Preschool Behaviour.

Jenn - posted on 08/28/2011 ( 15 moms have responded )

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My oldest son is 3, turning 4 in December. He is scheduled to begin Preschool in September and I am concerned that his behaviour will get him in a lot of trouble. I have been working with him tirelessly all summer to try and get him to change the way he behaves and acts in public with a small amount of success. It's nothing horrible, it's just the little things that he knows isn't appropriate but decides to do anyways. The little progress that I did make with him ended when school let out since his 2 older brothers (step) who don't behave at all came to spend summer vacation with us. I believe that part of that has to do with my lack of success with my son. They are physically violent towards each other, they use inappropriate language and show no respect to anyone including each other. I am at a complete loss as to what to do and I have tried several techniques such as time out, loss of toys & loss of privileges. This works for NONE of them. I worry tremendously that he will do something or say something at school to get himself into trouble and I would really like to curb this in the last week I have. If you have any suggestions, they would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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Jenni - posted on 08/28/2011

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Is the main issue hitting when he becomes angry?

The trick is to try to channel is his anger into an appropriate response. Anger is a natural emotion and if we're not taught how to deal with it appropriately we'll have no outlet for it or turn to negative outlets for it. It's ok for him to feel angry BUT people shouldn't react to their anger by hitting.



So with that in mind you have to give him an appropriate tool for coping with his anger.

A few suggestions would be:

Teaching him to count through his anger.

Teaching him to do deep breathing.

Giving him a favourite stuffed animal to squeeze.

Teaching him to walk away and take quiet time.

Teaching him to go colour when he's angry or some other calming activity.



When he hits, say "I see you're angry right now. But hitting hurts, so we don't hit. Here's bear, give him a good hard squeeze and you'll feel better."



Also, modelling how we adults deal with anger appropriately is important. When you get angry, announce with your words that you are angry (emotion) and that you need to count to ten, or go take a timeout (appropriate response).



You may not have much control over what your step children do or how they were raised but you do have control over how your son's behaviour is and how he is raised. Children will experience peer pressure, especially school aged children. We cannot prevent it, but we can raise resillant children. By building strong relationships with our children based on mutual respect, love and trust. TALK TALK TALK and DISCUSS.

Everything he sees, everything he experiences talk to him about his emotions, how he feels in certain situations, what are appropriate responses to those situations, what outcomes he experiences when he makes negative choices and positive choices.

Wow, you practiced at your ABCs really hard, and look you got them!

Or

When you hit Elliot it made him sad, and now he doesn't want to play with you.

Point out when other children are engaging in negative and positive behaviours.

See how Jessie shared her crackers with you, that was so nice of her!

See how Erica is climbing up the slide? We don't do that because it's dangerous and the other children can't take their turn.

Jenn - posted on 08/28/2011

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No, it's not entirely hitting, the main issue would be the 20 minute freak out session that he has whenever he's put into time out or put to bed for his behaviour. As we speak, he is having one of his tantrums, created by him not wanting to play nicely in the pool and chosing to scream at everyone and tell them all he doesn't like them.

I have tried getting him to count to 10 when he's sngry or even take deep breaths. These strategies no longer work... they did for a while but not anymore. I believe I will try the other suggestions you provided, such as "Giving him a favourite stuffed animal to squeeze. Teaching him to walk away and take quiet time. Teaching him to go colour when he's angry or some other calming activity.

I will admit that my Mother always had a bad temper and I believe I have inherited it as well as my sons. When we get angry, we get ANGRY. I fear that the way I have reacted when I get frustrated has also contributed to how he behaves now. I am working very hard on curbing my own reactions as well as his.

I wish that I had some control over how the two older kids act in my house. It seems that when they don't get their ways, they turn into Satan's Children. Bad attitudes and talking back are the number one issue with them and my son has begun to talk back as well. I get a "so what?!" when I tell him he shouldn't be doing something.

Thank you so much for all your input. I will definitely be trying your approach!!

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Jenn - posted on 09/16/2011

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He has learned so much in only 2 days. He's being very good at school and already has a best friend. So excited!! Keep your fingers crossed that this continues.

Angela - posted on 09/16/2011

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@Jenn how nice! I bet too the additional peers to imitate and are good influences will be good for him! So happy you had a good couple days!

Jenn - posted on 09/15/2011

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I really don't want to jinx myself but he's been really good there!! The teacher is saying that he's very polite and respectful. Only things he needs to work on is paying attention and listening better. I am so relieved that he hasn't done or said anything that he's not supposed to. Then, again, today was only the 2nd day of school. I hope this good behavior will continue. *Fingers Crossed*

Jennifer - posted on 09/14/2011

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I would wait until he starts school to see what happens. I taught 1st grade for 5 years and I always had parents tell me certain things about their children that I never saw at school. It will also help that he will see how the other kids respond to each other. Don't worry, the teacher has seen it all, and if he does have a tantrum at school, I'm sure she'll be able to handle it. Good luck.

Jenn - posted on 09/08/2011

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Angela - My hubby is getting pretty annoyed that they are always acting this way. It used to be that they behaved at least 80% of the time... now it's way down to 20% and that's not even exaggerating. When they're in time out, it's usually only one at a time. Since our place is smaller, there isn't really many places to put them.. Anywhere else, they'll play with toys and throw things instead of sitting quietly and thinking about what they did wrong. The other day was the worst.. They fought and fought all the way home from the store. By the time we were 1/2 way home, the 8 year old was sitting in the middle of traffic crying over the fact that the 10 year old hit him. Then, it all just escalated from there. So, not only are they teaching the babies not to listen, they're teaching them to hit and be rude. I put them in time out and said that their time wouldn't start until they were quiet, they decided to scream, hit and make a huge mess of their room for the next 45 min. Then, I get 10x the attitude from the 10 year old because he thinks he's so awesome and should never be in trouble. So, when my hubby called to talk to him, I went to get him saying Dad wanted to speak with him. Well, he decides it's time for another smartass answer and says, "Who Jeff?" which is his Mom's boyfriend. Total disrespect. It was just embarrassing to have to be the parent with them today... I don't give in at all when it comes to time out. It never seems to work though and they apologies that the older boys try and do is only so they can get something or just to get out of the room. I don't want a fake apology...

Jenni - I do appreciate all the advice you have given me. I am going to use the logical consequences like you suggested, that sounds like it might be more effective than just time out.

Jenni - posted on 09/03/2011

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I understand Jenn. Like I said it is very difficult with step children. Especially, older ones who you don't have in your care often. Of course, I don't think it's impossible to improve their behaviour at *your* house... just really challenging and never simple. My SIL struggles with the same issues with her two older step children. And she's a teacher! I've seen her with kids and her own son and she is very consistant, involved, strict and on them like white on rice. lol She's great with kids! But even she struggles with her step children at times. But from what she says, they're a lot more respectful with her and her husband than they are at home.

I'm just lucky for a few reasons with my SD (Kira). She's eager to please! We have her here 14 days out of the month. I've been in her life since birth. And her mom is pretty good with her too, from what I understand... she's pretty strict with her.

I wish I had some good advice to give you for your situation. But I'm really not well rehearsed with older step children.

I would say with like any parent/child relationship, strong relationships with your children are key. Plenty of discussions and addressing all behaviour, good and bad. Spending one on one time. With them as individuals, father one on one time and SM one on one time. Which does pose some difficulties in your situation since you say they don't visit too often.
Of course, being a united front with your husband on discipline and respect is also key.

Setting clear boundaries with them when they are at your house. Even if that means writing the 'house rules' on a poster and hanging it on the wall. Rules that emphasis respect and safety. And consequences that will be expected if they break the rules. Follow through and consistancy.

I'm a believer in logical consequences. Consequences that fit the crime and are direct.
If they damage property, they have to do extra chores to earn the money to replace the item or repair it themselves.
If they act disrecpectful, they are not heard and you will not comply.
If they swear, they write an essay on why swearing is not acceptable and why it is offensive.
I think it's typical for boys especially, to rough house. But certain boundaries should be in place. Like no rough housing in the house. And a 'safe word' that if someone says, they have to stop immediately. If they don't listen when the other says "enough is enough". A consequence of them being seperated for a time would be ideal. Also, maybe have their dad teach 'safe/gentle rough housing'. Certain rules we don't do when rough housing like using weapons of any kind. Minding not to hurt the other person, no punching, no below the belt, no hitting, no twisting arms, no scratching.

My son likes to wrestle with dad, but his dad also teaches him the boundaries and that the goal is NOT to hurt the other person.

Angela - posted on 09/03/2011

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Jenn, what does you husband think of their behavior. Can you separate them, meaning bad behavior they go somewhere away from everyone IE a room etc.?
If it were possible that is what I would do as soon as any negitive behavior came into play, Not just time out but time away until you can act appropriate.

Jenn - posted on 09/02/2011

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Angela - The older boys don't respect anyone, let alone each other. They only think of themselves. Nobody has control over them. They spend a lot of time with their Mom & her boyfriend during the school year and come over with new and disgusting habits each time. They play that game Black Opps at their Mom's & a bunch of other violent games and then come here and "practice" what they've learned from the games on each other and my little babies. They never listen, even when in time out or when they lose privilidges. They only scream and yell.

Jenni - Jaxon is the same way. He's usually pretty well behaved in public but at home, it's a free for all with words and actions that aren't appropriate. His older brothers like to teach him disgusting phrases and habits that I am so desperately trying to break him of. I honeslty worry all the time that he'll come out with something at school and I'll get a call from the school...

Jenni - posted on 09/02/2011

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It's so true that kids act differently in different situations or with different people.

Like I said, my son was a hitter. But he never hit outside the home. He hit me and his dad when he was really young but then he stopped around the 2 year mark when his language became more developed. But the only other kids he would hit and has ever hit is his sisters. He has never hit a friend or other child.



He is usually a complete angel in public. I am always getting compliments on our children's behaviour when we're around *other* people. But at home is when they let loose! It's mostly with his older sister he exists bad behaviour. Those two must have major personality conflicts. It's always a struggle to encourage them to 'get along'. Yet, they have no issues getting on with other children. Gah! I hate sibling riverly.

Angela - posted on 09/01/2011

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Jenn why don't you have any control over the older children? They need to learn to respect you talking back etc is not acceptable. What is going on with that?

Jenn - posted on 09/01/2011

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I've heard of kids acting totally different with other people than they do at home. I really hope so in this case. I have 2 weeks to get my guy ready for school and I really hope that he chooses good behaviour instead of naughty. I'm so close to being out of ideas though, I feel as though I have tried everything to curb his behaviour. I'm always told that I'm on him too much, but I worry that if I don't step in, he's going to do something terrible, which by his streak, looks bad.

Angela - posted on 08/30/2011

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I have to say do not be suprised your child acts completley different when you are not around or in another setting. It is quite common. So wait to worry a bit and see. As far as the behavior you describe a lot of it is normal toddler stuff and some children will be better influences than others. I have learned that . My neighbor kids are loud and when Claire is around them so is she but when my friend's little girl comes over she is quiet and so is Claire. At preschool I get nothing but good news so far.
I think preschool will be good so he will have other good influences around him and how to get long etc.
Don't worry too much unless you get negitive feedback and of course using things like the anger management techniques of Jenni helps too.

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