Q:

My 4-year-old son frequently kicks and bites other children at preschool. What actions should we take to get this behavior to stop? -- Biter's Mom

A:

Usually, when children under the age of 2 have aggressive behavior, it is because they are trying to communicate their needs. However, older children, like your son, have never learned the appropriate nonaggressive way to express their needs when they are faced with a difficult situation. This aggressive behavior usually occurs when a child is exhausted, without adult supervision, unable to verbally express needs, or for self-defense.

Work with the teacher. Visit the classroom. Both of you should look for clues as to why this behavior is occurring. Perhaps some of these situations could be avoided. Also, if the same thing is happening at home, immediately remove him from the other child. Talk to him later about other ways to handle the situation. Playacting difficult situations could help him learn acceptable behavior.

You definitely need to stop your child's aggressive behavior before he enters kindergarten. Consulting with a behavior specialist at your school corporation might give you and the teacher ideas about ways to change his behavior, as well as the names of behavior specialists to work with him.