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Child hitting staff member


Thumper
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Hello

 

We have a child who's attended the setting for 1 1/2 yrs. a couple of weeks ago she hit a practitioner in the face after being asked 3 times to put her drawing in her drawer for later. The hit was purposeful in temper along with a very loud NO.

Anyhow the practitioner had asked and used different techniques to try to get the child to put her drawing away. The child was asked not to hit and offered comfort after she had calmed.

 

An incident form was filled in for parents to see in the hope they could reinforce the expected behaviour at home.

 

However 2 weeks after the event mum has emailed saying she's very unhappy that we filled in an incident form and would rather we 'swept it under the carpet'. She thinks we should of cuddled her child through the hitting and said it's ok.

 

So after attempting to explain policies and procedures mum has said her child won't be returning and requested I notify funding. Funding don't normally allow changes unless due to house move or work needs.

 

We've never had any other issues and had a good relationship with child and mum

 

What's your thoughts in this matter?

Edited by Thumper
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would it help if we knew a bit about the background to the child, was this a one off incident, or has she been a tricky character all along?

 

We have one or two potential young girls who could quite easily do what your little one has done they have a short fuse and have learnt at home that not complying carries little if any penalty. On a bad day they could perhaps hit a member of staff but never have done.

 

If your procedures and behaviour policy says you will raise an incident form then you have done the right thing. I'm of the opinion that mum has been speaking to her own friends or family and this has been raised out of all proportion, if you think you have been firm but fair, stick by your policy. If relationship with family has irretrievably broken down that's a shame but make sure you keep good records about this incident just in case she complains to Ofsted. Reflect as a group upon your practice and if adjustments are required get on a do them.

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It is difficult to make a judgement when we don't know the child / situation etc but I presume the child is 3 / 4 years.

Maybe she didn't want to put her picture in her drawer and due to her age/ stage was quite getting through to the adult. At the end of the day was it that important?

Some of our children are with us for 6 hours a day and they can't behave themselves all the time. We have high expectations but know that sometimes you have to choose your battles.

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You definitely needed to record the incident.and you do need to keep all the records and maybe record any conversations etc.. .. it is a shame the parent has taken action in this way, but I am sure she would have felt very differently if her child had been hit by another.. and it was not her child lashing out to a staff member.. I feel it would not be appropriate to even try to cuddle a child and say it was alright if they were being violent towards anyone, if not dangerous to try to do this to a child in a temper.

You could try to explain again .. but not sure you would get them to listen.. there could be many reasons for their decision, embarrassment, not wanting a repeat, worried it will show up on records passed to school that she was violent and that she will be labelled..

if you decide to tell the funding she has left do you have to give a reason.. other than a parental decision.. it would then be up to them to decide what to do about the funding..

also maybe look at the incident and see if it was a battle worth fighting, or if it would have been resolved in a different way.. was there a reason she didn't want to put it in the drawer, somewhere else it could have been put instead.. was it imperative it was put there other than your usual routine.. sometimes it is better to be flexible and choose if it is worth it..

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Maybe in future you could give ALL the children a 'five minute warning'..............we use this quite successfully, ie, 'lunch is in five minutes time, so you need to finish up what you're doing, or put it away until after lunch'.......................it gives the children just that bit of time ( and in fact it's about 10 minutes before the change, so we can allow our five minutes to linger a little longer if someone is really stuck into an activity, if you see what I mean. DEfinately one case where you need to pick your battles: was the need for this child to finish her drawing, greater than the resulting 'incident' and the los of the child to the setting?

Sometimes, what seems so simple to an adult, is crushing for a child............in this instance, her drawing was very important, so perhaps another way could have been found? so, maybe the member of staff involved, and you as a team, need to look at conflict resolution to prevent this happening again. WE ALL have bad days, not many of them result in parents being so upset that they take their child away. Next time, I'd pin the drawing up in pride of place, where the child could see it, perhaps saying that they could look at it while lunch. whatever is taking place, then return to it when the time is more appropriate. And yes, I would have cuddled the child when things were a little clamer........it was the action that was disliked, not the child after all.

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I would have recorded the incident, primarily because this could be the first of a number of occasions where a child lashed out like this and I would want to have recorded when they started and why. This could as easily be about making changes to the layout of the setting or the timetable as about the actions of an individual child and I would have made this clear to the parents if asked.

I would also have recorded the general situation, what triggered it, what alternative strategies had been tried and how the staff had responded. I would have used this to have a conversation reflecting in how the situation could have been handled differently, and whether the response to her lashing out was the best it could have been.

Some children can be desperate to finish pieces of work, especially if they have experience of not being able to finish things off previously or work disappearing when they get home. I would question why a child who was so engaged wasn't allowed or encouraged to finish it off if if that was what she wanted to do..

If you're restraining a child who has been lashing out it is good practice to hold them and tell them it's OK. It reassures them that you are in control and helps them to calm down. Depending on the age and stage of development of the child, you would have a conversation later about how they could have responded differently to their anger. Therefore it probably was appropriate to hold her and reassure her, as her mum suggested, but obviously not to sweep it under the carpet.

 


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We record everything. I had my glasses ripped off and bent once and if I hadn't been able to bend them back I would have considered asking the preschool to pay for them..you can't ask if there is no evidence!

It does seem to be much more common, I've been punched, kicked, bitten and threatened "I'll tell my mum and she'll punch you"

The parent's do need to know what their child's behaviour is like and you need to make sure you're fully backed up. Look for triggers to the behaviour, find a way that works in calming the situation and plan ahead, but back yourself up too.

Sweeping things under the carpet puts us all back 20 years and puts yourself at risk, maybe explain that the concerns do not taint her child's education, sounds like mum needs reassurance.

 

Good luck

Spiral :-}

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Forgive me for being so pedantic here, but this looks like it was all the child's 'fault'. She has been at the setting for over 18 months, presumably without incident, since no previous issues are mentioned. So, I'd want to know what actually happened; what exactly did the staff member say to her that provoked such a reaction.............................and how exactly was this reported back to the parent?? It just seems such a shame that what apears to have been a previously good relationship was marred by one incident, which might have been entirely preventable?

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From watching this week it would seem the child is panicking at tidy up time that something has not been made for home time.

 

The child is 4 and has never hit a staff member before. However she can be a challenge and often upset peers, snaching, pushing, hitting etc.

 

The incident was filled out as a way of letting parents know about the behaviour and safeguarding the staff - if the child was holding a pencil whilst hitting she would of poked the staffs face.

 

Staff member is very polite, always caring and reasons with the children. I have never had to question, lots of parents request her as their key carer as she had siblings ect.

 

I am more shocked by mums response.

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Ok, you can't and shouldn't get into a 'if she had..................' situation. She wasn't holding a pencil etc, so 'what if's' are irrelevant here. You have to deal with what actually happened. It sounds as if someone, possibly mum, is asking the child to produce something........the old 'why haven't you drawn/painted/glued/stuck/cartwheeled across the room and won a gold medal at the Olympics syndrome! Poor little girl. I don't suggest that your staff member is anything other than a wonderful professional, but even the most angelic amongst us can come across as overbearing when you are very little, want to finish a dazzling piece of art for a demanding mum and are faced with an adult who won't take no for an answer?

I am not shocked by her mum's reaction...................most parents are disbelieving when faced with an 'incident' of this nature. We all want to think we have brought only wonderful caring, sharing children into the world and it can be a huge shock to the system to discover that sometimes the rest of the world doesn't share our opinion . I always tread carefully when dealing with parents. There are times when you ahve to be very clear that certain types of behaviour cannot be tolerated.....and hitting is one of those occasions,BUT it matters how you share that information. If you suggest that their child is a thug, many parents will baulk at that. If you suggets that it's out of character, and you wish to affirm that it is the behaviour, rather than the child, that can't be tolerated, most parents would agree, I think.

I hope it resolves and you can all move forward from this. maybe mum is just concerned that a negative view of her daughter will move up to school with her and she won't get off to the best start? As professionals, I am sure you wouldn't allow that to happen. Good luck

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Ok, you can't and shouldn't get into a 'if she had..................' situation. She wasn't holding a pencil etc, so 'what if's' are irrelevant here. You have to deal with what actually happened. It sounds as if someone, possibly mum, is asking the child to produce something........the old 'why haven't you drawn/painted/glued/stuck/cartwheeled across the room and won a gold medal at the Olympics syndrome! Poor little girl. I don't suggest that your staff member is anything other than a wonderful professional, but even the most angelic amongst us can come across as overbearing when you are very little, want to finish a dazzling piece of art for a demanding mum and are faced with an adult who won't take no for an answer?

I am not shocked by her mum's reaction...................most parents are disbelieving when faced with an 'incident' of this nature. We all want to think we have brought only wonderful caring, sharing children into the world and it can be a huge shock to the system to discover that sometimes the rest of the world doesn't share our opinion . I always tread carefully when dealing with parents. There are times when you ahve to be very clear that certain types of behaviour cannot be tolerated.....and hitting is one of those occasions,BUT it matters how you share that information. If you suggest that their child is a thug, many parents will baulk at that. If you suggets that it's out of character, and you wish to affirm that it is the behaviour, rather than the child, that can't be tolerated, most parents would agree, I think.

I hope it resolves and you can all move forward from this. maybe mum is just concerned that a negative view of her daughter will move up to school with her and she won't get off to the best start? As professionals, I am sure you wouldn't allow that to happen. Good luck

Thanks ;)

You've hit the nail on the head so to speak - it's more about where the incident form will go. I've explained it just stays with us.

 

The problem seems to lie with the conversation the staff member had with mum. The practitioner stated "it was not a malicious act but was purposeful" mum has changed the words in her own mind to "it was an accident and not purposeful' I've tried to diplomatically explain but I think it's now about loosing face.

 

It's a shame as we've always got on really well with the family.

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Guest youngrisers

Firstly is there something more going on that Mum has not stated i.e. problems at home has the child witnessed anything within the home environment and can mum confide in you about any issues.

It seems that as the child has been with you so long and suddenly is hitting staff that a problem has arisen that you may be unaware off. I think a friendly chat with mum first may resolve some issues and glean more information.

The you need to contact funding as the termly payments head count has already been processed so she will not be able to switch funding elsewhere...

Seems there are more problems than answers?

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