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Question
Posted by: KT | 2012/06/20

Aggressive son

My son is turning 5 in August and he is at pre-school. The teacher has told me he is too aggressive. She says he reacts to situations by hitting other children. When he is provoked and pushed he hits. She says he is also not sharing. I have noticed he also gets angry when we dont listen to him when he wants us to, even when we busy. He is a bit domineering,but I dont see a problem there. He sleeps well and eats fine. I seldom have to smack.
Teacher also says he is possessive of his friend. He prefers 1 little boy as a friend and not a group. I dont see a problem here either. I always only had 1 friend during my school years and still now.
He likes to act as a super hero and makes noises as he plays. She seems to think its not right. She has advised I take him to a psychologist. Im skeptical about this as I think she is blowing it out of proportion. He does have 3 other siblings but they are much older(from 1st marriage) and live in another town. They are studying and working and my 15 yr old at school and lives with his dad. He was living with us until he decided to go to High School in another town, where his dad lives.

What should I do? What do u think?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

The problem here isnt an aggressive child, but a wildly ignorant and aggressive teacher !
I'm troubled by the ideological content here - the sense that a teacher is intent on imposing her opinion of how kids MUST be, on some otherwise wholesome kids who don't happen to be that way.
Being aggressive towards and hurting others, yes, bad idea, and needing to be discouraged. But should all kids share everything ? That's not a natural human trait, and varies much more than this driven teach seems to assume. And who on earth shouldn't a child prefer having one other child as a particular friend, rather than "the group". This, too, is not such a natural human tendency that someone should try to push the child to being otherwise. Teachers should be very careful not to try to force kids into behaving in one particular way, just because they ( with no specific skills or knowledge in this field ) feel convinced that it should be thus.
And she thinks there's something wrong because he makes noises as he plays ? Is she psychotic ? It sounds to me far more as though this nutty teacher needs evaluation by a shrink, than does your child.
Seriously, if she really finds these a basis for concern about a child, she is badly trained or seriously misinformed and has bizarre priorities.
And if she punishes him for such normal behaviour she is a significant risk to the children in her care. Maybe one should discuss it with the headmistress / whoever is in charge.
And tell them id this disturbed woman EVER hits your child again, you will lay criminal charges against her. Similarly, she should be preventing the other children from being aggressive towards him in the ways he describes, rather than punishing the bullied child who responds in self-protective mode.
I heartily agree with Maria. This teacher is badly trained and over-confident / under-competent. And teachers seem far too eager to refer kids to mental helth professionals for inadequate reasons.
I also like her idea of working with your child to role-play alternative ways for him to respond when those specific kids tease him. And help him to realize that by NOT reacting fiercely, he's more likely to frustrate them, as they deserve to be frustrated.
That this stupid teacher then again pathologises his response when he gracefully withdraws, and insists that it "makes him sad" is further evidence of how addled she is.
And of course, that you ever smack him for misbehaving is a bad idea- it is useless at developing true discipline, and teaches that using violence is OK.

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Our users say:
Posted by: KT | 2012/06/21

Thank you doctor and the other responses. I appreciate the advice and help. Im not going to take him to see psychologist. I really do not think his behavior warrants therapy. Im going to help him by role play to avoid aggressive reactions.

Reply to KT
Posted by: Purple | 2012/06/20

Please lay a complaint with the department of education about this useless teacher.

No surprise about where he learned that hitting others was an apporpriate response then.

If he is being bullied, the teacher should be resolving that problem, not taking issue with him for reacting in the only way he has been taught how.

Can you not find a better school?

Reply to Purple
Posted by: Maria | 2012/06/20

The teacher, and you at home, must frequently reinforce the message " We don''t hit" .

Your son needs to learn different ways to handle his anger. I feel this is also something that can usefully be taught to the group at school?

Reply to Maria
Posted by: Kt | 2012/06/20

Thanks Maria. I will try that. I have told him to walk away and he has done that too, but teacher says he is making himself sad by being by himself. He is bringing it on himself. Its hard because his temperament is not to step back and turn the other cheek.He wants to play with the other kids. Surprisingly he plays very nicely with me and has never hit me and always shares with me. If he gets angry he runs to his room and cries it off.

Reply to Kt
Posted by: Maria | 2012/06/20

Oh no KT, no teacher may hit your child! Those days are long gone. I just really fail to understand why teachers aren''t better equipped to deal with these things, it seems to me they refer you to other professionals much too quickly. Surely he is not the first, and won''t be the last, child they have to handle who hits.

It seems that your son overreacts to situations. Remember that they also tend to exaggerate when telling stories to make themselves look blameless. He probably gets teased because the other kids know they are going to get a reaction. I prefer the term " thinking corner"  rather than " naughty corner"  as that doesn''t label the child. Putting him in the corner for a while is good, followed by getting him to shake hands with the other child and apologise. Furthermore you need to coach him at home on how to deal with these situations, maybe do some roleplay. When he is being teased he must turn around and walk away, then the kids will lose interest.

I realise this is very difficult for a five year old but my daughter managed it at 6 when she was being bullied at school. I have seen a skilled child psychologist make a big difference to an aggressive 4 year old.

Reply to Maria
Posted by: KT | 2012/06/20

Hi
She has put him in naughty corner. She has asked him why and he says I dont know, but when I ask him he tells me the whole story. Other children teasing him or older children pulling him off play equipment and he reacts by hitting. She has also hit him about 3 times. She says she had to hit him to stop him. He doesnt like being hit and it normally doesnt work.

Reply to KT
Posted by: Maria | 2012/06/20

How does the teacher respond to this behaviour?

Reply to Maria
Posted by: cybershrink | 2012/06/20

The problem here isnt an aggressive child, but a wildly ignorant and aggressive teacher !
I'm troubled by the ideological content here - the sense that a teacher is intent on imposing her opinion of how kids MUST be, on some otherwise wholesome kids who don't happen to be that way.
Being aggressive towards and hurting others, yes, bad idea, and needing to be discouraged. But should all kids share everything ? That's not a natural human trait, and varies much more than this driven teach seems to assume. And who on earth shouldn't a child prefer having one other child as a particular friend, rather than "the group". This, too, is not such a natural human tendency that someone should try to push the child to being otherwise. Teachers should be very careful not to try to force kids into behaving in one particular way, just because they ( with no specific skills or knowledge in this field ) feel convinced that it should be thus.
And she thinks there's something wrong because he makes noises as he plays ? Is she psychotic ? It sounds to me far more as though this nutty teacher needs evaluation by a shrink, than does your child.
Seriously, if she really finds these a basis for concern about a child, she is badly trained or seriously misinformed and has bizarre priorities.
And if she punishes him for such normal behaviour she is a significant risk to the children in her care. Maybe one should discuss it with the headmistress / whoever is in charge.
And tell them id this disturbed woman EVER hits your child again, you will lay criminal charges against her. Similarly, she should be preventing the other children from being aggressive towards him in the ways he describes, rather than punishing the bullied child who responds in self-protective mode.
I heartily agree with Maria. This teacher is badly trained and over-confident / under-competent. And teachers seem far too eager to refer kids to mental helth professionals for inadequate reasons.
I also like her idea of working with your child to role-play alternative ways for him to respond when those specific kids tease him. And help him to realize that by NOT reacting fiercely, he's more likely to frustrate them, as they deserve to be frustrated.
That this stupid teacher then again pathologises his response when he gracefully withdraws, and insists that it "makes him sad" is further evidence of how addled she is.
And of course, that you ever smack him for misbehaving is a bad idea- it is useless at developing true discipline, and teaches that using violence is OK.

Reply to cybershrink

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