Saturday, November 10, 2012

My 3 year old is having territorial issues

Dear Kay,

I have a 3 yr old boy who just started school. He is my only child. I was just asked to stay in school with him because he has "territorial issues" He hits kids that try and take toys from him. He always wants to sit in the same seat in class. When they go to the bathroom and they sit outside of the door he has to sit in the same spot. He's great one on one but in a group setting he's not. He loves routine. He just came out of a routine. He always wanted to wear red. For the summer he had allot of red shirts.

I put him in school so he can be with others and learn to share but it looks like it's not working and now I have to stay in class and stop him from hitting. This is so hard on me emotionally What can I do to help? I hate crying everyday when I get home. Am I doing anything wrong? That's what I'm thinking and that's why it's hard on me.

He was also in a gym type class for over a year and about 8 months ago I took him out cause he got too rough for the other kids, teachers and me. I had an argument with another mom cause she said if I was a better mom he wouldn't act this way. Now this mom and her adopted daughter is in the same nursery class as my son. They live over 3 miles away, they shouldn't be in this class. Thankfully the mom didn't recognize me or my son. I'm afraid my son will hit her daughter and then remember us, she'll tell the other mom's and teachers and my son will be blacklisted.


Dear Sofia:

Okay first of all this is not about YOU. You need to stop the crying and beating up on yourself. Your child is having a problem and you are too focused on yourself. Right now and forever, hear this, it does not matter what other people think of your parenting! STOP IT.

NOW, let's get focused upon your son and his hitting. I understand he is an only child however, where has he learned that hitting will get him what he wants? Does someone hit him when he doesn't do what they want? Has he played with other children who hit?

He needs to get the message that hitting is not the way to go and the best way to get this across is to teach him to use his big boy words.

I suggest getting children's books which focus upon appropriate social behaviors. I also suggest getting books and games which will teach him how to identify his feelings and what words will help him to express his feelings. This child is hitting because he is AFRAID. Children act out what they cannot express. Whether he is fearful of the other children or of not getting all the attention is not the point, he is feeling fear!

You will not be able to turn this around in one day so expect it will take some time and let everyone know that you are working on it and appreciate their patience and support. If you think you cannot do this alone then by all means get him and you into some family counseling with a counselor who specializes in children ages 0-5.

Best Wishes!

M Kay Keller

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