Monday, September 21, 2009

Agression Problems

I got a phone call from Zack's Daycare on Friday. Apparently Zack is acting out at daycare. He is hitting and kicking and on Friday pulled another kid down by their hair.

I am completely perplexed by this. He has no aggression towards me at all when he is at home. Even if I pick him up to carry him to the corner or to his bed he can be screaming away but he does not hit or kick me.

As far as I can tell this just started happening in the last couple of weeks and nothing in his routine or diet has changed in the last two - three weeks.

So when she called on Friday I immediately was concerned that he was acting out because of some of the things he has seen in the past. About two weeks ago he came home and told me that daddy yelled at him and he seemed shook up about it so I don't now if that triggered a memory or not.

This is my first two year old, obviously, so I have no idea if this is a normal stage or if he is above and beyond and we need further help. As of right now DHS bumped down Jake's visit to 4 hours this weekend and they have had me make and appointment with a child psychologist to see if play therapy will help him.

And right now... I'm just confused. I don't want to over react if it is just a normal two year old stage but at the same time I don't want to under react if it is something else that is truly bothering him.

Have any of you had kids that have acted out? If so how did you deal with it? Was it a specific incident they were acting out because of or just because it was a stage they were going through?


darkship said...

It's a stage. All kids will act out. Now if it continues for months (years) then maybe you should be more concerned. Mine doesn't to this day like any arguing and can get pretty upset by yelling, either at him or at someone else. I would say let him know that this isn't the "nice" thing to do and come up eith a small punishment for doing that and the problem should fix itself.

Jennifer B. said...

Totally. Normal.

That said it doesn't mean to ignore it.

My kids were both the victim and perpatrator of agression during the ages of 2-3.

I can tell you it is far worse to be the parent of the agressor, thouhg :-) At least if your kid is the victim you get to be indignant and get sympathy!

Actually, if I'm recalling correctly there was a time in the past when a kid was hurting Zack at daycare?

Of course, just because it is normal doesn't mean you should ignore it. Open communication with the teachers and brainstorming ideas is the best approach in my opinion.

The teachers, once they become aware of a child who is showing some agressive behaviors, can keep a little more keen eye on that child's interactions with others and head off any physicality by helping them learn other skills for expressing frustration. And if he does hurt they should know some of the other skills such as paying attention to the injured child vs. focusing on the perpatrator.

You're doing great!

Alison said...

I hate to say this - but it's a stage... a sucky one but a stage! Avi is going through this now. He did 6 weeks of preschool and all was fine. Then he had a "summer" break and went back to a new class of kids... well one hit him/kicked him etc for the first few weeks... and of course my nice calm kid has picked that up and is now doing it in return - UGGGGG

And in his school they don't tell us because ITs A STAGE (or that's what they tell me)... UGGGG they feel if you make a big deal over it that gives more attention - so they deal with it in the classroom and it's done.

So now when I pick him up I ask the teacher in front of him so I at least know what's going on.

Anyway - you are doing great.... it's just 2/3 year olds... uggg I hear this parenting stuff doesn't get any easier as they get older... uggg


Lynanne said...

All my boys went through an aggressive stage right around 2-3 or so. I think it's because they are transitioning from the simple emotions of infancy and toddlerhood to the more complex emotions of childhood. Whether they are frustrated because they can't communicate these emotions with words in the heat of the moment, or they have figured out that bopping their playmate is a faster way to get their message across, who knows.

Whether it is "normal" or not, talking with a child psychologist can help set your mind at ease, give you suggestions for dealing with the behaviors and ideas for what to look for in case it is something more. It's a good thing that you and the teachers are being vigilant.

Aunt Becky said...

Seems normal to me. They can't communicate so they act out, but hey, I don't know. My own kids are driving me insane currently, so there's that.

lonna said...

Dermot was extremely aggressive. I have a scar from where he bit me at about 24 months. He started throwing things at 16 months, and he had great aim. He was biting in daycare at 2, and he was still considered "handsy" when he left preschool to go to kindergarten. Dermot also had a really good vocabulary. His problem wasn't having the words or not having the words. His problem is due to his perfectionism. He gets really frustrated when he can't do things perfectly the first time. He also doesn't understand why other kids can't read his mind and do things his way. As his mother, I was shocked. He had never been exposed to any of that. In fact, I was extremely careful not to expose him to violence until he was older. It completely came from within. If it helps, he has mostly grown out of it. It took a lot of time outs on our part for him to realize that we were serious, but I also think that just time did a lot of the work. Hopefully, the psychologist will have some more specific ideas for you.

DD said...

It actually probably is a bit of a stage AND his emotional response to what's been going on at home since he has no other way to communicate it.

Help him find his words when he's frustrated or sad and eventually he'll use them instead of his hands.

Wolvers said...

Working with young children, sometimes they act out more in situations like yours where they only see one parent for limited amounts of time. I'm not sure what it is, but I see it a lot. You can try the psycologist, but they have such a growing number of high needs these days, they will be just like the doctor visit you pay hundreds of dollars for to see the Dr. for 5 minutes with a list of things to try at home, but no real answers. If he's good at drawing, you could have him draw pictures and talk about them-often brings out true feelings. Social stories are also good for teaching to use words instead of hitting. There are a couple websites with prescripted stories I could send you if you'd like. Just keep being tough loving and consistant and that will help you get to the bottom of it.