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My 3.5 year old just started pre-school and ...

he scratched and hit a kid today. He is not a violent child and this is like his second week. He has days where he is an angel and then days when he will throw something at the end of the day but today he did this and my dh picked him up and he is on a one week probation or will be expelled if there are any other incidents like this.

Did anyone deal with a situation like this. We are putting him in pre-school for the socialization factor the most. He is very smart and knows his ABCs, colors, shapes etc. We have him signed up for T-ball in the spring but thought he would benefit in preschool. Now, I am in a quandary. We do not have a lot of pre-schools by us and if he gets expelled, well, there are no other choices. We made him sit in time out when he got home and had a long talk with him that what he did was unacceptable. We made him promise he would not scratch or hit anyone again. I am just really nervous, he is not my first child but the first I have ever had an issue like this with.

Would love to hear your experiences.

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Asked by Anonymous at 1:06 PM on Feb. 24, 2011 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Answers (5)
  • If he's not used to being away from you he may be struggling while trying to adjust to not being with you constantly. If he does not usually act this way, I would talk to him about it. Ask him why he did it. Maybe the other child provoked him somehow.

    Answer by MamaStuart at 1:13 PM on Feb. 24, 2011

  • I agree with MamaStuart. he could be defending himself, whose to say the staff would know anything about it?

    if nothing else, he may just not be ready yet.

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:36 PM on Feb. 24, 2011

  • My experience: My daughter was in a similar situation. She is also three and started preschool in September. Before she started she was barely ever near any other children especially children her age. She enjoys other childrens company and tends to get to excited and would poke and hit other kids. She would go to time out and the teacher will speak to me and I would in turn speak to her about it at home. Eventually she stopped and learned to keep her hands to herself. They never threatened probation or expulsion at such a young age and her teachers understood that alot of kids go through that hitting and poking stage. I think you need to talk to the teacher and your child. My daughter like I said realizes to keep her hands to herself and is now proud to tell me when she comes home that she behaved and listened and no more time outs.

    Answer by KayGia0704 at 1:40 PM on Feb. 24, 2011

  • Aggression like this almost always has an underlying reason. ANYone in a position of authority usually catches the retaliation vs the initial act. I used to play, referee, assign and coach soccer and saw this all the time on the pitch.

    I would suggest getting another responsible person in there to observe what happens before the action. Very often this acting out is because a child does not have the verbal ability/capability to express what he's feeling so acts out physically.

    If you can, a shadow might be a useful tool. This shadow is an employee that follows your son around and helps him to voice his emotions BEFORE he hits/kicks/punches/bites/etc. Then, when the shadow sees Timmy take the toy away from Johnny the shadow can be Johnny's voice. "HEY! I was playing with that Timmy, Give it back!" That kind of thing.

    Answer by Rosehawk at 1:42 PM on Feb. 24, 2011

  • I'm surprised they're threatening expulsion after 1 incident. Most early childhood centers are fully aware children for thousands of years have hit, bit, scratched, pulled hair etc. because their emotions and language abilities do not match up. He could be nervous, frightened, excited, being picked on. Removing him from the program is not going to teach him how to properly and successfully deal with his emotions. Also, I don't know that I'd punish again at home. At 3.5 he's forgotten the incident by the time you guys pick him up, take him home, and talk about it. He can recall the incident if you provoke it with a conversation, but I'm sure the school punished him there, why does it need to continue at home? A conversation with you and dad yes, definitely needed. WHY is he scratching, this needs to be discovered. By NO ONE likes being punished twice for only 1 wrong doing.

    Answer by ba13ygrl1987 at 10:13 PM on Feb. 24, 2011

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