3 year old - Aggressive Behavior at School - FamilyEducation
3 year old - Aggressive Behavior at School
01/31/2012 at 09:08 AM

I am new to this board and trying to find any good suggestions I can because we are out of ideas. This might be a little long but background is necessary.
My son is 3 years old and up until recently has always been a relatively easy child. He never really had tantrums, didn't do the "terrible twos" thing so badly and is VERY verbal. The reality, not bragging, is that he is very smart, sometimes too smart, at least for my own good!!! He started at a new school, which happens to be the school where I teach, after Thanksgiving, and since then he has been displaying completely uncharacteristic aggressive behavior. He has always been stubborn and strong willed but never aggressive, especially not physically aggressive. However, at school now, he is hitting teachers and occasionally children just abotu every day. He gets angry or frustrated and then hits, kicks, throws things, and throws full on tantrums. The school is dealing with this the best they can but my husband and I are at a loss. We are trying to get to the root of the anger and address the behavior at the same time. We have gone into very clear black and white rewards and consequences for his behavior. He understands hwo it works but doesn't seem to be able to control his actions once he gets upset. It's like he's on the defensive all the time at school and gets angry very quickly. We are so fried from dealing with this and don't know if what we're doing is even effective at this point. Any suggestions or ideas or techniques would be greatly appreciated. He is also an only chid and hasn't had a lot of "play dates" because most of our closest friends don't have kids. We are making an effort to have him play with other kids more to help him learn to socialize properly and when he's good he's VERY good and does well. I am not sure hopw much of this is normal and how much is not but I do know that hitting teachers at school needs to be addressed and stopped. Ideas? Help?

Does he grieve the relationships he had at his old school/daycare?

He doesn't seem to but maybe. We considered that.

your son is asking for attention,his behavior signalises that he needs someone to listen and to have a look at him. The other thing is that he is the only child and had not much contact with other children. Did you sat him down and with eye contact talked to him daily about how much you love him,about your work- how much is important to you? If he is aggressive to teachers,they represent you in some way. Before you came back to work he meant everything to you and now you focus on work and he shows his anger towards teachers and school. Maybe he always had a protective "coat" over his life,now he has to think and fight for himself. He is "not the only child"at school and he wants love and attention which he had lost the minute he joined the school. The only way to get through to him is to talk to him daily and invite loads of other children so he can interact daily or to go to the places where he can be with other children and talk to him about changes and let him just be himself.

I think Cameronka is right on about what he is probably feeling. In spite of that, though, he does need to know that hitting teachers (and anyone) is an unacceptable answer. It is hard to deal with that in this mix, but he will get less nurturing responses from the teachers if this is not addressed. They are just human too.

You say you are a teacher at the same school - is he getting picked on or bullied because of this? It is always difficult to have a parent in a position of power and maybe he's finding friendships difficult because of this. It might be worth looking into that as an option. I've often found that colleagues who have their own children in school often feel terribly embarrassed when behaviour becomes difficult. Do you think your expectations for him are making him anxious and therefore respond with aggression. I don't mean that in a critical way but I would be very aware of my child's behaviour if they were in my workplace. I think it's important to find out what is making him so angry and upset which in turn will help prevent his outbursts. Something is not quite right and it looks like he is defensive over something. Try rewarding his good behaviour and pay less attention to the bad - difficult I know when he is physical but this is an act of frustration in a child so young. Good luck.