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Mbeckwith
Mbeckwith asks:
Q:

Help with an out of control 2 1/2 year old; bullying?

I'm working with a 2 1/2 year old little girl who beats up, hits, and pushes down and other children in the classroom.(she is almost the smallest) She usually hurts the same child more often, but does hit, throw toys and takes toys and spits on other children. I've tried redirection but her fits, and tantrums are so out of hand that she hits her self, others kicks, screams, spits! They usually last between 3 and 7 minutes. Sometimes I see her actions as a cry for negative attention. When I'm reading stories she will scream and yell louder then me and dance around all happily until I say something. It seems like she wants my attention but when I give it to her she wont sit back down and refuses to do anything. I just don't know what to do. And I am not getting any help from her parents. I just need a plan :/
In Topics: Bullying and teasing, Children and stress, Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Boys Town National Hotline
Jan 24, 2012
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What the Expert Says:

The specific reasons behind bullying are limitless. Chances are, for this little girl, is that she may not be getting her basic, emotional needs met at home and her verbal skills are not yet matured enough to show her frustrations. Her constant need for attention, positive or negative, is a direct result of her behavior.

We would suggest teaching some skills that reinforce appropriate behavior.  Sending a note home with all parents to let them know you are working on this at daycare will hopefully spark them to try it at home. You could make this a whole class activity.  This way you get everybody involved and it can be a win-win situation.

Remember that you are working with younger children so these skills will have to be introduced one at a time and practiced constantly.  You may have to simplify them to fit your environment.  One way to practice these skills with younger children would be to make a game out of it.  Playing "Simon Says" is a great way to introduce these skills and practice them on a regular basis.

We suggest using three simple steps to teach these skills;
1.)  Describe the positive behavior you want your child to do.
Be clear and specific with your expectations.
"When I ask you to stop playing I want you to stop what you are doing and look at me.

  1.  Look at the person who is talking to you.
  2.  Say "okay".
  3.  Do the task immediately.
  4.  Let us know when you are finished  

2.)  Give a reason.  Make it a kid reason, one that shows the benefit to her.
"If you can do the task like that without getting upset, you can get back to what you were doing or we can do something else that is fun.

3.)  Practice what you just taught her to do.
" Now lets try that.  Please pick up that book. Show me what you are going to do when you hear me ask.   Use those three steps we just talked about.

When playing "Simon Says" you would obviously introduce one skill at a time such as , "Simon says sit down...simon says put your listening ears on (teach them to act like they are putting their ears on).  Make it simple and fun and praise them throughout the game.
 
After you all practice praise them for the practice and practice frequently.  Make it fun and keep it brief. You can use the three steps to teach other social skills as well including teaching them to stay calm when they start to get upset.

As for the aggressive behavior, keep trying to redirect.  When you notice she is getting aggressive or going to spit or hurt someone, stop her immediately.  Give her a verbal command such as "Not Nice" and make her step away from the action, and sit with hand on her lap and practice counting up to 10.  Do this everytime you catch her engaging in this behavior.

We hope this helps.  If you have any further questions or need some more detailed suggestions, please don't hesitate to give us a call and talk with one of our counselors.  We are here 24/7.

Sincerely,
Naina, counselor
Boys Town National Hotline
1-800-448-3000

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Additional Answers (4)

HelpfulBritt
HelpfulBritt writes:
First of all, a 2 and 1/2 year old bullying is probably because she is feeling lonely and alone and the only thing she feels is right would be screaming and yelling and making kids feel exactly the way she feels. I think the best way to stop this would be to make her feel asthough when she does this you're not going to pay any attention. The reason she is doing this is probably because she seeks attention. If you just say '(Daughter's name), I'm not going to pay attention to you if you act this way.' then you can jsut set her down in her crib or something like that and wait until she stops crying before you step near her again. Notify the teacher of her behavior and tell her that she needs to just put the girl in a different room or send her out of class until she is gonig to behave better. With this plan, I'm sure you're be able to get her acting nice and polite in no time!
> 60 days ago

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PositivelyMe
PositivelyMe , Teacher, Parent writes:
As you mentioned, you're not getting any help from her parents. A child that acts this way is a child left to her own devices. Sounds like the parents are not parenting, they are simply raising a human being, and a bad one at that. Is a counseling period with the parents a possibility? If you can visit the family in their home, you will probably find out exactly why she acts the way she does. Pay a visit to bring them a special toy for their daughter (inexpensive - a $3.00 stuffed animal). Chat. Be honest about her actions. Check out their response. If they admit to being exasperated also, then they haven't a clue on how to be consistent, or how to discipline. Help them. I think you do have a clue, and I think you can be assertive. This girl's future may depend upon you.
> 60 days ago

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damonc
damonc writes:
Maybe motivation like a special reward for her good behavior such as appointing her assistant to the story (turning pages, explaining pictures, etc.) contengent on her good behavior.  With children that the young it's hard to figure out definate patterns because the stay in the moment so often.

I'd continue to solicit help from the parents too because depending on what she get's away with at home often reflects her expectations.  

Has seperation from the group been explored or is it even possible.

If she is having tantrums the link below discussed the science of them.

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ChiefLaughALot
ChiefLaughA... writes:
Really? The kid is 2 1/2...maybe there is something else going on. I don't think 2 1/2 year olds are manipulative enough to be labeled as "bullies"...aspergers? Especially given the descrpition of the tantrums
> 60 days ago

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