

Yes, immediately, and tell the preschool WHY you are leaving. This other child is probably brain-damaged or abused at home. Children imitate what they see. Good luck.

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C.H.

answers from San Diego on

I think you should take him out of preschool. Kids don't really need school until kindergarten anyway. If you want him raised a certain way, you'll need to be there to model it.

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C.B.

answers from Kansas City on

don't take this personally, but i think there comes a time when all of us anti-gun moms have to accept reality. my son is now 3 1/2, and we have never given him toy guns, let him watch any of "those" shows, play any of "those" video games, etc...however, his two fingers work just fine to "shoot" at bad guys. and yes, i know that he got it from daycare. i was just telling my husband tonight we will probably have to change tactics, and teach responsibility in gun play (NO shooting at people, ever, guns are dangerous, etc)...instead of abstinence. there is a whole real world out there. and we can't protect them from every kid whose mother allows him to play with toy guns and shoot at everything that moves. and yes, eventually they will have to learn about death and dying. at 2 and 3, i don't think either of our boys really understand what they're saying. which is the good news. but we still have to try to curb the behavior and guide their views on these things - that's our job. but honestly, he's in preschool. unless you intend to wrap him in bubble wrap and lock him in his room till he is 18 - well - we really should look at our job as preparing them for real life, not protecting them from it. it might be time to change your tactics a bit too.

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M.S.

answers from Philadelphia on

I don't think you should find another pre school. You could talk to your son and try to explain why you didn't like what he did. It worked for me when my oldest was his age. You never know, he may be play acting for the benefit of attention. I'm not saying he's being bad, just trying to see the different emotions and things that stuff puts us through.

Another thing, whats going to happen when you send him to school? You aren't going to be able to control what he sees, hears at school. You can only hope that the values you gave him shine through.

Hope this helps.

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K.L.

answers from Washington DC on

I don't think at 2 yrs old your son is actually doing this in a violent way. Personally, I think society is a bit too sensitive to these things. I don't think it possible to completely shield him or shelter him from it, but a better approach it to teach him about what is and isn't appropriate.

For example, my husband, father-in-law and friends of ours hunt, so guns and bows are a part of our lives and are in our house (yes, they are put away and not accessible to our son). We will teach our son at an early age (probably around 4) to respect a gun, that its not a toy, etc.

I know a lot of people won't agree with it, but we don't shelter our son from things. Granted, he's only 2, but we feel its better for him to be exposed to things and to learn how to react or behave from us rather than from friends at school.

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S.H.

answers from Honolulu on

This is a good article, by Scholastic, about a related subject and for your future reference:
http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=679

Next... I don't really see this incident as "violent" per say. Yes, he said he "killed" a robot and he died. But also at this age sometimes, they ask about "what does die mean?" etc. My kids, when between 2-3 years old, simply would ask what "die" means. Or why their pet fish died. Or why the bug they stepped on died etc. AND, they are learning empathy. Your son then "cried" about the robot. At this age, their emotions are not even fully developed... nor their comprehension of abstractness. So he may not FULLY understand the full ramifications of it, like how you would as an adult.

Next, if his classmate is really "violent" AND causes harm to the other children... then the Providers have a obligation to deal with the child and call his parents too.... and/or kick him out. BUT... if this child is just role-playing by himself and NOT causing harm to other kids and is generally behaved... then, they cannot kick him out. Because nothing physically aggressive is being perpetrated on the other kids. And if he is NOT a "bully" then they can't just kick him out because he plays with certain toys.

Next.... boys, do play a certain way and have gender related tendencies toward certain toys or noises or play styles.
Also, at this age... kids hit and bite and what not. So... is this boy obscenely MORE aggressive than the typical 2 year old... or is he doing what other 2 years old do, at this age? Because at this age, kids do get demonstrative of their frustrations or social skills ineptness.

It does not matter if the child watches cartoons or not. A child, especially at 2-3 years old... does certain things that crops up per their age juncture.

BUT if this boy is flagrantly aggressive and a "bully" and ALL THE OTHER kids are super well behaved and on point, then maybe in comparison this kid seems bad.

Next, if you think the boy should be kicked out.... then did you write the school a letter of your concern? Do OTHER parents complain about this boy too???? If so, then there would be a consensus.... about this boy.

Next, as your son get older and proceeds onto other grade levels... there will inevitably be many other kids from different cultures/interests/social levels and play styles... some being more physical or active than others. Some blatantly are punks/bullies... others just more verbally precocious etc. So... you can find another school for him. Or... you talk to the school Director/staff and see what can be done or if this child is a "problem" truly. But also in conjunction with that... teach your child about life's varying scenarios/social skills/how to communicate etc....age appropriately.
You cannot keep changing schools, just because there are different kids from different backgrounds/cultures/interests/toys or not.

I am not siding with you or the other. But just bringing up some various things that also count or not. I have 2 kids... and things like this do happen. Use your best judgment about how to handle it... and ALSO use these moments as "teaching moments" for your son... in explaining life/things.

Just some thoughts.
All the best,
Susan

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C.S.

answers from Victoria on

Unless you are planning on homeschooling, your son will always be around those with different beliefs that could influence him. For instance, we live in the country & death is pretty much a daily occurence. Our cats leave us gifts daily.....snakes, frogs, lizards, rabbitts, squirrels etc. I asked my son what happens to animals when they die & was told, "the big black birdies eat them" My son is very affectionate & not what i would call violent, but granny allowed him to watch sponge bob, which I hate, & his dad competition shoots, so he plays with guns. We have taught gun safety, which means no pointing or shooting at people or animals. My son bit a kid in daycare twice, & I put a stop to it, but later found out that the kid was continously harrassing my son & since he didn't have the verbal skills, decided to stop the kid himself. My point here is that there are circumstances that are not always in our control that can influence our kids whether we choose it or not. My son who has been exposed to all these things, has talked about killing the monsters in his room, also cried when the roly poly bug he picked up & was playing with died. So, I wouldn't worry too much about it. Just reinforce how you feel & what your family beliefs are. Hope this helps you. :D Oh. my son is just about to turn 4.

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L.B.

answers from Stationed Overseas on

My belief is that you will always run into people that don't necessarily share your beliefs and you and your children need to know how to handle that. If you like the preschool and your son is more or less happy there I wouldn't move him. In my opinion it's easier simply to deal with your son and teach him that the stuff he's learning about violence is not nice and he shouldn't do those kinds of things.
As he gets older he's going to bring home all kinds of behaviours and attitudes from school. You're obviously not going to change schools every time he brings home a behaviour you don't like. You have to figure out how to handle those behaviours.
For myself and my daughter I discipline those behaviours the same as anything else she does. She's basically on a three strikes you're out system. She gets 3 warnings and then a timeout. Unless the behaviour is particularly dangerous or nasty in which case she might get a timeout without warning, but that's a judgement call on my part and I only use that in extreme cases.
I would say have a short talk with your little one about violence and tell him it's not nice and he shouldn't play like that. Just tell him that in your house you play nicely and think happy thoughts. If it continues use your usual method for discipline and move on.
Hope that helps.

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L.A.

answers from Austin on

My sister was surprised that her son was able to turn anything into a weapon. Like you she had really made every effort to shield her son from anything related to violence. He still used anything as a weapon.

I remember years ago The Reporter John Stossel was doing a report about boys and girls. He was devastated and shocked one night when at dinner his son made a gun out of a slice of bread! He chewed it into the shape and pointed the "bread gun" at his beloved sister. '

He also said they gave their son baby dolls and the daughter trucks, but the kids on their own were always more interested in the more traditional roles and toys. .

After speaking with professionals, they explained that this is just a natural instinct for most children to be drawn to girls wanting to play in a maternal style and boys wanting to play in a more aggressive way. It does not mean that the girls cannot be strong and the boys cannot be sensitive, but there is no way to control it one way or the other. The Child development experts told him that even on strict controlled studies this would happen.

Just continue to teach your son empathy. To explain the difference between real life and fantasy.

I used to watch all videos and cartoons with my daughter. I would ask her "is this real?" She would say "mom this is a cartoon, dinosaurs can't talk!"
Or "Little Bear is just a story. This story is just teaching us lessons"..

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K.M.

answers from Orlando on

I have 4 boys and they could not be any more different from each other if they were strangers. One thing they all had in common was playing boy roles at this age. This is normal. You can't shield him from the world. The only thing you can do is teach him good values and pray for the best.

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S.B.

answers from Redding on

I don't think you should find a different preschool.
Little kids hear things and they are just beginning to get things figured out.
I wouldn't be sure it's something he even heard from another child. They don't always listen when we want them to, but they hear like hawks when we don't think they're paying any attention.
My son was just a little guy when his grandpa died, and he was at his house when it happened. They called for an ambulance, but the firemen EMT's got there first. For years, everytime my son saw a firetruck, he thought his grandpa was riding around in the back of it.
Little kids learn about things in their own ways.
As for the robot incident, I wouldn't make too much of it. When my kids were little, they thought something "died" if the battery ran out.

I'm just not so sure this came from a "violent" place as far as your son is concerned or that he's been exposed to violence necessarily.

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K.P.

answers from Los Angeles on

I am reading a book on how to raise healthy sons, since i am a woman and don't know what its like to be a man/boy. In the book it says war, fighting, good guys/ bad guys is COMPLETELY normal! It is a way for them to learn morals, learn whats right and wrong etc. We need to keep our boys as boys and not try to feminize them to be girls. Like you, I was appalled at the sword fighting, killing things etc. but after reading the book, written by a female doctor,it has brought much peace.in my heart.
Even if you go to another preschool, you will find another boy who will do the same thing. No escaping whats inherited in their DNA.
Even in primitive cultures, kids will pick up sticks and start sword fighting w(without tv influence....etc)

GOod luck!

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D.G.

answers from Los Angeles on

Honestly - no, you shouldn't. Your son is going to be exposed to all different types of children throughout his life, who were raised with different parenting philosophies than yours and so may talk about and do things you may not approve of. It would, in my opinion, be more detrimental for you to try and shelter your son from all these differences than to let him be exposed to them and teach him what your values are by talking with and showing him. As he gets older, you will not be able to shelter him from everything (including violence), nor should you or you will not be preparing him to respond to the world he lives in. If you continue to teach him your family's values, he should develop into the type of boy who can respect the differences in others while still maintaining his own sense of right and wrong.

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M.R.

answers from Columbus on

You can't unring a bell, and the question is, did this child who you blame do the rigning, or would this bell have been rung no matter what you did to prevent it?

In any case, finding a new preschool would not do anything, unless you think that your son is in danger from this other child. You could never be sure that the next one won't have a child with worse behavior. He will encounter a lot of this if you expose him to the world.

Your son showed empathy. It is a good development that he felt remorse, and he wanted to fix it. People learn through mistakes, it is far better to learn them through make beleive, than through real life after being sheltered to the reality that is around us.

You won't be able to demand that every child who is different from yours (or whose parents are not of the same mind) be kicked out of school, so you might as well get used to the fact that there are going to be negative influences in his world. You have to give him the tools to handle them. Sometimes, he will not choose wisely, and this will be the time to grab that teachable moment, not worry about the family down the street who wants your child kicked out...some kids just get there sooner than others.

Also, the word you are looking for is not "normal" it is "typical."

Good luck,
M.

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P.K.

answers from Las Vegas on

I'd feel better if my son was in a school where he wasn't exposed to things I feel are inappropriate. You might also use this as an opportunity to talk about what death really is. It is not a game, can be very sad, and it's permanent. My family is Catholic and I think I'd try to teach a little about what our faith tells us. At two you aren't going to have a 'deep' conversation but it's good to begin dialogue when the opportunity presents.

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C.S.

answers from Syracuse on

Unfortunately, I have to agree with Adansmama. The first 3 years I refused to buy anything that could resemble a gun, sword, GI joe's etc for my son.
The first time I saw my son pick up a stick outside and point it and make a sound like a machine gun I was heartbroken. I had been protecting him ( so I thought) and how did he even know to do this? He then began to use any object he could find and want to play cops and robbers?? How did this happen?? Outside influences...and unfortunately no one can be protected from that!
The important thing is to make sure he understands playing is pretending but in reality guns, swords, etc are very dangerous and can hurt people, animals and they are not something we want in our family.
The compassion my son shows when he sees a hurt animal or a younger child gives me the relief I need to know he understands.

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C.A.

answers from Los Angeles on

yes, and no. the thing is, there is probably a kid like that in every preschool. I wonder if he has older siblings. I have 3 kids. and my 3 yr old sees things because she has a 9 yr old brother. And the 9 yr old doesn't see that much. But, yes, Sponge Bob. there is no right answer. In life people die. Do you watch the news? or have it on in the car? the news talks about lots o' violence.

A.H.

answers from Anniston on

my son will be 3 soon, he has toy guns, him and my daughter play bad/good guys. we have guns and bows in the house, although they are in a safe they cant get to them but they know what they are. I dont think theres anything wrong with this, especially for boys, its normal, and they will see and hear these things no matter if you try to protect them from it or not. My son also takes action figures and pretends fights between them etc. he is also the sweetest and most caring little boy who hates to see anyone upset and if his sister gets hurt(and shes older) he will hug and kiss her to make it better. Its normal, my kids are allowed toy guns and i dont see nothing wrong with it. Also i dont think changing daycares will do any good, ive worked in day cares and theres always atleast one child that acts this way every year, and there always will be. parents try to protect their children from way to much and there are just some things you cant change. I hope this didnt come out in a wrong way. Im southern and hunting, guns etc are just an every day part of life lol

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K.B.

answers from Salt Lake City on

It's up to you. If you are worried about your son, then you should do something, but remember there are children that behave in ways we don't 'approve' of all the time. I have a small basketball team myself, i know. I think any age it is correct to start teaching your child right vs wrong. Dying is a part of life, on the positive side, he showed very appropriate reactions. Hiding that aspect from your child may back them want to act or play it out. I think that there is a balance...

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