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Managing Aggressive Behaviors, is it Possible?

Before talking about how to manage aggressive behaviors let's talk about what behaviors are.

Behavior is one way a child can communicate with others. All behavior, good and bad is how preschoolers communicate and let others know what they need. When the child begins to demonstrate problem behaviors you need to be very proactive and address the problems before the behaviors get out of control.

One of the hardest things to do is figure out why your child is having problem behaviors. The behaviors are a symptom not the answer. Caregivers have to play detective in order to find out what is causing the aggression but most of the time they don't even know what the problems are, all they know is something is wrong in their world.

So what do preschool teachers do to manage these behaviors?
1. The first thing you can do is be sure the child is on a schedule. Not only to make things easier for you but also to manage anxiety he is feeling. Schedules provides the child the security of knowing what is going to happen each day at the same time. He is not going to like it because he is used to being the boss in the house.

2. Behaviors are going to increase drastically when boundaries are set and attempts to control behaviors are in place. He is going to pitch fits, refuse to stay in his bed, throw things, scream and cry. If he gets out of his bed silently put him back in his bed. You do not need to explain it to him. He knows he is not to sleep in the parent's bed anymore.

3. While working on the bedtime routine his behaviors are going to skyrocket. He is going to hit, bite, kick and scream. He is not going to like it but if you do not get him under control before he gets bigger, things are not going to go well for him.

4. There is a reason for his aggressive behaviors. Stay one-step ahead at all times. Have a plan ready so when you are in the middle of a battle you already know what steps you're going to take because you're going to want to throw your hands up and let him just do what he wants. It becomes very overwhelming when you are in the middle of battle.

5. Use time-out. I know that it does not look like it is going to work but if you will follow the steps you will see a difference. Here is an example: Your child hits someone on the playground. Teacher goes over to him where he had just thrown sand into one of the little girl's eyes. Scout out a place for time-out everywhere you go. When you get to him, you simply tell him "there is no hitting" take him to the time-out chair and sit him down. You say nothing else. When he trips to get up and run you catch him and tell him, "There is no running from me." Take him back to the chair. This may take a hundred times but be consistent and do not give into him. When his time out is over give him a hug and make him tell the other child he is sorry.

So what do you think his motivation is? He wanted it his way and you started making rules. The normal tactics you have used in the past aren't working so it makes him feel insecure. What he doesn't know is you're going to keep this up. This will work for home and school; you just have to train the staff.

Keep in mind that this is going to be an ongoing way of disciplining him. Most likely he is going to start with problem behaviors and when you do time out again he is going to increase the problem behavior. Teachers and parents need to be prepared that he is going to pitch one giant fit when he realizes everyone is working together and he has to follow the rules. Behaviors aren't going to change overnight but if you will keep doing as I am teaching you it will work. It may take a month or two to see the full impact of changing those problem behaviors. Not to mention as he grows things are going to change and you are going to have to figure out once again what the problems are.

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