The Edmond Sun

Features

October 26, 2012

Adults keep cool, and cut biter no slack

BOSTON — Q: When my 3 1/2-year-old son misbehaves, I generally take things away from him and he generally responds well. One lingering problem is that he tends to react physically when he’s mad at a classmate instead of talking it out and letting the teachers intervene. We have all encouraged him to use words when he’s angry, but he doesn’t seem to get it. Today he bit a classmate (the second time in a year this has happened), and got sent home. Once home, I fed him lunch and then confined him for the rest of the day to his bedroom with books and some trains. From now on, I plan on sending him to school every day with a “behavior report card” on which I’ve listed the problems of hitting, not obeying his teachers, not sitting still during circle time, and taking toys away from other kids. I’m going to ask his teachers to give him a mark every time one of the problems occurs. If he misbehaves five times in a school day, then I will confine him to his room when he comes home and put him to bed early. Biting will override the list and get him sent home immediately. Comments?

A:
First, a “duh” statement: Boys are more aggressive than girls. Unfortunately, in most preschool settings these days, boys are being held to female standards of behavior. This is not to say that aggression in boys ought to be overlooked, but female teachers and mothers are more shocked by it than are males, including most dads. (But then, women are even more shocked when aggressive behavior comes from a girl.)

When the perpetrator in question is a 3-year-old boy, there is no apocalyptic significance to the sort of behavior you’re describing. Even occasional biting — which tends to provoke near-hysteria among preschool staff (and mothers of bitten children) — is not pathological at this age and does not predict later adjustment problems. In the previous sentence, however, “occasional” is the operative word.

Boys are also more impulsive than girls and language is not their natural problem-solving medium. Trying to persuade your son to “use words” when he’s angry is a laudable effort, to be sure, but you’re not likely to see much success with this approach for another year or two ... or three. This is another example of women expecting boys to be more like girls. As you’ve discovered, boys respond to concrete consequences. At much earlier ages, girls respond to words and are more successful at using them in social negotiations.

Your “Five Strikes, You’re Out!” plan is pretty much along the lines of the approach I generally recommend in situations of this sort. I would only add in 10 minutes of time-out when one of the target misbehaviors occurs. Taking him out of the group for that period of time will give him an opportunity to calm down and “reset.” It will also strengthen the “Don’t!” message. And yes, if he bites, his teachers should remove him from the group, call you, and keep him isolated until you arrive to take him home.

In the final analysis, the success of this plan hinges on everyone keeping their cool and cutting him no slack.

FAMILY psychologist John Rosemond answers parents’ questions on his website at www.rosemond.com.

1
Text Only
Features
  • peach formatted.jpg Hard year for peaches doesn’t dampen summer tradition  

    A rusting, silver-colored water tower tells visitors to this rural town between Muskogee and Tulsa that they’ve come to the “Peach Capitol of Oklahoma.”
    Residents of Stratford, the state’s other self-proclaimed peach capital, might beg to differ. Even so, Porter is known for its peaches, and every year thousands of people flood this town of about 600 residents to taste and celebrate the local crop during the three-day Peach Festival.
    Like the aging water tower, Porter’s peach industry isn’t as vibrant as it once was.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Final step to train toddler with baby on way

    Q: Using your advice, I successfully toilet-trained my daughter by age 16 months. It is now three months later and we are still using diapers at naps and nighttime. At her nap, which lasts several hours, she fully soaks her diaper. At night, she is taking off her diaper prior to falling asleep, wetting the bed after she goes to sleep and then crying for us when she wakes up in a pool of pee. Is this a sign that I should begin night training? I'm hesitant to do this because I am 8 months pregnant and don't relish the idea of waking up several times a night to take her to the bathroom and tending to a newborn as well. I would prefer to continue using diapers until she is old enough to get out of bed and take herself to the potty (even a potty in her room). Is this unrealistic? Or should I just deal with the extra night wakings and start taking her to the potty a few times a night now? If not, how do I keep her diaper on at night?

    July 25, 2014

  • Living Smart: How landscaping can deter intruders, pests

    Done right, landscaping can do much more than attract compliments and boost your property value. It can help you repel intruders, both human and natural.
    Landscaping experts who’ve earned high marks from Angie’s List members say overgrown bushes and shrubs are like welcome mats to burglars. Keep plants and trees trimmed. Place thorny but attractive bougainvillea or barberry bushes under windows, sending would-be thieves a sharp message to go elsewhere.

    July 25, 2014

  • 7-26 YARD OF THE WEEK.jpg Ganns earn Yard of the Week honors

    This week’s “Edmond Yard of the Week” winner has been in existence for 44 years at 105 Barbara Drive, but looks fresh and new thanks to longtime residents Betty and Gordon Gann as they fill their garden spaces to overflowing with colors and textures.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Discard the boredom of family game night

    We’re all about families having fun together, and game night is one of the best ways to do that. But playing the same games over and over can get a little stale. So in the interests of injecting a little more fun into your family’s game night, here are some great choices that will keep you and yours engaged and laughing.

    July 25, 2014

  • What’s normal age for voice change?

    Q: When is it normal for a boy’s voice to change? My son is 10, and his voice is getting deeper every day.
    A.: “It’s a very variable process,” says pediatrician Bonnie Miller, associate director of general pediatrics at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y.. “Puberty will begin as early as age 9. Generally with the advent of puberty, the voice box changes.”

    July 25, 2014

  • IMG_2996.JPG Krazy Daze hits downtown Edmond

    Newly transplanted Edmond residents Hannah Brenning, Cheyenne Middle School 8th grader; Jordan Brenning, Cross Timbers 4th grader; and Sydney Brenning, North High School freshman; check out the items in front of Sterling's in downtown Edmond during the Krazy Daze Sale lasting through Saturday. Businesses will open their doors at 10 a.m. and close at 5:30 p.m.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Living history presented at metropolitan libraries

    Hear stories of pace setting women in different eras throughout history. Biographies of Wild West trailblazers, The Harvey Girls, WWII assembly line champion-Rosie the Riveter, mail order bride Mary Elizabeth Walker, and Oklahoma society lady Stella Louise Wilson-Johnson will be reenacted by gifted and prolific storyteller Barbara Byrd.
    Stella Louise Wilson-Johnson was the wife of a prominent Guthrie attorney who shares her experiences and adventures during the early days of Oklahoma statehood. Her presentation will be at 7 p.m. Monday, July 28, Edmond Library, 10 S. Boulevard. For more information, visit www.metrolibrary.org

    July 25, 2014

  • Preparing for a fall home garden

    Gardening can be a year-around activity for those that have an appreciation for fresh and nutritious vegetables. Some of the best vegetables in Oklahoma are produced and harvested during the cooler weather of fall. Successful fall gardens, however, require some work in the summer growing season. Factors to be considered are location, soil preparation, crops to be grown and how/when to plant.  
    The major consideration for garden placement is sunlight. All vegetables require some sunlight; the most popular vegetables require full sun. “Full” sun means at least 8 hours of intense, direct exposure.

    July 24, 2014

  • Fall gardening season has arrived

    Even though the temperature is hot and there are still summer vacations on the calendar, it is time to start thinking about planting your fall garden.
    Most Oklahoma gardeners are still reaping the rewards of their spring gardens, said David Hillock, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension consumer horticulturist, but it is not too early to plan for fall gardening crops.

    July 23, 2014