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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 4.75 yo DS has been having some behavior problems at preschool, so I made arrangements to observe his class this week.

In the two days that have passed so far he has been baited about half a dozen times. A couple of the incidents seemed fairly agressive by my standards, but they also were quite subtle. If I had not been standing nearby with the sole intent of finding out why he is having difficulties, I would have missed them.

Example: DS is digging a hole in the sand on the playground, when a girl (same age) comes up and says something to him that I did not hear. DS is too busy with what he is doing to notice her. She then starts to jump over the hole several times and DS is obviously not happy but doesn't say anything. She paused for a moment and when DS resumed digging, she stepped back slightly and kicked a bunch of sand into the hole. DS reacted by tossing a scoop of sand at her feet and she started howling bloody freaking murder.

If I had not SEEN what had happened, I would have had to judge the situation based upon what this girl's story was-- " I was just standing here!!" because when angry/ upset, DS does not articulate very well. Even when I intervened to help DS resolve the conflict, he was really struggling to find the words to express himself and wouldn't make eye contact with her-- he just looked at the ground.

I suspect that many of the problem incidents have had similar senarios.

I guess my question is should a child of this age be expected to be able to deal with being baited repeatedly?
 

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Kids that age do seem to bait others. And yes, its really really hard because lots of children can't seem to calmly explain to teachers that they were baited.

We have spent a LOT of time with dd (not yet 4.5) getting her to express herself to her peers. When a four year old says to another "I don't like that/ Don't do that to me/ You're making me angry / I need some space" it seems to pack a pretty good punch in terms of getting the baiting to stop.
At least that's been our experience. DD has also been laughed at by one of her best friends because she didn't know how to play basketball. It made her angry and sad and embarrassed. I told her that her friends behaviour was wrong and rude. DD told her friend that it was making her mad and to stop and the other girl kept doing it so I've encouraged dd to involve the teacher which she now is.
Boys and girls are different. My daughter is pretty in touch with what she's feeling for a four year old. She's also really sensitive and helping her to express what she's feeling to her peers and teachers has really helped her to moderate her own reactions.

I'm sorry that girl was mean to your son.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by fizzymom
guess my question is should a child of this age be expected to be able to deal with being baited repeatedly?
No. Thank goodness you were able to spend time observing. I don't know what can be done, however, other than roleplaying with ds to give him practice verbalizing. Hopefully, your being able to tell his teacher what you've observed will make her/him more open minded. I observed similar things at my ds's pre-k before I withdrew him. The teacher assumed she knew what happened based on how the kids were reacting, not on actual observation. Sometimes she was right, but frequently she was wrong. One time a less verbal boy, was trying to tell the teacher that another boy wouldn't play with him, but she thought he meant the other boy wouldn't share with him. It's so difficult at this age because the verbal skills are still developing and some kids are getting more experienced with manipulation.
 

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Our preschool teachs the kids to say "STOP!" with the hand out and up body postur when their peers are doing something they don't like. Its a simple word that all the 2 YO class can say and understand. It is also clear and loud enough that it alerts a teacher to come over and work with the situation. You might suggest that to the teacher as well as your child. It seems to have significantly cut down on biting and other normal but upsetting toddler behaviour in her class.
 

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I do a lot of observation in preschools (not my own children), and I see this behavior (baiting) a lot. I would tell the teacher what you observed and ask her what she recommends your son do when he is baited. My guess is that the baiting will not be a surprise to her as I agree with a pp that it is a common behavior, and one that children need to learn to deal with along with a lot of other stuff.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Evan&Anna's_Mom
Our preschool teachs the kids to say "STOP!" with the hand out and up body postur when their peers are doing something they don't like. Its a simple word that all the 2 YO class can say and understand. It is also clear and loud enough that it alerts a teacher to come over and work with the situation.
Ohhh - I REALLY like this idea!!
 

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That has happened to my kids at playgroup and it burns me up. It's always the kids who do the baiting that yell bloody murder, crying, putting on such a show when the kid finally does retaliate in even the slightest way too.

Fortunatly, at ds's preschool the teachers are very wise to that sort of thing. They'd never take a situation like that at face value, believing that your son would just throw sand at her for standing there if they were not watching first hand.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the replies.

It was a very eye-opening week. On wednesday, a girl on the playground (thankfully not in his class) went up to him and screamed "You stupid boy!" at him while he was digging yet another hole. Thank *deity of choice* that he is having difficulty hearing right now, because I don't think he heard her. Un-freaking-believable!!

The amount of taunting that was going on was ridiculous. On the other hand, the more aggressive behavior against him did lessen toward the end of the week-- probably because I was there intervening and giving "The Eye".
:

I took pages and pages of notes which I plan to summarize this weekend and then I'm going to have a chat with his teacher and probably the director of the school. I was quite relieved to see that his behavior problems were not actually aggressive, but reactive which is not entirely unexpected from a child with SID and a social delay. I think if the aggressive behavior towards him is eliminated or at least significantly reduced that he will start to really thrive as he will be able to spend more energy on developing socially appropriate behavior.
 

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I'm not so sure the little girl was 'baiting'. Perhaps she, being the same age, was trying to get invited to help dig the hole. She may have no more skills or language than the child digging the hole. I don't think we should expect more from other children than we do of our own. Had the parent of the girl been watching , the parent could easily believe your son was snubbing their daughter. Neither parent would be 'right', imo.

Little children need some guidance. The problem with your child's school seems to be there aren't enough teachers watching to give that guidance.

I don't think a preschool class should have any more than 9 children in it. That's quite uncommon, sadly. There should also be an aide that teachers can share.

Also, some teachers see outdoor play as 'recess' and the children only need to be kept from getting physically hurt. Outdoor play is part of the program, and teachers should be watching carefully, giving children enough space and respect to play without being in their faces, but they should be available to say things like "I think Dakota is trying to ask if she can dig with you", and/or 'I think Cedar wants to work alone right now. Let's see if there is someone else who would like a digging partner".

Sadly, if you check most preschool play yards, what you see are teachers chatting with each other. Teachers def do not get enough breaks, and many get none so use this time to chill. It's part of a bigger problem in staffing, attitude and respect for kids and teachers alike. Lunch and outside time are part of the program for children, and teachers should never use them as personal down time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by UUMom
I'm not so sure the little girl was 'baiting'. Perhaps she, being the same age, was trying to get invited to help dig the hole. She may have no more skills or language than the child digging the hole.
Interesting perspective... I can see that some children, especially those with limited language/ social skills might try to engage in this manner. However, this particular child is quite adept both in language and social skills. Also, her body posture and facial expression (including her jaw jutting out) indicated that she was trying to provoke rather than join. This is the third year that she and DS have been in the same class together and I have seen her on numerous occasions engage other children appropriately. This was, by no means, the only incident, it just happened to stick out in my mind because it happened less than 10 minutes after we arrived.

Quote:

Originally Posted by UUMom
I don't think we should expect more from other children than we do of our own.
I don't expect more from other children than my own. I expect my children to treat others gently and with respect. I expect others to do the same to mine, with the understanding that everyone has bad days and no child is expected to behave perfectly.

My concern was (and still is) with the amount and level of baiting behavior--actions/words that are done/said to provoke a response or to get another child in trouble. It seemed that a disproportionate amount of it was aimed at DS. ....AAACK!!! I got sidetracked with a laundry crisis (big puddle) and now can't remember where I was going with my train of thought... I'll try to collect my thoughts and edit later.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by fizzymom
Interesting perspective... I can see that some children, especially those with limited language/ social skills might try to engage in this manner. However, this particular child is quite adept both in language and social skills. Also, her body posture and facial expression (including her jaw jutting out) indicated that she was trying to provoke rather than join. This is the third year that she and DS have been in the same class together and I have seen her on numerous occasions engage other children appropriately. This was, by no means, the only incident, it just happened to stick out in my mind because it happened less than 10 minutes after we arrived.

I don't expect more from other children than my own. I expect my children to treat others gently and with respect. I expect others to do the same to mine, with the understanding that everyone has bad days and no child is expected to behave perfectly.

My concern was (and still is) with the amount and level of baiting behavior--actions/words that are done/said to provoke a response or to get another child in trouble. It seemed that a disproportionate amount of it was aimed at DS. ....AAACK!!! I got sidetracked with a laundry crisis (big puddle) and now can't remember where I was going with my train of thought... I'll try to collect my thoughts and edit later.
Yk, I wasn't there. And I know people think other kids are mean when their own kids are not.

It's a hard call.

The child you are describing sounds like she might be gifted, as I have never known a 'regular' 4 yr old to be quite so focused as what you described.

I realy do hope you and your child get what you need from preschool.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by UUMom
And I know people think other kids are mean when their own kids are not.
Ouch. I don't think that I said, or even implied, that my kids were perfect.
 

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You misunderstood me. I am talking about all of us parents. One day our kids are the 'good ones' and the next day they get frustrated and might forget their goodness.


4 yr old kids are 4 yr old kids. They have their good days and their bad days and they need adult help to navigate the world. It's important to know that one day our children might be on the receiving end of uncomplimentary scrutiny and we would want others to think the best of the child and help him/her deal with new social relationships.

Kids need guidance, not other adults thinking they are little playground hoodlums.
I say with with love.

Have you had your meeting with the teachers yet? If so, how did it go?
 
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