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I have a young boy who is 3 and a half. He's had behavioural problems in the past i.e constant wetting, outbursts but he is a very affectionate boy and at the time there were a few changes in family arrangements so it died down again. At the advice of the area senco he was placed with the two year olds again as we noticed he had difficulty dealing with large groups. This was all working well until 2 - 3 weeks ago. He has become violent - often without cause - with quite extreme temper outbursts. Today he threw a table, chairs, books anything within reach. Previously stamps and stickers have worked for encouraging positive behaviour. However other staff aren't very consistent and I found out earlier that he didn't even have his stamps for two weeks!

I don't know whether to put the sudden change in his behaviour down to this and the inconsistent approach by staff - or look deeper into it. I will of course continue to observe and monitor his behaviour whilst advsing staff - but I am not a miracle worker and able to work on three levels at the same time.

Has anybody else experienced such anger in one so young and how have you dealt with it?

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Oh how sad, Karen.

 

Firstly, I would say that in the past when we've been working on individual children's behaviour it has tended to slide back when staff haven't been as consistent as they might have been. And as you say, we're not miracle workers.

 

Secondly, can I ask if this change in behaviour has gone back to how things were before for this little boy or has the force of his outbursts increased? I'm wondering if maybe he is feeling the sudden (or gradual) withdrawal of positive attention from staff and so feels he needs to use more and more extreme behaviour to get things back on track?

 

However the behaviour you describe seems extreme to me for one so young - and if it were me I'd be looking more deeply into what is happening, and get support for him and your staff. I wonder what is going on at home (you mentioned that previously there had been lots of changes at home when his behaviour was causing concern before).

 

I have seen anger like this in a child this young before - I remember watching one little boy continually kicking the shins of a member of staff who was trying her best to placate him. It was a long time ago and I wasn't really involved in his care, but I seem to remember that setting high but realistic expectations for his behaviour, making these clear to him and being consistent in the application of rewards and sanctions were important. He was subsequently diagnosed as having ADHD when he was older and struggling to conform to the behaviour expectations of primary school.

 

Good luck in getting to the bottom of things - I hope you get the support and expert advice you all need to help him through.

 

Maz

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His behaviour is worse than before, I have spoken to the father but he said there have be no further changes. Currently I have one staff memebr that seems to make him worse, one that thinks separating him from everyone and everything is the answer, and one that doesn't seem to know what she's doing - variating from talking to him and rewarding his positive behaviour to forgetting about it and then wondering why he's throwing books at her.

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Poor you and poor little chap!

 

excellent advice from Maz :o

 

your team really need to be consitant with his behaviour and keep giving this chap his stamps - he probably cant understand why they have suddenly stopped.

 

Good luck and i hope you can get to the bottom of it soon xD

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I think you have identified part of the problem with the 3 different approaches from the three different members of staff, but living in the real world we are all individuals, adults too. I am personally not in favour of sticker/star charts, basically for the reasons shown here, once they stop, the behaviour may stop. The best reward is a sincere well done I'm really pleased to see you playing nicely with so and so, thankyou ...for tisying up your puzzle that's really helpful etc, positive re-inforcement from adult interaction is readily available, no trotting off to find the sticker, the chart etc.

No child wants to or likes to feel angry / upset / etc, but even at this age they are still learning how to control their emotions ( in fact I still know some adults who haven't achieved this skill yet!)

 

You say the behaviour appears to be for no apparent reason, what was happening prior to the throwing tantrum? Wha interactions with others, if any? Had he just been asked/told to do something, ie: tidy away, share, change time of the routine? On arrival, afternoon, just before pick-up, what time of day was it. What was his mood prior to the tantrum? Di he sleep well the night before? Was it a Monday, last day of the week? All the above plus a million more 'reasons' would have triggered this behaviour, there is, I would say 99% chance of there being a trigger or emotional insecurity/feeling that bought this display of feelings. Then it is hard for a child to calm down. The trigger may of happened earlier in his day, my son will hold back cross feelings for hours then lash out, with apparently no reason.

 

So A,B,C obs Antecedent, behaviour and consequence

 

Antecedent - prior knowledge - mood, any significant events/changes which could be as minute as not having time for breakfast. Or something observable minutes before the tantrum.

Behaviour record 'actual' behaviour not 'moods' ie: he stood up, picked up chair, through it to his left, bent down to grab the tractor and threw over his head, watching where it landed, was shouting ? was crying?,

Consequence - adults immediatte reaction / intervention, how long it took to calm down, what was said, sanctions, (encouraged to 'put right' his behaviour, ie' pick up what was thrown', to comfort anyone he hurt and ask if they are ok etc.

Then once calm, how staff identified his emotions to him, tried to empathise with how horrible it feels personally, when you lose your temper, helped him to communicate how he felt in a better way, a chat giving the words to use, agreeing to try other things when feeling angry ie: get a paper bag and blow in it, give self time out etc. In other words strategies to help him to learn to take responsibility for his actions. ( this all takes time of course)

 

The ABC obs over a period of a week, lso noting ABC of good behaviour may show a patter, such as times of day, personality clashes with other children / staff, links to late night at home etc etc.

 

Hope this helps and sorry if I'm saying what you have already tried. Human nature I don't know why and it happens to everyone is that if we even half expect difficult behaviour we send out an aura which innevitably makes our expectations come true. You may laugh but get all your staff, every morning to think, or even say out loud positive happy thoughts about this boy, and maybe it may help ( but then again it may not, but worth a try)

 

Good luck and Let us know how you get on.

 

Check if health is ok, no underlying problems there.

 

Peggy

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Hi Karen

 

We have had a child with similar behaviour to your little one. We found out later he had adhd. We used positive reinforcement which worked very well but as soon as you turned your back he would do some thing else. We started to get though to him by saying "it makes me really sad when you do .............., because I like it when you and I are happy"

This didn't work all the time but with the positive reinforcement it worked most of the time. Saying that every one HAS to work together. Everyone else has given you excellent advice hopefully some thing will work. Good luck

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Something else I remembered about our little boy: the group I was working in at the time provided individual support to keep him engaged and focussed during group activities so that he didn't get chance to get bored/distracted, and his supporter was able to recognise the signs and intervene before things got out of hand (ABC observations were vital in recognising what his triggers were).

 

Maz

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I can't really add much to the excellent comments above other than to reinforce that consistency in approach is essential, high expectations for behaviour, and lots and lots of praise.

wow, I know l keep on saying it but you guys are truely amazing. All great advise & there's little I can say except keep talking, trying out new ideas & building relationships with the parents. Keep up the good work. xx :o

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Hi

 

Just want to add to the excellent advice. I wonder if he is known to health/social services? Are there any other signs which cause you concern? How is his eating, sleeping overall development? What is his relationship with his parents like? If you continue to be concerned I think you have to go down the route of making sure that he has a referral for a full assessment of his needs from a holistic perspective to get to the bottom of what is causing his anger and frustration. It is significant that this is not the first episode for him as you describe.

 

Good luck

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Hi

 

I agree with Maz and Peggy

 

Plus what is his speech and language like? would be interested to know what the routine of the setting is too. Is this boy expected to sit down and undertake set activities and tasks for too many long periods during the day? Is there free flow outdoor play where he can run, jump and release some of that heavy testosterone that a boy of around 3-4 has? When asked to undertake a task, does the member of staff stay and watch him with interest and then praise him verbally and non verbally?

 

I have worked with many children who are labelled at first by practitioners as having ADD/ADHD, but often it is the lack of consistency between setting and parents. Also these children often do not have adequate access to outdoor areas to relase pent up frustration and energy. They also are often not able to communicate effectively therefore become frustrated at not being heard or understood.

 

Very interesting, but sad for the little boy, hopefully you can get some sort of consistency going again for him.

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Speech and language is within developmentally appropriate levels. I am working closely with the staff to develop a single approach - although they don't seem to understand the importance sometimes. He loves taking part in creative activities and just wants to help all the time. He thrives on hugs and genuinely doesn't seem to know why he does the things he does. Yesterday he was in for 20 mins, flipped out and threw the sandpit over! I have suggested to the father about seeing his GP as they maybe able to shed some light on to this. I've requested the Pre school SEN to come in again and observe in September - with a view to making a referral in the future. At the moment I'm keeping an open mind and using techniques I know of and passing these on to other staff.

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  • 2 weeks later...

At the moment it is one step forward and two steps back! I devised a reward chart for him in manageable tasks with his keyworker and other member of staff. This seemed to be working where he was really trying to get his stamps so he could choose a treat - normally bubbles. Encouraged everyone to be aware of his chart and spoke again of consistency etc. BUT I was off last week and not been available much this week - and it hasn't been done again! I'm so angry I feel like bashing heads against walls. I just feel they are paying lip service and then as soon as I'm not watching they don't bother.

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At the moment it is one step forward and two steps back! I devised a reward chart for him in manageable tasks with his keyworker and other member of staff. This seemed to be working where he was really trying to get his stamps so he could choose a treat - normally bubbles. Encouraged everyone to be aware of his chart and spoke again of consistency etc. BUT I was off last week and not been available much this week - and it hasn't been done again! I'm so angry I feel like bashing heads against walls. I just feel they are paying lip service and then as soon as I'm not watching they don't bother.

 

 

Maybe it's your staff who need the reward chart, wonder how many stickers they will earn (or not). :oxD

 

Peggy

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oh and if they earn enough stickers the reward being spending some individual 'quality' time with this young lad, at an activity of his choosing. :oxD

 

Peggy

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Sorry if this sounds a little harsh but I think you either need to start some sort of action against the staff or you need new staff. They are not doing the job they are paid for and this little boy is suffering because of it.

You should not have to baby sit them. Can you get another senior member of staff to help or does the buck stop with you?

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I am currently trainee manager as well as SENCO, so although I do have some authority I can go higher. But the manager also has the same problem - one staff member is leaving soon and we are getting an existing member of staff back that will head up that group. So I'm hoping this will make a difference.

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