Aggressive boys in preschool class - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 10-07-2012, 07:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My son is 4.5 years old and this is his second year of preschool. Last year there was one boy in his class about the same age who continually threw sand in other kids' faces, pushed kids, yelled at them, and was really just a bully. Let's call him "Mitt." Note that I observed this behavior when Mitt first started preschool when he was three years old. I know the preschool teacher spoke with Mitt's parent because at one point when I was picking up my son, the parent asked the teacher if her son had "punched out another kid today," and laughed about it. She was trying to joke and make light of the situation, which I totally understand.

 

I work occasionally in my son's preschool class. And I've given special attention to this boy. When Mitt gets one-on-one attention from an adult, he's great. When he doesn't get that one-on-one attention, he's not well behaved at all and in my opinion endangers other kids.

 

More recently, about one week ago, my son was trying to push a car around Mitt, and Mitt didn't want to let him. I'm not sure what happened but the end result was Mitt "screaming" at my son about three inches from his face. My son cried and finally a teacher went over to see what happened. Despite Mitt being in preschool for two years, he still throws sand, he goes out of his way to push other kids, etc. The teachers do not ignore this behavior. They pull the child aside and sit with him for a few minutes to let him calm down, or they show him how he's hurt another child and they ask him to apologize. In my opinion, redirection and passive correction is not working... obviously.

 

Last year my son would come home and tell me stories about how Mitt was mean to him or to someone else in preschool. This happens almost every time he's at preschool. I was able to handle one child like that. Well, now we are in a new year and there's another child at school that "is mean" according to my son. I didn't realize how mean until I was in class one day as working parent and my son and this other boy (let's call him "Gary") were across the playground. My son loves to climb rocks, and there's a spot in the corner where there are a couple rocks the kids can jump on. They are about 2 ft high. My son was on one and Gary pushed him off, so hard that my son hit the fence behind him. My son cried. The thing is, these kids are 4-ish years old (this is a Pre-K class) and when Gary saw that my son was crying, he laughed. He kept laughing until the teacher got a little firmer than usual and told him to look at Cole and tell her how Cole was feeling. It wasn't until a few days later when I saw my son's back for the first time and realized that he had bruises and scratches down his spine from that incident.

 

Needless to say, that kind of set me over the edge. I know boys get rowdy, but to purposely hurt another preschool-mate is beyond my comprehension.  

 

I would like to ask folks if this is normal behavior for four year olds. And to ask your advice as to my next step.

 

 

And to be clear, my number one priority is the safety of my child.  I want my child to have a loving preschool experience where he grows more confident. Despite the negative things I've said, my son says he likes preschool and has fun. We've also told him to just walk away from the situation if he's not comfortable or someone is mean to him.  (Which I'm not sure is what I want to teach him. What I want to teach him is to stand up for himself and if someone pushes him, push back harder and set them on their ass... but alas, I am trying to take the sage advice of one of the preschool teachers.)
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#2 of 12 Old 10-07-2012, 08:38 PM
 
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I would bring this up to the director and tell her you don't feel your son is being kept safe and think the teachers are struggling to effectively redirect or discipline these children in order to keep all kids safe. Feelings oriented redirection is important but so is safety and after sometimes the talk.about feelings needs to happen after a child has been removed from the situation causing them to lash out. It can also be very effective to point out the feelings then have the offender walk away from the area where they were fighting and find another activity. I would make it clear that you aren't looking for harsh measures but you do want them to have support in being more effective with the gentle methods the school uses.
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#3 of 12 Old 10-07-2012, 08:47 PM
 
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When my daughter was pushed around in preschool, I told her to give her bully three chances. Each time he pushed her, she was to tell him "I will tell you three times to stop pushing me, and then I will punch you in the nose." Third time? She told him "I told you three times to stop. You didn't. So now? I punch you in the nose." And she did..

 

Funny... He ended up in time out, and he never pushed my daughter around again.

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#4 of 12 Old 10-07-2012, 08:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by mtiger View Post

When my daughter was pushed around in preschool, I told her to give her bully three chances. Each time he pushed her, she was to tell him "I will tell you three times to stop pushing me, and then I will punch you in the nose." Third time? She told him "I told you three times to stop. You didn't. So now? I punch you in the nose." And she did..

 

Funny... He ended up in time out, and he never pushed my daughter around again.

OMG I am laughing my ass off right now! That is awesome!!!  Good for her... and good for you! 

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#5 of 12 Old 10-07-2012, 08:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by One_Girl View Post

I would bring this up to the director and tell her you don't feel your son is being kept safe and think the teachers are struggling to effectively redirect or discipline these children in order to keep all kids safe. Feelings oriented redirection is important but so is safety and after sometimes the talk.about feelings needs to happen after a child has been removed from the situation causing them to lash out. It can also be very effective to point out the feelings then have the offender walk away from the area where they were fighting and find another activity. I would make it clear that you aren't looking for harsh measures but you do want them to have support in being more effective with the gentle methods the school uses.

I don't think the teachers remove the aggressor from the situation, which is good advice. I like that. Then it's not my son who has to stop what he's doing. That makes me feel more comfortable. I don't want to tell him that he's the one that should walk away. Seems wrong if he's the one being picked on.  

 

And it's not that he's being picked on. It is more like these two other boys wanted something that my son had or my son was in the way, and then the other boys did what they thought they had to do to get what they wanted.  If my son is teased or picked on, I will just sit down and cry. 

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#6 of 12 Old 10-08-2012, 01:38 AM
 
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Had this problem last year in preschool and started to have it in K this year but I think we got it handled(I hope)..there was a lot of bullying and aggressiveness in L's preschool last year..I witnessed one small child having to be picked up by another teacher and carryied in the school because they wouldn't come in from playtime..And the whole time the teacher was being punched and called a B%^*%$ and all kinds of names..L saw the whole thing and seemed totally unfazed by it..I was very concerned that she saw that kind of thing..I talked with her teacher and the director of the program and they said they have several children like that in the program and that they don't remove the kids..They put them in timeout and sit an aide next to them for direction..When I voiced my concern over L's safety she told me that that they liked to keep the "challenging" kids in the room with mainstream kids like L so they could see the good behavior modeled and hopefully learn by it..Still didn't like it...but there was nothing I could do about it either..We moved out of state and L goes to a different school now..

 

But for what it is worth..My son...He was that aggressive child in school and much more...I tried everything and maybe the parents are trying...But it is just as hard when your child is the reciever...I hope it gets taken care of and your little one has a better time at school...School should be a fun place for the little ones to go to...

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#7 of 12 Old 10-08-2012, 03:37 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Mylie View Post

Had this problem last year in preschool and started to have it in K this year but I think we got it handled(I hope)..there was a lot of bullying and aggressiveness in L's preschool last year..I witnessed one small child having to be picked up by another teacher and carryied in the school because they wouldn't come in from playtime..And the whole time the teacher was being punched and called a B%^*%$ and all kinds of names..L saw the whole thing and seemed totally unfazed by it..I was very concerned that she saw that kind of thing..I talked with her teacher and the director of the program and they said they have several children like that in the program and that they don't remove the kids..They put them in timeout and sit an aide next to them for direction..When I voiced my concern over L's safety she told me that that they liked to keep the "challenging" kids in the room with mainstream kids like L so they could see the good behavior modeled and hopefully learn by it..Still didn't like it...but there was nothing I could do about it either..We moved out of state and L goes to a different school now..

But for what it is worth..My son...He was that aggressive child in school and much more...I tried everything and maybe the parents are trying...But it is just as hard when your child is the reciever...I hope it gets taken care of and your little one has a better time at school...School should be a fun place for the little ones to go to...

Don't leave us hanging. You say he 'was' the aggressor. How did it change? Do you have any words of wisdom having seen this issue from the other side?
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#8 of 12 Old 10-08-2012, 04:25 AM
 
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i have learnt to let dd make the judgement call on behaviours like this. 

 

ever since playgroups from when dd was 1 we have always had an aggressive kid. the one most at attention watching with a hawk's eye was the mom. in the playgroup. she made sure her kid didnt hurt anyone - but once or twice her child did. 

 

same thing in ps. you said your son was bruised. was that the first time he was bruised? 

 

i prefer to go by dd's reaction rather than mine on things like this. we had aggressive kids - and sometimes the teacher missed and dd got bruised but the admin stayed on top of those kids and worked with them - with both parties on how to show emotion. 

 

at 2 was the first time i had to evaluate between my emotions and dd's. this one kid would push my buttons, but surprisingly not my dd's. what he did to my dd would push my buttons. which led me to believe that we all have our own definition of bullying. what i found are my definitions and what my dd's definitions are - are completely different. what i discovered were teasing, comments really didnt affect my child as it did me. if the teachers overheard they were right on top of it. 

 

today some of those agressive kids are some of the sweetest i know. just age and maturity got that agression out of them. a couple had special needs. some had SPD and they knocked kids down with aggressive hugging. 

 

i know the aggressive kids in ps really helped dd take a second look at bullies in elem. school. along with the bridge to terabithia. we have mild bullying in elementary school and dd always befriended those bullies. 

 

however dd went to a very radical ps/dc who were beyond excellent with all their policies. 


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#9 of 12 Old 10-08-2012, 07:28 AM
 
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If the preschool has good policies surrounding incidents with aggression then I wouldn't worry so much. Like others have mentioned, there always will be an aggressive child somewhere. It just never fails. I just had to have emergency meetings last Thursday with the principal and DD1's teacher about another girl in DD1's class who seems to have targeted her, and she is almost 10. I am satisfied with how the school is handling the situation. It would be very worrisome, if they didn't recognize there was an issue. 

 

 

I also have an aggressive preschooler myself right now. Do I like being the mother with "that" child? No. But DS1 is who he is, and I can not just will him to change. We model and model and model and could discuss things with him until we are blue in the face and he doesn't understand. DS1 is 3.5 and ASD but appears "normal", I doubt most of the parents in the school know he is autistic. We do not keep it a secret but it isn't like he is wearing a sign stating it either. He has a therapist come in 3 times a week to work with him in school in addition to all the private therapy we provide. The preschool aid helps him when he gets frustrated but there are incidents that occur because well, there are incidents when ever he is around anyone. 

 

 

When my other children are dealing with a child that just needs more assistance learning social cues or norms, we talk a lot about it. Telling the other child how sad it makes them feel, expressing feelings, getting an adult to help. At this age, the children are not bad, they just need more help. Even the girl in DD1's class, as much as I want to dislike her, I also know that she is the youngest in the class and probably struggling just to fit in anf keep up with children that are much more mature then she is. 


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#10 of 12 Old 10-08-2012, 08:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for the replies. It is good to know that others are going through a similar situation. And it's also healthy for me to hear from the parents with the "aggressive" kids. 

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#11 of 12 Old 10-08-2012, 09:37 AM
 
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 He kept laughing until the teacher got a little firmer than usual and told him to look at Cole and tell her how Cole was feeling. It wasn't until a few days later when I saw my son's back for the first time and realized that he had bruises and scratches down his spine from that incident.

 

I'm sorry, but I don't think the teacher handled this situation appropriately. Asking children how another child felt isn't always useful. Clearly Gary doesn't care how your son feels. Pushing him off a rock wasn't carelessness, which is when I think tactics like that one work. The teacher needs to remove him. He doesn't get to finish playing at recess. I know that many here don't believe in punishment, but pushing someone down and injuring him deserves it, not a "how do you think that made him feel" said in a stern voice. Gary and Mitt right now see absolutely no reason to do what they're told to do. Why should they? Nothing happens to them if they don't.


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#12 of 12 Old 10-11-2012, 10:39 AM
 
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Don't leave us hanging. You say he 'was' the aggressor. How did it change? Do you have any words of wisdom having seen this issue from the other side?

Well it is long and dramatic...My son is almost 23 and I have almost no contact with him..haven't spoken with him in almost a month..He is still very aggressive and angry..We moved far away because of his issues and threatening L's safety...When he was a child it was up and down..What helped him the most Was putting him on the Feingold Program plus gluten and dairy free..Because frankley all the meds they had him on caused more harm than good..The ups and downs of those precription drugs were horrible and this angry outburst were frighting at times...He tells me he feels better,calmer and more in control of his anger when he follows the program and gluten/dairy free but he can't help himself..he is currently homeless and gets into a lot of trouble...His mental illness has taken over and controls him and he won't accept help from anyone or anybody..I fear for his life..he is his own worst enemy...

 

Having seen this from both sides I know now that my child caused a lot of harm in the classroom and should have had an aide to follow him when he was there to help..One teacher with 30 kids on her own can't do anything about a child with those issues..I also think that all food rewards,candy ect should be taken from the room because I have seen(not only in my own) this cause children to because unruly..Kids can have a ball and have fun without getting candy everyday from their teacher...Plus kids need to go outside more..Them taking these kind of kids recess and gym away is only causing more harm..This energy needs an outlet and if they don't get outside to burn it off they will still have it in the classroom when the teacher is trying to teach..

 

You know what??? In a licenced daycare for 3-5 year olds the ratio is 1 Adult to 12 children..2 Adults to 24..So why do we have 30 5 year olds in Kindergarden to 1 teacher...This shouldn't be allowed...Even an afterschool program...1 Adult to 15 children ages 5-12...yet again in school you have 1 teacher trying to teach 30 kids on her own...Something is wrong here....

 

Makes me sad and sypathethic to the aggressive children and their parents because I was there..I tried everything..Nearly had several nervous breakdowns in fact..Can't tell you how many jobs I lost because I had to leave to go to school or the constant phone calls...After awhile I just wanted to stay home and never go anywhere because no matter what it was my kids fault and we weren't exactly welcomed anymore..Even at my own parents...

 

But that doesn't mean I want my Little Lily to be a target to an aggressive child like her father was..I have taught Lily that there are Special people out there that can't control themselves..And when another child or adult acts angry with her and she feels frightened and at risk she is too immedietly walk away and find me or who ever is in charge an tell them she feels scared and threatened..I have also taught her to put her hands up and say firmly NO!! You are NOT allowed to put your hands on me and immedietly walk away..I have taught her that while we must have compassion for these people we also can't let them hurt us in any way..I did this because of my son...I never left him alone with her but you also never knew when He would blow up and I wanted her to know that she didn't deserve to be treated like that and NO she didn't have to take it..And that I and her teacher would always protect her.And I always will...I gave up my son to protect her...I hope that your child knows that he needs to walk away also...And firmly say NO you are not allowed to hurt/hit me...And ask for help...The numbers of aggressive children/Adults are rising and it can be scary...

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