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4 year old has started hitting and screaming at me. Not sure how best to handle it.

(13 Posts)
OlderNotWiser Tue 20-Sep-11 20:24:15

I have had her part time for about a year and she has been quite challenging for most of that time, tho has (had!) improved loads...but now she goes ballistic when challenged or asked to do something she doesnt want to do and will hit me. I use time out, but she screams and kicks the door, then eventually emerges with a scowl that would freeze your blood, and will kick off again soon after. She seems so angry. What can I do to help her (and me!)?

BoysAreLikeDogs Tue 20-Sep-11 20:39:55

what do the parents say? and what does your behaviour policy say?

do you have house rules?

sorry for a stream of qs !

OlderNotWiser Tue 20-Sep-11 20:46:08

Mum talks the talk but is inconsistent.
House rules dont actually state 'no hitting the childminder' but are otherwise 'no shouting, running, fighting' etc
Behaviour policy is about trying cajoling, then directing, then chastising (building up to time out) and then last resort, removal of rewards. Have to say, no idea what those rewards might be tho!!

BoysAreLikeDogs Tue 20-Sep-11 20:59:45


bottom line is:

do you want to continue caring for the child? consider the impact they are having on the other DC in the setting (seeing unacceptable behaviour, attention diverted to the child in question for eg) Will the child be moving on once they get to school age?

revamp your house rules to include something like no hitting anybody

issue parents with a copy of the behaviour policy, ask them to support you fully

now think about how you phrase requests, about giving her some responsibilities, the usual stuff we do to boost self-esteem and confidence. What do your obs show you wrt her interests? - are you weaving them into her day?

be back with more thoughts later

OlderNotWiser Tue 20-Sep-11 21:18:19

Tbh I know she is a nightmare at home, she has always been hardwork here too tho had improved hugely. I like her and the family but I dont know how to help. I suspect mum is strung out (v little support from her DH), they have a baby too, and I do wonder if life is one big screaming match. I like them and want to help. But I do find hitting utterly unacceptable, it really upsets me, and I dont know how to assert that.

Mum is supportive of what I say and do but tends to come to me for advice, she is quite unsure of herself.

i just hate being on the end of so much anger and aggression.

BoysAreLikeDogs Tue 20-Sep-11 21:37:18


okay, more thoughts - rewind your thinking a bit, imagine she is a two year old when you are close physically and be ready to take avoiding action immediately (parry the blow with your forearm, block with your body, that kind of thing) and remove yourself (put self into timeout)

obv praise praise praise where you can

hugs, it's not easy x

ChildrenAtHeart Wed 21-Sep-11 08:54:57

Other thing to consider is if there are any underlying issues. I had a 4yo who displayed similar behaviour and is now being assessed for Autistic Spectrum Disorder, probably Aspergers. She really couldn't deal with no, or any changes to her routine or expectations. She would become uncontrollably angry & hit others & later started self harming by pulling out her hair & banging her head against the wall. I would follow BALD's suggestions but at the same time review your observations of her to date & start keeping a diary of her outbursts including noting what occurred just before & what methods you used to diffuse the situation, to see if any pattern emerges. Does she attend any other setting? Would be worth comparing notes & working together.

thebody Wed 21-Sep-11 14:54:17

for my part as a cm i wouldnt tolerate this behaviour at all, what ever the cause she has to learn to control herself or where will it end.

i can deal with the usual bad behaviour between the children but absolutly off limits to hit me or anyone for that matter.

if mum isnt consistent and dad is a unsupportive twat(as sounds) then what can you hope to acheive here??

if this happened to me even ONCE i would put in time out, call mum and warn that if happens again i expect her to be picked up. then would give notice if continued, sorry have lots of lovely children in my setting and own dcs to consider.

dh wouldnt allow this either.

OlderNotWiser Wed 21-Sep-11 20:48:14

She is an angel at pre-school. I am pretty sure there is no underlying cause since the bad behaviour is with mum and me only. I had made loads of progress with her, I guess thats why Im as shocked as I am by the aggression lately.

thebody - my phrasing was bad - dad is ok, he just works all hours so I meant unsupportive in a practical sense.

I would like to ask that mum or dad collect if she hits me again, but both have jobs that cant be walked out on at short notice so practically thats hard to organise.

Feel a bit over a barrel since what sanctions do I actually have if time out isnt working?

NickNacks Wed 21-Sep-11 20:56:52

I have house rules which are phrased the other way, ie. they tell the behaviour that I DO want rather than focus on those behaviors I DON'T want.

Maybe try...

We keep our hands to ourselves.
We walk inside the house.
We use 'indoor' voices in the house. etc

Worth a try to get her in the frame of mind of what is expected of her.

Good luck!

thebody Wed 21-Sep-11 21:58:50

yes, get you but sorry , what job is more important than their daughters behaviour.. ??

are they so much more busy and important than you, definatly NOT

what about your own self worth as the adult here, what about your own dcs and mindees.

think you are a lovely and 'better than me' person but seriously this is not on.

ChildrenAtHeart Thu 22-Sep-11 09:52:12

So I would be thinking 'what's changed'? & definitely observing & recording what leads up to an incident & how it's resolved/what method of sanction you you. I dislike the term 'discipline' as I find it has rather Victorian connotations of caning etc even though I'm fully aware that in the true sense it means teaching. I too have positive behaviour statements in my house rules rather than a list of don'ts and I would be actively praising any 'good' behaviour. In particular I would look out for moments (however brief) where she does exercise self control & say things like 'well done, I could see that really annoyed you but you didn't get cross & you shared the toys' or whatever fits the occasion.
I would not be phoning the parent to collect or consider excluding at this stage but be trying to work with the family to find a solution - Mum sounds like she is struggling and needs some support, not to be told her daughter is uncontrollable & you don't want her. I would also be talking to the pre-school to see if she really is an angel there and how they organise their day - some children cope better with life at pre-school as many are still quite structured in their format & so the children feel more secure. I would also be asking what their behaviour policy is & if you can all 3 work together using the same methods.
I feel sorry for this little girl & I would not want to be considering damaging her giving the message of you are bad so I don't want you here or potentially rewarding her as she may be happy to get sent home!
I also don't agree with the idea of giving notice, not unless the other children or I were in serious danger of harm & I had exhausted all avenues of support for a child. IMO obviously & others will feel differently

MUM2BLESS Fri 23-Sep-11 19:35:43

i have dealt with a little one who use to bite, scream, hit etc. This usually happened when she did not get her own way.

It was really horrible to deal with. I had to let the parents know what was happening. At times I felt as though I was the parent. The little one was younger than four.

Its really really important, I cant stress it enough that you get the support of the parents in how you deal with this. Sometimes you find that you and the parent are not dealing with the situation in the same way.

I eventually had to let the parents know what was taking place over a period of time and that if this did not improve I would consider terminating the contract. things began to get better.

I had to be very firm and sometimes take the child away from the other kids to prevent further injury.

Talk to the parents about how you intend to deal with this. Is the child hitting the parents? if so how are they dealing with it.

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