handling agression in preschool aged children? - Mothering Forums
 
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#1 of 6 Old 02-06-2004, 02:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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how do you handle agression in a preschooler - towards other kids?

liam has suddenly taken to getting very physical with other kids. yesterday at the park, he pushed down his friend. today at the wild animal park play ground, he pulled a kid out of the playhouse becuase he didn't want him there (the kid hit him back, little bugger deserved it ). i took him aside (as did the other mother) and did the whole "that is not acceptable, we use words, we don't hit other people" talk and told him that if it happened again, we would leave, not onl the playground, put the whole wild animal park. about 5 minutes later, he did the same thing to another kid, so we packed up and went home (him screaming the whole way in the stroller, which he didn't want to be in, but it was the only way i could get him away).

when we talked about it later, i was trying to get him to talk about alternatives that he could have used if he wanted to play in the playhouse by himself. he said he would ask the other child to leave. i asked him what he would do if the child didn't want to leave, and he said he would "smack him on the head." AAAARRRRRGGGGHHHHH!!!!! i don't know where he's getting it, but its driving me crazy. any suggestions beyond what i'm already doing (talking about how we don't hurt people, discussing alternative solutions, etc). i DO know that next time there won't be a warning - if it happens, there will be immediate consequences.
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#2 of 6 Old 02-06-2004, 02:45 AM
 
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I think it may help if you step in right before the aggressive act occurs.
It may be difficult to keep a strict eye on him like that; I know that when I take my kids somewhere to play, I use that time to let my mind wander a little bit! But if you see a situation that is getting ready to cause him frustration, you could gently call his name to distract him as you walk over to him. Then say something like, "Oooh, it looks like you guys are frustrated. What's going on?" And resolve the issue FOR him.
With my dd, for example: Her little bro is trying to take a toy from her. She tells him to stop; he doesn't. I will walk over, stoop down to their level, and say, "Wow, this is frustrating, huh? Why don't we say, "Skye, I am playing with this right now. Try THIS toy instead." She'll then repeat what I said, and if he still insists on the behavior, I'll move him and distract him. Then I compliment her on how well she handled the situation. That way, a negative gets turned into a positive!
That way, you'll model the proper behavior and redirect him before the hitting/shoving takes place. It might take a while, but it WILL gradually engrain itself in his mind!
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#3 of 6 Old 02-06-2004, 02:57 AM
 
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Good advice from Candiland.

Also... I think it might be a little bit unnatural to expect 2 and 3 year olds to socialize successfully with other 2 and 3 year olds. Sometimes, I think is a bad set-up. Peer interaction is not the most important thing at this age, and often young preschoolers fare better with a mix of ages -- generally older children.
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#4 of 6 Old 02-06-2004, 03:29 PM
 
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I was just going to post on this today....
Two months or so ago, my dd (then still 2) went thru a period of fighting physically with this 5 yo boy *every time* they got together. She started many of these fights, and both were very happy to duke it out (seemed to enjoy it : ). This kid is SO much bigger than her! But she was not intimidated.
The other mom was super, and we kept working on it--each from the view point of our own child's age/size/etc...and now they play well together......

BUT.....now 3 yo, she has begun to pick fights with a 4 yo boy! (who is as big as the other 5 yo!). She will play gently with EVERYONE else at the playgroup, but gives him NO slack. Anything he does (and, to be honest, he does provoke her a bit--takes her toys, etc), is answered with a full-body-check. And then the rumble begins. She NEVER asks for--or wants--help. Gets really angry when I make them stop fighting--even when she is clearly outsized! I swear, this child has ALL of her father's genes and none of mine--I've never had guts like that--and kinda envy her, really :LOL

What gets me the most is that I really feel that she is seeking out these physical battles. Seeking out the competition--she even yells "I got him that time!" when she gets an upper edge. THis is not a child exposed to commercial tv or violent computer games--although she does love acting out the "battles" in the Lion King. We also discuss these behaviors (fighting) in calm moments, and role play better ways to handle physical confrontation, etc....but the yesterday during one such conversation she said, "But Mom, I'm a Fighting-Girl!"
What the heck am I supposed to do with a "fighting-girl"?
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#5 of 6 Old 02-08-2004, 05:18 AM
 
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What the heck am I supposed to do with a "fighting-girl"?
Give her something to fight- a punching bag, a pinata, one of those clown punchy things...

It sounds to me like she is just testing the limits of her strength. Maybe something to channel that need to test her self physically is in order...a martial art, or gymnastics were the first things that came to mind, because they are very physical activites.

He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.  ~Albert Einstein
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#6 of 6 Old 02-08-2004, 12:07 PM
 
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Originally posted by Breathless Wonder
Maybe something to channel that need to test her self physically is in order...a martial art, or gymnastics were the first things that came to mind, because they are very physical activites.
I've been thinking this, too. It's weird, because she is not a "high energy" kid. Spends lots of the day in quiet, imaginative play. But she seems to have some physical/competitive needs--and clearly needs a more appropriate outlet. Thanks!
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