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camd2000, Parent Coach/Therapist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 13
Experience:  Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Child and Family Therapist, Parent Educator and Mother.
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My 4yr old started aggressive behavior towards other children

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My 4yr old started aggressive behavior towards other children at daycare in the last 4ms. He has been at this daycare since he has been 17ms old. They told us they've tried everything but im having a hard time understanding what it is they are doing there. He never does this at home because we get strict with him. Now they have asked us to remove him from the center.......we are devastated and confused as to where this behavior is stemming from. Our house is busy but semi normal like everyone else, some yelling probably (we also have a 18 and a 13yr old) but never never any physical harm was ever witnessed by him..........HELP!!!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  camd2000 replied 1 year ago.

camd2000 :

I am so sorry this is happening. Some children become physically aggressive because of something going on at home (although it does not seem like that is what is going on here), sometimes it is because they are having a hard socially - either interacting with other children or communicating their needs. It sounds like you have done the right thing by talking to the school about how they are addressing it. The best way to address aggressive behaviors is to deal with them in the moment, which means the burden falls a bit more on the school since they are there when it is happening. My questions for the day care would be: is it with different children or the same child? (sometimes children have difficulty getting along with specific other children due to a clash in temperament). How often is this happening? What seems to be triggering it? How specifically have they handled it? How does he respond.

camd2000 :

What do you think would be the most helpful to you? I could give you information about how to talk to your child at home about the behavior in the hopes that it will help at school? I can give you some ideas of how to talk to the school about it (and specific ideas for how they might handle it)? Please let me know what would be most helpful and I will respond specifically to these questions. Again, this sounds like a tough situation and I hope that I can give you some information to improve the situation.


Thank you so much for your answer! It has not been with the same child but could be as many as 3 in a day (ex: kicked someone during soccer because he wanted the ball, elbowed someone in the head in line to wash hands because he wanted to be 1st....Last week he bit someone because he said he was a doggie).


The school is pretty much washing their hands of the situation, i think they are tired but all theyve really done is


'shadow' him for 1 day after and then drop it because they dont have the man power to keep paying attention to him on that individual basis. They do not have any kind of time outs so basically aside from a quick reprimand he goes along with his normal day and then i have to deal with it in the evening but by then he has no recollection of what went on and his answer is always I dont know. SO YES!! i would like very much to find out some ideas of how to handle it with him and also what to tell the new school we are placing him with.

camd2000 :

Thank you for answering my questions. It helps me to answer your questions better. So here are some things you can do at home: model and encourage everyone in the house to speak respectfully XXXXX XXXXX other (as much as possible) and communicate clearly needs and wants. This way he will learn about ways to interact and communicate positively. You can also encourage this between your son and his peers by enrolling him in a class, camp or by having play dates (I would recommend play dates because it is easier for children to learn and practice social skills when it is a one-on-one situation rather than a classroom situation). It will be really helpful if you can have play dates with kids from his new school. This will also help his adjustment to his new school. You can also practice or role play at home with dolls, toys or just acting - where you play out scenarios like the ones you mentioned and help him come up with alternative ways to respond (such as, "I would really like the ball" and if the other kid does not respond, go ask an adult for help). I would also start teaching him about feelings (if you haven't already) and learning ways to manage his feelings. There are some books that might be helpful: Feet are not for kicking, Hands are not for hitting and How are you Peeling. Let me know if you have trouble finding these books.

camd2000 :

As for some ideas for the school. I would talk to them ahead of time about his aggression, ask them how they typically handle it, tell them what you are doing at home and ask for help at school. It would be helpful if the school could try and monitor it so they have a better sense of what triggers it (this can help figure out the best was to address it). And, help connect him with other students that he plays well with (or who has a complimentary temperaments). Use redirection if he is having a hard time (especially to a calming activity). Also, using positive attention to reinforce times he does communicate well, uses his words and is kind and gentle to other children. If he is physically aggressive - one way to address it is to first pay attention to the child that was hurt and then address your son, gently reminding him there is no hitting and either give him a time-out, break, consequence and/or the opportunity to repair things with the other child. This is not just about saying sorry, but helping the child rebuild the tower he knocked over, or asking the child if he is ok or getting ice or a band-aid. This teaches empathy and accountability for helping fix whatever problem he may have caused. It is not a quick fix, but with the right support, you child will learn to communicate more verbally and he will do better in a nurturing, supportive environment. So, although I feel really badly that he has to go through this transition to a new school (as do you), it might be better in the end. I really wish you the best of luck and hope that things get better.

camd2000, Parent Coach/Therapist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 13
Experience: Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Child and Family Therapist, Parent Educator and Mother.
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