Help! Behavior issues. Very long.

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  • 1 Post By inheritedcurls
  • 1 Post By RedCatWaves

Please help me or let me know if this is normal behavior.

Chas has taken to hitting and kicking his nanny. We lost our very experienced nanny in April...she brought her daughter with her that was Chas' age. We had her for a year and 1/2. Our next nanny was very young...with little experience...had her for 4 months. I could tell that she had trouble dealing with Chas...I never really felt like it was a good match but gave it the benefit out of the doubt just because our first one was so good..it was hard to compare.

We've had our 3rd Nanny for 4 weeks now. She is much older (31)...not much experience but gets her stepkids a month out of the year. The first week went great... then the second week he started in on her...he's been kicking and hitting. She finally broke down today and told me how bad it was...that 9-30 was her last day unless it got better. I had no idea...she hadn't told me what all was going on. I knew last week she was frusterated and I talked to her...she told me it was him hitting and kicking. She first thought it was just him testing her...she can't get him to sit in time out or anything.

We are at a loss..at times he can be so sweet and helpful..she even said this...plus adding that he is very intelligent. I'm not sure if he's just bored or needs other kids to play with? We held him back this year just because he hates change...if anything happens that upsets him...he does tend to not want to go back...so I thought one more year of social skills would help us...plus being on the border of 2 weeks before cut off. Hubby was young at school and hated it. He did start pre-k today...loved it. Teacher said he was perfectly behaved He will be going twice a week (now I wished we did 4 days instead of 2...but it's a lot of money on top of a nanny salary). Who knows...the newness might wear off...back to doing this?

We started a chart...worked great for one week...then it was if he didn't really care. I'm not sure if the prize at the end of the week was wrong...maybe I need another motivator?

Are we doing something wrong?...I feel like a horrible parent tonight. Writing this down helps...it's just so frusterating. I don't want him to think...if I hit or kick...that I can get what I want. (He lost all his favorite toys tonight.) After this...it's daycare...I don't feel like finding a new nanny again. I wanted to keep Addison home one more year...but it may not happen.

Thoughts, help? Experience with the same issues?
Sorry for the long post...really needed to vent.
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 313
I feel your pain; parenting is a rollercoaster. If you can't figure things out yourself, I strongly recommend seeing your pediatrician and/or a child psychologist - they will be able to help, rule out issues, or at least support your efforts. A few simple, clear, and firm rules; no-drama time outs; and loving positive reinforcement really helped me in the early days.

These were my fav books when my child was younger, in order of possible helpfulness for your situation:

When things are not going well, stopping bad behavior in a loving consistent way, how to do an effective time out (ineffective time outs make the situation worse):
Amazon.com: Parenting the Strong-Willed Child: The Clinically Proven Five-Week Program for Parents of Two- to Six-Year-Olds [Revised and Updated Edition] (9780071383011): Ph.D.,Rex Forehand, Ph.D.,Nicholas Long: Books

Developing good behavior:
Amazon.com: Positive Discipline (9780345487674): Jane Nelsen Ed.D.: Books
Amazon.com: Positive Discipline for Preschoolers: For Their Early Years--Raising Children Who are Responsible, Respectful, and Resourceful (Positive Discipline Library) (9780307341600): Jane Nelsen Ed.D., Cheryl Erwin, Roslyn Ann Duffy: Books

Improving relationships and getting a handle on emotions:
Amazon.com: Raising An Emotionally Intelligent Child The Heart of Parenting (9780684838656): Ph.D. John Gottman, Joan Declaire, Daniel Goleman: Books

Last edited by gecko; 09-08-2011 at 07:48 AM.
rainshower's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 6,000
how did the first nanny (the one who was good) handle your son's behaviorial problems? could you suggest to future nannies what has worked for your former nanny, and can you institute those same tactics so that he's getting the same discipline from all of his guardians?

what does your time-out consist of? because if it doesn't calm him down, resolve a problem, or enlighten him about his poor behavior, then maybe it's not an effective form of discipline that you should continue. i personally think that time out has been heralded as a one-size-fits-all form of discipline, when the reality is that many toddlers/children aren't intimidated by it and will not cooporate with it, making it a worthless tool.

you say that he doesn't like change. do you think that maybe shaking up the routines that he's accustomed to may get him used to change? for example, switching around the times that you'd normally do things during a typical day. or even not doing something at all that he's used to doing at a certain time. when he starts school, even though most classrooms are structured, there will still be times when the weather may prohibit outdoor recess (would he have a tantrum then?), or a school assembly may cancel the last class of the day (which may be his favorite class), or his teacher may be out sick and he'll have a substitute (will he act out on him/her?), or there may be inclement weather that will abbreviate or disrupt normal class scheduling (will he be able to cope with those subtle changes?).

when he has hit/kicked, do you just make him say "i'm sorry," to the person and that's it? are his apologies sincere or forced? if he were a young toddler, that would probably be all that you could do to immediately remedy the altercation. since he's school age, i think reminders about hitting/kicking/bad-touching is in order, especially since he'll soon be around other children and in a school system where (at least where i live) even kindergarteners can be suspended or even kicked out of a school for repeat inappropriate physical behavior.

do you have an age-appropriate story book about manners or about hitting or hurting others? maybe you could find one and make it a point to read it to him when he's not acting out and then remind him of the story when he acts out again and make reading that book to him part of the disciplinary action, while asking him questions about his behavior that correlates to the story.

good luck.
"Dogs stink too, but I like dog stink." ~ rileyb
how did the first nanny (the one who was good) handle your son's behaviorial problems? could you suggest to future nannies what has worked for your former nanny, and can you institute those same tactics so that he's getting the same discipline from all of his guardians?

The nanny was very experienced...she had 6 years of working daycare before coming to work for me. Plus she was his teacher at 12-18 months and in the 3 year old class. She found being a nanny very easy...going from 12 kids to 3 kids. He tested her once in awhile but he knew she would call his bluff or pull me in. We've never had this long ongoing...She did time-outs as well.

what does your time-out consist of? because if it doesn't calm him down, resolve a problem, or enlighten him about his poor behavior, then maybe it's not an effective form of discipline that you should continue. i personally think that time out has been heralded as a one-size-fits-all form of discipline, when the reality is that many toddlers/children aren't intimidated by it and will not cooporate with it, making it a worthless tool.

Timeouts consist of sitting legs crossed, hands in lap, no talking for 5 minutes (now that he's 5). I agree...it doesnt' work for everything...but a nanny it seems to work...

you say that he doesn't like change. do you think that maybe shaking up the routines that he's accustomed to may get him used to change? for example, switching around the times that you'd normally do things during a typical day. or even not doing something at all that he's used to doing at a certain time. when he starts school, even though most classrooms are structured, there will still be times when the weather may prohibit outdoor recess (would he have a tantrum then?), or a school assembly may cancel the last class of the day (which may be his favorite class), or his teacher may be out sick and he'll have a substitute (will he act out on him/her?), or there may be inclement weather that will abbreviate or disrupt normal class scheduling (will he be able to cope with those subtle changes?).

We do shake things up...not always do things go as normal...it's usually a big change now that causes issues...starting new school, new teacher...he's doing better. He doesn't really throw tantrum's...just lashes out by hitting or kicking.

when he has hit/kicked, do you just make him say "i'm sorry," to the person and that's it? are his apologies sincere or forced? if he were a young toddler, that would probably be all that you could do to immediately remedy the altercation. since he's school age, i think reminders about hitting/kicking/bad-touching is in order, especially since he'll soon be around other children and in a school system where (at least where i live) even kindergarteners can be suspended or even kicked out of a school for repeat inappropriate physical behavior.

I do make him say sorry...although sometimes I don't think it's sincere...not sure how to get past that. I remind him constantly about the "golden rule" treat others how you want to be treated. He doesn't do this really as much with kids....as he's doing this with his nanny. He does get mad at Addison once in awhile... Even on his way to pre-k...he said..I won't kick or hit my friends mom. He didn't. He was perfect.


do you have an age-appropriate story book about manners or about hitting or hurting others? maybe you could find one and make it a point to read it to him when he's not acting out and then remind him of the story when he acts out again and make reading that book to him part of the disciplinary action, while asking him questions about his behavior that correlates to the story.

No I probably need a book.
good luck.
Originally Posted by rainshower
Today was a little better. He did his timeouts but he did hit her once. She said she was being protective of Addison although all she did was doing was having Addison take off her panties put on her pull-up before nap and Addison was complaining.
JDeng likes this.
He's 4 or 5 years old, right? You haven't mentioned if this hitting/kicking is a new behavior for him. Is he violent with you or anyone else in the family? New violent behavior would definitely get my attention. I'd come down on him as a parent...hard...with a serious talking-to, time outs, loss of privileges, and just general "in trouble". At his age, he's old enough to understand if I mean business. If he doesn't respond to that, I'd probably look into medical/psychological assistance, because new, uncontrollable violence at 4 or 5 is quite concerning.
JDeng likes this.
He's 4 or 5 years old, right? You haven't mentioned if this hitting/kicking is a new behavior for him. Is he violent with you or anyone else in the family? New violent behavior would definitely get my attention. I'd come down on him as a parent...hard...with a serious talking-to, time outs, loss of privileges, and just general "in trouble". At his age, he's old enough to understand if I mean business. If he doesn't respond to that, I'd probably look into medical/psychological assistance, because new, uncontrollable violence at 4 or 5 is quite concerning.
Originally Posted by RedCatWaves
He just turned 5. It is a new behavior. He's not this way with everyone. I've done exactly as you described and it's getting better. I'm thinking(hope) it's just a way to react to something he doesn't like that is needing to be unlearned.

I also heard hubby the other day to grandpa...no play acting that they are kicking or hitting each other..so this way it doesn't get confused. I had no idea this was going on.
I also heard hubby the other day to grandpa...no play acting that they are kicking or hitting each other..so this way it doesn't get confused. I had no idea this was going on.
Originally Posted by inheritedcurls


Oh yeah, NIP that stuff in the bud immediately. Some kids do OK with separating semi-violent-types of play from reality. Some don't. My boys were the latter. They could not "get" that they weren't supposed to hit/kick everyone, so I didn't allow hitting/kicking at all.
glad things are getting better! just wanted to share that i went the therapy route when it came to behavioral issues with M. she seemed to respond well to going to grief counseling, so going to therapy for behavioral problems was something i was already open to. M had daily temper tantrums (lasting at least 30 minutes, sometimes multiple times a day) that i just couldn't deal with anymore. in therapy, she's working on identifying feelings and coping/calm down skills so that she can regulate her emotions and her responses to her emotions.

M loves going to her "meetings" and i'm starting to see some improvement.
My BIL has been going to therapy for the last 4 years for behavioral anger issues. It has been a lifesaver for the family. He's 18 now. Having a non-biased person to talk to can help immensely.
High Priestess JessMess, follower of the Goddess of the Coiling Way and Confiscator of Concoctions in the Order of the Curly Crusaders

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