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Hitting & Biting


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We have a child in our reception Class who is causing us some concern. He is a bright little chap, academically able and eager to please. but he does sometimes become aggressive. In the nursery he would hit other children and this was usually dealt with by time out and also by ensuring that when he was kind and playing well with his friends he was praised. Unfortunately since moving to Reception he has been finding it very difficult to keep his temper under control. He has started biting (Twice so far). He is generally a lovely little boy and is now becoming quite stressed, he usually hits out when someone is stopping him doing something or when they are not doing what he thinks is right. He appears to be trying so hard to be "good" that the pressure is making him very stressed and dreadfully unhappy. He craves the attention of the teacher all the time and is getting upset if he is not always the first to be dealt with or able to stand next to the teacher. Does anyone have any tips as to how we can stop him hitting and build up his self esteem.

JanR

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I would ask mum in for a chat see if anything is bothering him as obviously he can't go around biting no matter how upset he is.

Thanks Marion. We do have Mum on board. She is devastated by his behaviour and has tried banning television. She has talked with him about his behaviour and really is happy to try anything we suggest.

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You need to be asking yourselves why he is hitting and biting. You may not get answers for a while but some ideas of finding out are through paintings and drawings. I can tell you more about art therapy if you like.

Along side this you tackle the behaviour. He wants attention - so you give it to him, but you need to make sure you only give him attention when he is being good. You must ignore the bad behaviour. When he has hit or bitten someone, take him to one side. Tell him this is not acceptable behaviour and he must sit with a sand timer for 5 minutes. Then he must apologise to the child he has hurt. He must understand that the other child is upset, so tell him that the child was hurt and crying because of his behaviour. He wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of his own behaviour? discuss this quickly and quietly and the incident is then forgotten. Try to make sure he has a red card in his pocket so that if he knows when he is about to hurt someone he can show the card to you rather than hurt someone.

When he is being good, give him loads and loads of praise and encouragement. If he goes through a whole session without hurting others- get the class to clap him. If he gets through a day, agree a suitable reward with him and his parents.

Catch him being good, and reward him with stickers, give him his own book mark so you can put the stickers on it and he can see how many he is collecting.

I hope this helps

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When he has hit or bitten someone, take him to one side. Tell him this is not acceptable behaviour and he must sit with a sand timer for 5 minutes. Then he must apologise to the child he has hurt.

Suzybell - we're having a huge debate on 'saying sorry' at the moment. We're torn between the importance of saying sorry to acknowledge that you're in the wrong and to make amends, but we're aware that children are very good at trotting out a meaningless 'sorry' because its expected.

 

When you say he must apologise, do you insist on this and how far do you go to make sure this happens? We have a little brigade of children who refuse to say sorry and we have found a way round this quite successfully - a hand shake or a hug to show that the issue has been dealt with and the children are friends again.

 

Maz

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Very interesting to hear how you get children to apologise....like already said children easily say 'sorry' when it doesn't mean anything its just another word. We take the child away from the situation .....explain to them what that have done isn't kind and ask if them think about what they have done. Should we still be getting them to apologize? I like to idea of a handshake or cuddle.

 

Sorry this seems to strayed from the original post.

 

The little boy that caused us a few problems over the last couple of terms with biting has been 'diagnosed' with autism and the help of visual timetable and othe visual pictures and a lot of outside help!! has so far been like a magic wand. I know it's early days but the last 2 weeks he's been a dream and even starting to play with others!

I hope you find the cause to this as it is very stressful for all concerned.

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I have been asking the 'reluctant apologisers' to shake hands they find this really funny and it usually diffuses the tense situation as both parties usually start laughing together. (just a warning though the vigorous handshake can turn into another fight!) :oxD:(

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I think a hand shake is fine. It isn't just saying sorry, it is more than that. Acknowledging that 'I have hurt someone' and I wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of my own behaviour. Difficult concept for tiny children. But I do use the hand shake as a way of solving incidents.

I hope this helps- I think insisting on anything is a mistake because you are then in a confrontation situation, I avoid those if at all possible.

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Have a look on Amazon, we found 2 books very useful. One of which is 'Teeth are not for biting'.

 

I feel uncomforable asking children to say sorry, one educational physcologist (sp) once said on a behaviour management course that it is teaching the children to lie because at the time they are probably not sorry!

 

I try to get the child to empathise with the victim 'Oh dear, Tom's crying, that hurt him, shall we see if we can rub it better' which I role model.

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This child is at an age were he is copying other peoples actions. does he have older siblings and how is his sharing. getting down to his level mayb re act his actions using dinosaures show him what his behavour is like. while demonstating his behaviour using the dinosaures ask him questions. dinosaurs bites other dinosaure (why does the dinosaure bite? is he angry? what is he angry about?) by doing this you are not making it iobvious that your talking about his actions but you are sending a message to him. also the answers that you get will more than likely be his answers.

 

the aggressive behaviour sounds like it is coming from another person.

he finds it hard to express anger verbally teach him how

i dont like that. it sounds weird but teach him to argue verbally rather then physically.

stopping tv is not going to work.

is mum n dad still to gether?

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Deb, I agree, children should never be forced to say sorry, if they don't mean it, it is meaningless. But I do think children can understand that they have hurt someone and that they would not want to be on the receiving end of their own treatment. I think it is a bit strong to say we are teaching children to lie if they say sorry. I think that is only true if children are forced into an apology. I would never encourage anyone to force a child to do anything. You are asking for trouble if you do.

I still advocate that children will stop the unwanted behaviour if they get no attention for it, forcing a child to apologise will invoke a confrontation and thus you are giving attention to the child who has been hurting others. I think a quick 'that was unacceptable behaviour because you hit/ bit Fred, I want you to think about how Fred now feels while the sand is going through the sandtimer'. Then ignore him, at the end of the 'time out'. I would say 'do you understand why you had to sit out with the sand timer and why Fred is so sad? It doesn't matter if the child is silent and does not answer. The point has been made...then, all forgotten, back to normal. Notice the good behaviour.

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Perhaps I should rephrase my previous comment ' I feel uncomfortable when I ask children to say sorry' - I hope my comments have not been misunderstood as being critical of anybody. I do find myself asking children to say sorry but try not to. As you say Suzybell children should never be forced to apologise but unfortunately I do see adults getting stuck on this point with children who will not apologise. I agree also that children should be helped to see the hurt caused by their actions. I think it can also be helpful to give children time to cool down, I was amazed at how long it can take for children to calm back down from a heightened state of arousal to a state that they can hear what we have to say, it can take up to something like 45 minutes if they are really upset. I try to find a quiet moment to talk to children about what happened and discuss how they can handle the situation another time.

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