I'm at a bit of a loss for how to handle this situation... My DS is 3 yo and in preschool two mornings a week. He seems to be in time-out at least once each day he is there, for various things, but mostly for pushing and poking at the other kids, and in general being "a disruption." Today, he told me he had to go in time-out for knocking a little girl down.
About a week ago, he told me he didn't want to go to school because he didn't have any friends, and he didn't think the other kids liked him. So, I'm assuming that's at least partly where the "aggression" is coming in...I think he wants to play with the other kids but doesn't know how. I've wondered if DS may be attempting to be friendly to the other children at first, and then when they don't answer or respond in kind, he thinks they don't like him. I know at drop-off today, he said good morning to a boy in his class, and the little boy looked right at him and then turned around and walked away. (not that I'm expecting 3 yr. olds to be social experts by any means, but still...)
I just don't get it...we never seem to have this problem at the playground when we go...he marches right up to any kids around and says, "Hi! I'm DS...wanna play?" And he's always been such a happy, extroverted child. He's the kind of person who never meets a stranger.
I want so badly to help him with this, but I don't know how, or if this is just something every kid has to deal with at some point, and maybe I should step back and let him work it out. I've tried to have a few light discussions where we talk about how to be a good friend and about not pushing/hitting, but I worry that he thinks I'm blaming him or that he's "bad." I would love to have playdates with other children, to practice and so he could possibly find a friend, but that isn't really an option at this point in time... None of my friends have kids, and actually, we don't really know anyone with kids anywhere near his age.
Mama to DS (5)
I'd ask the teacher to shadow him for a few days, and work through the scenerios with him before they happen. Or, I'd go in and do it myself. Maybe, I'd also try to become the "cool" mom. You know the kid who is always bringing fun things to share with the other kids? Or the mom who always has cookies ready after school? I'd hang around and pull a string out of my pocket and do a few string tricks (and be sure ds could be smug about already knowing them). Or, maybe sit around making paper airplanes, and confidently say, "Hey, ds, you're good at throwing this one. Can you show us how to do it?" Just little stuff like that to change the dynamic.
"If you keep doing the same things you've always done, you'll keep getting the same results you've always gotten."
I wish I knew how to help. This is a main reason we chose to homeschool. My son sounds very much like yours - very friendly extrovert and never shy to invite others to play. We don't have (usually) have trouble when there are one or two other kids at the park or on a play date, but he never does well in large groups. Most kids are not as sociable and extroverted as he is and he doesn't know what to do with their reactions or general group dynamic.
For me, I feel this is something he will be able to handle better in the coming years without any intervention besides explaining social interactions in the way we normally would. I would be very concerned if my 3 year old already felt like a social outcast and was on his way to being labeled as a 'bad boy' or 'mean' - even if that is a huge misunderstanding of his intentions.
XM,: mama to ds (5/08), dd (9/10) and ds (6/12) ! :C.H.S & M.
I could have written what simplemama did about my own son, who sounds very much like yours and XM's also. I was going to post something similar, but I am too emotionally worn out and sad right now, and you put it beautifully, so I will open my hands and accept the wisdom of other mamas along with you!
My only recommendation is to read the book Raising your Spirited Child and share it with your child's teacher. It is really helpful for reframing your son's behavior and understanding him better, if indeed he is spirited.
It's helpful to me (in a remote rural area with only one preschool choice) to just know other families are learning and working through these same issues. Thank you.