About a child hurting other children & adults(28 Posts)
I go to a toddler group each week, which is usually attended by about 12 children aged between 14 months and just over two.
There are always the usual squabbles between children over toys, or accidents when they bump into each other etc. But there is one boy in the class whose behaviour seems quite extreme. He will regularly walk up to other children and forcefully push them over - he's not trying to take a toy or anything, just pushing them so they fall to the ground. This happens many times every week and several of the other children have been hurt (not seriously, thankfully!) by this. He also hits people (both other children and adults), pulls people's hair, scratches at people and grabs toys from other children then throws the toys hard across the room. Again all of this seems unprovoked - he literally walks up to children and adults and hits them for no obvious reason. It's not that he's trying to get past or take a toy from them and being frustrated that he can't, he's just walking over to people and hitting or pulling their hair.
I know all children will push, hit, pull hair etc sometimes, but this is just so persistent. There must be easily 15-20 incidents in each 45 minute class where he hurts or tries to hurt another child or adult. And it's every week, not just a one off that might be due to overtiredness etc.
His mum doesn't intervene to stop him hurting others, it's normally other parents who have to move our children away from him or ask him to play gently. The class teacher often asks his mum to take him to sit down with her if he's pushed or hit someone, which she does. Other than that she doesn't intervene. I don't know if that's intentional - maybe avoiding giving him attention or something, because she doesn't know what to do, or something else. She does seem like she's not really paying attention to him as she's often looking at her phone or chatting to other parents and so doesn't notice her son's actions until the teacher asks her to do something.
I've talked to other parents and they all feel concerned about his behaviour. Not in a judgemental or gossipy way, but more worrying if there's something wrong that's causing him to behave like this. But, as well as being concerned about his wellbeing, we're all also getting tired of seeing our children being pushed and hit, having to be on guard all the time ready to intervene, and even being hit or hurt ourselves. It's made worse by the fact that his mum only ever steps in to stop his actions when she's asked to by the teacher. Someone suggested perhaps we need to ask the teacher if she can talk to his mum and put in place some sort of plan to deal with this.
It feels horrible complaining about a young child's behaviour, but this just seems so unusual compared to all the other children I see at groups or in the park. So, here's my AIBU:
1. AIBU to think this behaviour is more than just usual toddler boisterousness?
2. Would you be worried about him - eg could he have been bullied at nursery or by older siblings and so have developed this behaviour in self defence?
3. WIBU for me or one of the other parents to talk to the teacher about our concerns? I would try talking to the boy's mum but as she's regularly asked by the teacher to step in when his behaviour is out of hand I'm not sure if someone else talking to her about he issue would be likely to help and it might even upset her if she's not sure how to deal with it. Also, it's not like I have anything useful to suggest, so it's possible she'd react badly to someone else "complaining" about her son's actions, even if I was as friendly and non-judgy as I could possibly be.
If the children are as young as that I am unclear why you say class teacher? Play leader?.early years practioner. But it's not a classroom.
Anyway. If the mum isn't stopping it then He's getting what he wants (attention? Most toddlers do). Maybe He's like that at home 24/7 and she wants some time out / can't afford childcare.
Maybe just chat to her about her son. Try to get a feel if SHE has concerns about his behaviour?
It's a music / rhyme type class (bit like Monkey Music, I think), and the person who runs it calls herself a teacher. I guess play leader would describe it too.
I get it must be tiring for his mum, but it's not really fair to other children and parents if, as you say, she does see the class as her "time out" from supervising her son.
Tbh from your perspective it doesn't really matter why he is doing what he is doing. That's for his parents to sort out. What you need to worry about is his behaviour while in the group. If you and other parents are having to mind this child in order to protect your own, you need to speak to whoever is leading the group. They need to make it clear to the parent of this boy that they are going to have to be far more hands on.
Is the class affiliated with a setting, like a children's centre? Or is the provider renting a hall in the community?
soapbox, I think you're probably right about it being for his parents to sort out. I guess I find it hard not to worry a bit as it seems like such unusual behaviour for a young child.
user, it's in a rented hall in a community centre, not linked to a children's centre or anything.
Supervise your own child and then they won’t get hurt? Take the child back to his mother every time, explain what he has done and go back to play.
zzzz, I do supervise closely, but that doesn't always stop it happening. For example this week he walked over to me and hit me on the side of my head, then when I turned towards him to ask him to stop he tried to grab hold of my child's hair. When I put my hand in between him and my child to stop him he then turned to the child next to me, who was sitting on his mum's knee, and grabbed a handful of his hair instead.
I think I would talk to the teacher and ask her to say something about parents needing to be responsible for their children's behaviour during the class time. And if the mother doesn't respond to that, she needs to talk to her individually. If I were the teacher, I'd be willing to tell the parent that if she doesn't start supervising her child properly, she can't come to the class anymore, because it's spoiling things for everyone else. It's not okay for a child, however young, to be hurting other children or adults.
I would start chatting to his mum. She might need someone to talk to, if he is hitting out at random people up to 20 times in 45 minutes I wouldn't say that is 'normal' behaviour. Maybe sit with her at the next session.
If it isn't associated with an official setting the only person you can express concern to is the provider of the session. There's no harm having a quiet word and seeing what she/he thinks, if he's that bad I am surprised people are still regularly attending. In the sessions I have had experience with it is not uncommon for people to leave for a couple of weeks if one child was constantly crying or having a tantrum, they just didn't enjoy it. Sounds like you're on edge too.
I do not think any of your suggestions will go down well. Just keep your own child away from him. You are judging BTW and talking to other mums about him is gossiping.
Next time he does it walk him over to his mum and tell her she needs to watch him because he’s hurting others, whatever the problem is it’s hers to deal with.
Let her worry about him and you worry about yours, whatever is causing it she needs to step in and ensure his behaviour is contained as much as possible.
Thanks user, I think I'll try those suggestions. I think people are still coming to it because it's a really lovely class with a great teacher and there's not really anything else like it in our area. And it's also one you have to book a term in advance so people have already paid up until xmas and probably don't want to lose the money.
raver, I try keeping my child away from him but it's difficult when he will even hit or push children who are sitting on their parents knee.
The only reason any of us even talked about this was because one child hit his head very hard after being pushed and so people were asking his mum whether he was okay. I don't think the intention was to gossip about anyone.
Re your concern that it might be something more than normal toddler boisterousness - I used to walk up to other toddlers/babies and just bite them and walk away again. I did grow up to be completely normal and am not a phsycopath, or a criminal. Neither was I abused or neglected at the time. I think I must have done it once and got a taste for it so I don't think there's necessarily anything wrong with the boy, although of course it is normal for you to worry about the impact on your child
But also, I do think it was a very stressful phase for my mum and she almost stopped going to toddler groups at all because of it
Definitely speak to the teacher. It helps her deal with the parent to be able to say she has had complaints from parents who don't want him I'm the class if he can't behave safely. The mum sounds like a half wit.
Some of these responses are weird. Why should the OP and others have to continually move their children away from this child? Why do they have to be the ones to tell the child to 'play gently' or take him back to his mother and explain when he has done something wrong? The mother should be supervising her child. Ask the teacher to talk to her.
His behaviour is disruptive - whatever the reason behind it. I agree speak to the leader of the session. No one needs to tolerate having their hair pulled or being hit.
FWIW who hasn't discussed another child with other parents when you are trying to canvass opinions as to what action to take???
Just go up to her and tell her to watch her child, all this pussy footing around will get you no where, someone has to muster up the courage to tell her it’s not on don’t get in to a discussion about it just tell her she needs to actually parent like everyone else.
Having been the class leader in that situation - complain! Being able to say its causing concern makes it much easier - especially if the end result is telling that mum she cant come anymore. Did class runner see the serious injury?
The reason for the behaviour is none of your concern ( and it is most likely a stage he is going through, they are after all still babies). If as an individual you are concerned about your child's safety then speak to class leader.
I agree something needs to be said directly to the mother but I don't see why it should be the class leader. That will just give the mother the impression she's been whispered about by the group (which is true).
Don't pass the buck, say something yourself. "Your child keeps hurting mine, please can you watch him more closely". And other mothers can do the same.
minipie I would suggest one other parent talking to this mother would be far more likely to give the impression of gossiping since one lone parent would be highly unlikely to confront in such a way without first having discussed it with others. Secondly the mother may only perceive it to be a problem with one child not the majority.
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