Pre-School and Daycare

Help- Super frustrated

I have a 4 1/2 year old son and an 18 month old son. My older son went through a horrible biting phase from 1-2 1/2. It stopped for the longest time until recently. Background: There is a 2 year old girl at the babysitter with my boys who on the first day but my child who was 6 mos. on the nose. My older son does not like this girl, when I ask why he just says "I don't know, but I don't like her." I have always repeatedly told him that we are kind to other people and while he may not like her he will be nice to her. The sitter has also told him that if he doesn't want to play with her, fine but he needs to be nice to her.

Well this morning I got a text that my son and another little girl were playing hide and seek, the girl he doesn't like tried to play and my son bit her on the cheek. I've seen a picture and I'm sure there will be a terrible bruise. I just don't know what to do anymore. We have tried everything we can think of in the past to explain to him about being nice to her and I'm at a loss. I know he needs punished but I don't want to punish without him understanding and learning. I want to teach him how to make a right choice and I don't know how. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Re: Help- Super frustrated

  • Any changes for your guy lately? I know big changes can bring back bad behavior. 
    Either way, I would set up some structured play for the two of them preferably something he likes. My DS is the same age and loves the park, so I'll use that as my example. Before you go, tell him what you want to see. "Be nice to girl by sharing your sand toys and taking turns on the swings." If you see negative behavior, address it right away and give an alternative. My DS likes to throw sand. I say, "Sand is not for throwing. It could get in someone's eye and that wouldn't feel good. Instead let's try to build a sand tower." 
    Maybe he will see that the girl likes some of the same things or he will at least play next to her. 
  • Any negative behavior like that should be addressed immediately, right when it happens and be followed up with consistency each and every time. If my son did that he would be in time out so freaking fast.

    My son started hitting when he was 17 months old and that's when we started time out's. We were 100% consistent with time out and addressing the behavior every single time. My son is now 3.5 and NEVER hits or is violent whatsoever. I'm not saying my kid is perfect but we worked super hard to make sure he understood that hitting or lashing out from anger was not acceptable.

    I know you want to teach your son to make the right choices and to be a good person but keep in mind he is still young so you have to keep the lesson and the words you use short and to the point. All you can do is let him know that behavior like that will not be tolerated and then explain why. Eventually he WILL get it if you are consistent and you and your husband encourage positive behaviors and display them yourselves.

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  • Something's weird about this situation.  I know I'm late to the game here with my reply, and that this situation happened almost a month ago, but I feel like there's a piece missing to this puzzle, and the piece is the reaction of the daycare provider.  I feel like the specific advice I'd give you would depend on the daycare situation.  

    Is it in-home or a daycare center?  How many kids are there?  What's the age spread?  And most of all, what has your daycare provider already done as far as working with your son to deter this behavior? 

    A child who is 4.5 knows that biting and/or hitting are unacceptable.  So while I do think there needs to be a consequence for your son, I also think that just telling him "be nice to this other girl" is not going to be effective.  You can work on his impulse control at home, but the daycare provider may need to take a more active role in keeping them apart or setting up more structured activities for them so that the two kids don't clash repeatedly.
    High School English teacher and mom of 2 kids:

    DD, born 9/06/00 -- 12th grade
    DS, born 8/25/04 -- 7th grade
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