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3 yr old biting / tantrums / other children

(14 Posts)
MrsMattie Mon 09-Jun-08 13:52:00


Ah, that's better.
I'm coming to the end of my tether with the current situation with my little boy...actually, I reached the end of my tether a long time ago and am now DESPERASTE for a solution.

The main problem is that my 3 yr old son has been repeatedly biting other children at nursery. He's been at the nursery 5 afternoons a week (2 and a half hour sessions) since October, and the biting has been going on for a few months now. It seems that as soon as he gets frustrated, doesn't get his own way, wants someone else's toy etc he bites them really hard, often hard enough to bruise them. This is happening 2 or 3 times a week, sometimes more. We have had meetings with the nursery staff and manager about what we can do about the situation. They're supportive but are beginning to worry about the effect this is having on the other children at the nursery. sad

So far they have tried talking it through with him, then switched tack to removing him from the situation immediately (ie. he has to come in from the playground and sit in the quiet corner). We have tried to work with the nursery so that we are all using the same strategies with him, but nothing has worked so far.

He is also completely unable to share / take turns with other children, despite huge attempts by me and his dad and the nursery to start gently introducing these concepts to him. He's only 3, fair enough - I'm not expecting miracles - but the problem is, when he doesn't want to share or take turns at nursery, he becomes violent towards other children (and sometimes staff) and throws a tantrum if challenged even gently.

In short, he is completely disruptive at nursery and despite the patience and support of the nursery staff, it is becoming worse not better. I am really worried about my son, and dread collecting him each day to be told once again that he has bitten another child or that he had to be brought inside because of his behaviour.

At home he is a very bright, energetic child - constantly on the go physically and mentally. He has a very sweet, chatty little nature, but the second something doesn;t go his way he completely freaks out and throws a mammoth violent tantrum. Ignoring doesn't work (he will cry and tantrum for hours until he is sick). Time out works about a quarter of the time. Firm discipline - taking away privileges, removing him from the situation etc - only sometimes works and even then it is never a deterrent to him next time. It's hard to exoplain the level huis behaviour escalates to sometimes. Soem people reading this will say 'he sound slike a normal 3 yr old to me', but if that's the case, why have we never met another child who behaves liek this so much of the time?

Sorry to waffle on. Loads more I could add, but for now will just sit back and see if anyone out there can help!

pagwatch Mon 09-Jun-08 14:14:23

Mrs mattie
I am not going to compare our children as my DS in question has profound SN and yours does not - but part of his symptom profile was behaviours such as you describe.
I am only posting because I want you to get a reply from someone who knows exactly how frustrating and soul destroying it is.
First things - don't blame yourself as that doesn't help. 2nd thing it will get better. DS2 has very limited understanding but was able to get to grips with the whole behaviour consequence thing after a while.
the secret to consequences is that they have to be absoloutely the right one for your child and absoloutely instant.
With my DS I used to bodily move him to a corner and sit with him whilst ignoring him the whole time except to say clearly and emphaticly "NO".
the withdrawal of attention was hideous for him ( and pretty hard for me - but he got it.

I would suggest that at the moment you and the nursery need to find a punishment that works and a praise consequence that he loves.

Could you get some fav treats and then do sharing practice where he gets instant reward and huge praise for successful sharing? Once he has reacted negatively then you are stuck with just punishing IYSWIM

pagwatch Mon 09-Jun-08 14:15:10

ROLF at my spelling - sorry blush

MrsMattie Mon 09-Jun-08 14:24:19

Thanks so much for your reply, pagwatch.
We are trying the praise thing at the moment. Basically, the punishments don't seem to work and I am so sick of being negative about it that I am really trying to go with praising his good behaviour as much as possible. The difficult thing is that he is extremely bright and verbal, and seems outwardly to 'know' which behaviour is wrong and which is right - but I don't know if he does really know, or if he is just talking the talk. He is light years ahead of other children his age in terms of his verbal abilities (also very big for his age),but emotionally, he seems to be behind them - completely unable to control his emotions in any way at all. Finding a punishment that works is the really difficult thing! So far, we haven't found a single thing that works. Everything results in a monumental tantrum and he doesn't learna thing from any of it sad

What sort iof SN does your little one have?
I am loathe to label m,y son (nursery haven't said anything eitgher...yet?), but I can't help thinking sometimes that maybe ther eis something there...something more than just a wilfull little boy...

MrsMattie Mon 09-Jun-08 14:25:00

my typing is pants, sorry!

pagwatch Mon 09-Jun-08 14:34:33

He was diagnosed with ASD but actually I think it is more complicated than that . Isn't it always hmm

Have you thought about seeing a really good ed psych?
i only ask because people tend to mention them in the context of diagnosis and fighting the lEA but I was regerred to a guy specificly to help with DS2's explosive behaviour.
The guy I saw was working with kids who had hearing issues as inability to communicate effectively can cause a knock on effect with behaviour.
He just looked at what behaviours were a problem and devised strategies to help me help DS2.
It may be a way of getting some support for you without having to decide to follow any kind of SN investiagtions IYSWIM

The guy I used was working around London and home counties and saw DS2 here at my home and also in Euston

spooly Tue 10-Jun-08 16:29:11

Hi guys, my 3 year old boy is experiencing incredible anger problems at nursery and I have had many serious meetings about it.

Your situation sound so similar.!! He is also a great communicater, sociable and extremely stubborn!

have been looking into techniques of anger management and the pre school teacher wants to keep a diary but she talked of bringing in eductional counciller who will fill in a CAF form, which will give a record and I fear it may label him or affect school applications?!

I have read up on a turtle technique which teaches children to stop, go into shell, count to 3, relax, think nice thoughts and problem solve ( with help ) but it seems a little advanced.

My boy gets angry, hits out rants ( the severity of the anger in the words causing the main concern ) It is affecting other kids and the teacher is at her wits end.

We both agree his naughtiness/disobedience is normal and is slowly getting better: he will do time out and say sorry. But the anger/frustration seems to have no particular trigger and takes him by surprise.

I think I will have to see a therapist who will not fill out this CAF form.. I live in South London..any advice?

I have to say I do have the same temprement, so I can understand as well, but i rarely loose it with him and my anger did not manifest this young.

I am scared he will be labelled and oestricised.

Any techniques? recommendations.

Thanks and good luck

MrsMattie Wed 11-Jun-08 14:41:07

Hi there. Sorry I didn't reply to you both earlier - have intermittent internet access at the moment.

To be honest, I would love to have some help / strategies to deal with my sin's anger and aggressive behaviour, as we (my husband and I) and the nursery are running out of ideas! I am so wary of labelling him as 'difficult' at a young age, though, which is why I think we haven't gone down this route yet.

Interestingly spooly, I also had an explosive temper as a child and was extremely willfull, however, I mostly controlled it at nursery / school and was only like this at home. I am generally a short tempered person, but I alqways try to be gentle and fair aeround my son, so I am not sure whetehr he is picking all this up from me or what? Argh, it's all so daunting!

MrsMattie Wed 11-Jun-08 14:41:31

son, not sin!

newjerseychick Mon 07-Jul-08 13:27:48

Can I go AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr tooo

My 2.5 year old daughter has been biting at her nursery as well. She is normally a well behaved lovely bright girl. She loves babies ( real and toy) loves hugs kisses and is usually a great toddler. At nursery she bites ! different children all the time and for no apparent reason. The teachers watch her and nothing triggers it. We came to the conclusion that she was getting tired at end of the week as she decided to give up her lunchtime nap at this nursery. so we went doen to 2.5 days so she had a break in between this has worked for 2 weeks and today I was called to collect her as she bit again. She is not tired and nothing triggered it. We have the biting book and she even went to nursery saying I not bite today. we have used reward stickers so every day she doesn't bite she gets a sticker - 5 stcikers mean a trip to the farm etc

At home she doesn't do it ! It's impossible for me to discipline her if she doesn't do it at home.

I am at my wits end. I can't keep taking time off to collect her - and to me this seems more a reward than a punishment,the school seem to just be sending her home - we are now nearly in the summer break and so she'll get used to being at home and then it may all start again in Sept !

A parent has complained which is undertsnadable but i do get upset as surely most parents realise that a lot of children bite ?

SwissCheese Mon 07-Jul-08 15:01:44

My 2.10yr old DS doesn't bite but hits other children, generally in the face, and everything you ALL describe are the same or very similar with him. In fact I've just come away from playgroup 'parents chat' morning where I could have crawled under the table and wished the child she was talking about wasn't mine. DS apparently hit out at 6 different children today - normally just one or two, but that's bad enough. She was asking me why he does it? I wish I knew.

I sometimes wonder if he wants his own space and finds other children too invasive and I'm pretty sure there is an element where he likes to be in control. The reason I say this is because he is fine if he's happy, but the moment anything changes and he feels he has to adapt, he becomes either loud (shouting) or aggressive.

I am really worried as I've decided to send him to a really nice pre school in September and I am dreading how he'll behave there.

livismum Mon 07-Jul-08 15:07:35

My little girl is 3 1/2 we have been really lucky till now but all of sudden we have hands on her hips, stamping feet and bright red and screaming! Me and hubby just look on amazed where did this cross patch come from! The very second she doesnt get her own way she flips, she laughs at the naughty step and says she likes unhappy faces on her sticker chart! she is hitting out at us and it is soooooooooooo frustrating. it is like gekyl and hyde! again she is fairly bright for her age so i'm wondering if her brain is running away and waiting for her to catch up? So sorry no real ideas to help just wanted to show some support from another frusrated mummy xx

bear1234 Sun 07-Aug-11 13:21:52

I too am having the biting problem. Luckily the victim's parents and my child minder have been pretty decent, But it frustrates me as she is a lovely girl normally and does know it is naughty! Even worse she keeps going through stages when we think she has stopped and it suddenly comes back out of nowhere. She's too young for naughty step and we have tried making big fuss of the victim etc

I do think it might be related to her teeth. She has them all, but still does seem to go through stages of dribbling, red chin etc. Any of you seeing this?

bear1234 Sun 07-Aug-11 13:24:23

Ps newjerseychick think your nursery are being very unreasonable! Your child should not be getting excluded for biting!

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