DS just started preschool in September and before this we've never really had any real "behaviour" issues with him- I guess we're lucky in that regard. He has his bad tantrums and normal kid stuff but nothing we couldn't handle and nothing that I couldn't try different ways to address it and eventually find something that worked to avoid, eliminate or defuse the behaviour. So I'm just baffled now and would love to hear any of your suggestions.
We've been getting lots of complaints from his teachers about aggression and hitting all of a sudden. It started out as DS would have a meltdown and when the teachers tried to calm him he would lash out physically at them. We quickly found out that it was because they were getting too close, too quickly when he was upset. Hugs don't calm him, neither does close face talking (doesn't work for me either!). Anyway, then he began hitting and pushing other kids, with little or no provocation it seems. Although he is a quite a big and strong 3 yo his pushes and hits are not hard at all, it doesn't seem he is trying to really hurt anyone. Nevertheless in the preschool world this is THE behaviour that they won't tolerate- we are already at the point where they are talking about us having to take him out! Not because he has really hurt anyone just because it happens so often, like all the time. I've seen it myself. I can't tell what sets him off- a lot of the time he doesn't even seem angry- a kid will just walk in his vicinity and he will reach out and softly smack him on the arm or whatever. Or he will walk up to a kid and lightly push him. He has hit and pushed harder- when someone takes his toy, or otherwise "provokes" him but usually it is these softer but aggressive touches. He hasn't really hurt any of the kids like I said, he has hurt his teacher once by head-butting her when he was upset and she got way too close to his face (she doesn't seem to get this either ) Now it has spread to home and his baby sister- he used to be nothing but gentle with her.
We've tried all the usual stuff. Positive reinforcement when he is using appropriate touches (lots of this). Natural consequence of removing him from play. Talking about good touches and bad touches. Direct and brief admonishment when he does the behaviour combined with all the above ("We don't hit" "We don't push"). Read books and watched videos about no hitting etc. NOTHING works. We just can't get through to him.
Like I said, this is THE behaviour they won't tolerate in his school and if he is kicked out of this school there is no where else he can go. So we are in a pretty desperate place.