Helping aggressive kids overcome violence

December 9th, 2008 - 2:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Toronto, Dec 9 (IANS) Kids fight to get back possession of their dolls or toy trucks in the hands of another - a scene not uncommon at households and daycare centres.Early childhood educators try to foster calm by encouraging kids to express their anger and frustration in more constructive ways.

“It’s really important to intervene early - before violent behaviour is too ingrained,” said Jacinthe Guevremont, who has started a programme at the Universite de Montreal daycare that aims to prevent developmental problems.

“Violent behavioural problems that persist in early childhood are good indicators of school drop-outs and future delinquency,” she added.

But he warned against labelling kids between the ages of four and five as aggressive or problematic children. “Giving a child a reputation as trouble-maker risks making him feel like that the rest of his life and unable to see himself as anything else.”

The programme she’s introduced at the daycare comprises a series of observation sessions of children that incorporate personalised strategies and approaches for helping those with behavioural difficulties, said a Montreal release.

“This has to be done as soon as the child is in daycare,” said Guevremont. “Once children enter school it’s often too late. They get labelled very quickly.”

Guevremont, who has worked with young children for close to 20 years, said: “Sometimes, we wrongly believe the child has behavioural problems, when in fact he or she suffers from other things, such as sensorial hypersensitivity.”

Such children, she says, can’t stand to be touched. Others are very sensitive about the texture of food in their mouths or noise.

Guevremont suggests that a sensitive child sitting at the head of the table during lunch can provide extra space and limit contact with others that could upset him.

“If children are raised in surroundings where they are supported, they learn to control their aggression and emotions and can become very sociable,” she says.

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