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3 yr old hurt a rabbit... should I be worried?(4 Posts)
The nursery my son goes to has pet rabbits in the garden that the children get to pet during outdoor time. When I picked my son up today, one of the staff there told me that they had had to tell my DS off because she had seen him kicking and hitting a rabbit, so she had told him off and he had to come inside instead of playing outside as punishment. When she told me I was mortified and very apologetic, and when we got back into the car I spoke to DS about it. He said he did it because the rabbit wasn't coming out of the hutch and he wanted to play with it. Obviously, this is still unacceptable and I explained that to him and how we need to treat animals gently and with respect, and that I would be very disappointed with him if he hurt an animal again. Much as I'm upset about it, I do feel slightly relieved that he had a reason (not an acceptable one, I know, but to an impatient 3 yr old I can see how the frustration at the rabbit not coming out might lead to drastic action to get the rabbit moving) and could answer why he did it, rather than him just doing it without an explanation, which I think would be more disturbing. He's always been so good with our friends dogs and cats, really gentle and kind, so I was really surprised that he'd do this to a rabbit. We are a happy family and there's no violence in the home. Should I be worried about this kind of behaviour, and is there anything I might be able to do on top of what I've already done to help him understand not to hurt animals?
I wouldn't worry about a one off but would be concerned if it happened a second time.
Work on his empathy skills. You can do this with his soft toys i.e. teddy bears. Talk about how the teddy would feel if it fell off his bed, or was shut in a dark cupboard, or left outside in the garden overnight alone. There are some good books for this so have a look in the library.
He sounds like he does not have skills yet to understand that the rabbit has feelings. The child is only interested in his own feelings (of frustration). Also, explain that others have choices and that is ok if the rabbit does not want to come out of the hutch.
Three year olds have a lot to learn!!
I wouldn't worry about this as he is only 3 - I would just casually mention at times about how we can show kindness to animals and how we need to be gentle with them and give him lots of praise when he is kind to them.
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