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Persistent Pushing / Hurting


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what do others do when a child is persistently hitting / pushing / hurting others randomly for no apparent reason - at the moment we do the usual things, clear rules / boundaries, circle time discussions, talking to individuals involved, focussing on the injured party etc -


am simply asking as at moment seem to be hitting my head against a brick wall in this area with a particular child, and although know that there are no instant answers, feel that maybe another professional perspective may be useful...


looking forward to your replies





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I don't have anything useful for you Basilbrush, but wanted to register my interest in this also.


I have a 3 yr old girl in nursery who also hurts other children. Added to this she is downright insolent (& yes, I know she's only 3, but the other 40 children aren't like it) & draws on the furniture & walls. Now naughty children I don't have a problem with as such, but my problem is that the parents couldn't care less when I tell them what she's done; in fact they laugh at it & make it in to a joke: " It's more fun to draw on the tables isn't it X?" or " Your bits of paper obviously aren't big enough for her." She is the baby of the bunch in quite a dysfunctional family. I just find that no reward/punishments we put in place work for her. The poor child must feel pulled in 2 directions, & of course her loyalties lie with her parents, so when they say it's fine, she thinks it is. Any advice?

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Hi Basilbrush,

In my grandsons class the teacher uses a slightly different reward chart, that I have never come across before, which seems to work quite well.


He has a Sun, a grey cloud and a stormy rainy cloud. Not sure entirely how he works it but I do know that if the childs name is put on the rainy cloud because he is displaying unacceptable behaviour he has the opportunity throughout the day to redeem himself and move to the sun.


Just off the top of my head maybe this system can be combined with self registration, if the children place their names on the symbol that most reflects their feelings / mood as they arrive, 1. it shows (obviously) how they are feeling. and 2. It enables the teacher to see who needs some extra TLC before incidences happen within the class.


I know my grandson feels very proud of himself if he has "moved" from the rain to the sun through the course of the day, it seems to give him a sense of control over his own attitude / disposition. The children are fully involved with the teacher in this "activity" if they think they deserve redemption they can bring this to the teachers attention and negotiate being moved from one to the other, they don't have to wait for the teacher to spot them doing something kind or careful etc. This works the other way too, the teacher will ask ( after an incident) which symbol the child thinks they deserve to be placed on. One of the things I like about this system is that there is no "time out" used in the class, this method of behaviour management, I personally feel is as unproductive as the old fashioned method of standing a child in the corner with a dunce hat on.


Good luck, as you say, these things do take a lot of time and patience.


Chocolate girl,


I empathise completely, I had a girl last term with the same attitude and similar parents. In the end I arranged a home visit to discuss behaviour management at home and at preschool. It was a real eye opener and showed that the parents didn't support each other so the child was also playing one parent against the other. We talked about different boundaries and why we needed them at preschool and how parents could support this at home. We set some goals for home behaviour ( ie: mum, really wanted her daughter to stay in bed all night) and we set goals for her not to speak rudely to staff at preschool. We agreed rewards and sanctions then all together explained what we had decided with the child. We let her negotiate the reward and asked her for her ideas as to how her parents could help her to stay in bed all night ie: drink by her bed, hall light on.

I know this may not be possible in your case, but maybe a meeting could be called at the preschool. we all worked together we saw some real improvements in the whole families attitudes and they all seemed a lot happier. The parents later told me that they were really surprised that I had asked to speak to them ( I offered a preschool or home meeting- we did it at home, in the evening, so dad could be present after work) and appreciated that I went to so much trouble for them, this made them take the issues seriously.

The parents did change their attitude for a while but then slipped into their old ways when she started school. I still have contact with Mum through a younger sibling attending preschool and I have suggested she enquire at the school for support from the Family Support Officer.


Good luck.


I also had an experience with a girl who was very violent, I tried the home visit and other strategies, she would stab other children with pencils / scissors etc for no apparent provocation, it got quite serious. Once she pulled a small boy to the floor and attempted to stamp on his head ( luckily she missed) she would gloat and sneer as she did these horrible attacks. I eventually asked for support from the Child Psychologist- she left for school before the 1st appointment was made. I have since heard that her first week at school she grabbed the class hampster out of the cage and strangled it. Obviously a very troubled child, yet I could still feel love and care for her, and want to protect and nurture her from her obviously horrible sense of anger, low self esteem, bitterness and unhappiness. I never did find out what caused her to feel this way.


So how ever hard it is being with disruptive children, I always try to smile, love them, be as positive, friendly, kind and fun as I can and hope this role modelling rubs off on them.



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I am also interested in this topic because I have a similar case to that of Basibrush with a 4.3 boy. The thing is that his nanny is the one who brings and collects the child. The mum came only once... for the parent-teacher evening... and it was a MIRACLE because they didn't come last year when he was in Nursery. Can you imagine that the LAST day of school we had a school party and she approached his teacher: "Hi. Who are you?"

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