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Carol Kryder LMFT
Carol Kryder LMFT, Mental Health Professional
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 808
Experience:  APA Board Certified, Diplomate,Substance Abuse Professional, 20 years family therapy experience
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Help! My son started in daycare in November, 2010 and since

Customer Question

Help! My son started in daycare in November, 2010 and since he is there, he is doing two things which are not so great. 1) He is hitting. When he does this, i tell him "No-No hitting" and then if he does it a 2nd time, I let him sit on the coach and I walk away. He is doing this a lot though and what I am doing does not seem to be effective.

2) He is screaming for no apparent reason. He is normally such a happy boy but since he is in daycare, there is a girl there that does this, and he has picked up this habit. I try to see if there is something I can do to help, but he cannot talk yet (16 months) and do not know how to handle this. I wish I had "super nanny" to help give me advice.

Please help anyone and give me some steps on what to do. I do not want to yell at him, or try to break him as a person but I want him to know this is not good.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Carol Kryder LMFT replied 3 years ago.

Carol Kryder LMFT :

Hello and Welcome to JustAnswer. Your question is not closed until you are satisfied. I am happy to assist you with your question.

Carol Kryder LMFT :

At his age of 16 months it will be very difficult to reason with him. What would work best is what is called "re-direction" which simply means to distract him with some other activity. He will not understand the cause/effect of the time out of sitting on the couch. Since he appears to be picking up these habits from the daycare, I would have a talk with the care provider and ask what they are doing with the children when this behavior is shown and make sure you are doing the same thing at home so he has some consistency.

Carol Kryder LMFT :

If they are NOT doing anything about this and refuse to work with you to manage these behaviors it is time to find another daycare. Remember, he really can't understand cause and effect, so if you ignore the bad behavior and distract him or remove him from the situation and get him interested in something else you will have much more success in stopping this behavior.

Customer :

so just distract him and do you think eventually he will stop this behavior?

Customer :

when he is doing the hitting, he is looking me right in the eye like he knows exactly what he is doing

Customer :

by the way, what should daycare be doing when this behavior is exhibiited at this age? would you say distraction method?

Carol Kryder LMFT :

Yes, you can tell him "no" and then show him a toy or something that will distract him. I am sure he knows what he is doing, but for some reason this has been allowed to happen at day care. He wasn't hitting before that, so he has learned this behavior from other children. What he will not understand is the punishment. Children that age do not have the cognitive maturity to connect the punishment with the "crime" so to speak.

Carol Kryder LMFT :

Again, yes, the daycare should be on top on this immediately and stop the child, remove them from the situation and distract them.

Customer :

ok, so thats what i wanted to know was if you recommend distraction by both myself and the daycare

Customer :

when should i be concerned?

Carol Kryder LMFT :

Absolutely. Both home and daycare should use the same strategies so he will have consistency. I would become concerned if this continues more than two weeks, with ALL parties who care for this child using the same intervention.

Customer :

ok, thanks. the screaming just started last week and it really threw me off this weekend. i just could not make him happy no matter what i did so I just let him scream. I didn't know how to handle it!

Customer :

are you saying use distraction for the screaming, as well as hitting?

Carol Kryder LMFT :

As for the screaming. You can tell him "no" and I would whisper this to him. You don't want to get into a shouting match with him. I would also whisper to him that we use our "inside voice" and ask him to whisper along with you. Distraction will probably not be as effective with the screaming. He is doing it because it sounds "cool" and he gets a reaction.

Customer :

and that is exactly what I was trying not to do, which was give him a reaction.

Carol Kryder LMFT :

If you think the screaming is getting out of control, you can give him a gentle "bear hug" that will restrain him while whispering in his ear that he needs to use his inside voice so Mommy can hear him.

Customer :

ok

Carol Kryder LMFT :

It was a good idea not to react, but you can correct him gently.

Customer :

ok, after i correct, shoudl i just ignore until it stops

Carol Kryder LMFT :

  • That is a judgment call. You don't want him to be rewarded for the screaming. How long does he scream?

Customer :

yesterday it happened about 15X starting in the morning with his milk, and could last for about 20 minutes at a time. then he would be smiling but you would have thought he was in terrible pain or something

Carol Kryder LMFT :

Yikes! This just started? I would whisper to him about using his "inside voice" try to calm him down, then ignore him. If these interventions don't work, it is time to talk to the pediatrician.

Customer :

ok, thanks very much

Customer :

i will try those strategies and see if it works

Customer :

i just want to make sure i'm giving him the right support

Carol Kryder LMFT :

You are doing just fine. This is unusual behavior for a child his age.

Carol Kryder LMFT, Mental Health Professional
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 808
Experience: APA Board Certified, Diplomate,Substance Abuse Professional, 20 years family therapy experience
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