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ESL forum > Ask for help > Not the best behaviour...    

Not the best behaviour...


Not the best behaviour...
Good morning teachers!
I would like to hear some comments about a complicated child īs behaviour.
This child is 4 years old and sometimes has critical moments as spitting on anybody, being violent, yelling...
She acts like that everytime she dislikes to do something we order to do or during the meals, when she hates the food.
This girl refuses to eat, meat, fish, rice , potatoes, vegetables. Basicly she eats sandwiches, soup and some fruit.
I īve talked about that with her mum, grandma and stepfather, but it wasn īt enough.
Her stepfather is violent with her mum, but the child is not aware of this and loves the man.
The child frequently sees a psychiatrist, according to mum īs statement and says that we should not insist on giving the girl the food she rejects.
Mum īs girl says she throws up the food if we insist on giving her too much, specially the meat, but on the other hand says that she likes MacDonald īs burgers.
What would you do if you had a case like this in your hands?
I īll appreciate to read all your answers.

28 Sep 2009      


Call Child Protective Services. The girl is being abused, if not physically, then mentally. Just because the setpfather is violent with the mother and not with her doesn īt mean she īs not suffering the effects of abuse. The parents are going to tell you anything just to get you off their backs. Call Child Protective Services.

28 Sep 2009     


Be careful with calling authorities. Putting a family who already has a lot to deal with through this sort of thing can break them and have awful consequences on the child. Sometimes with think we īre helping a family by calling Child Protection Services but in fact we īre making things worse.
I think the girl is spoiled and is used to getting her own way. Sounds to me like mom never forces her to do anything. My daughter used to throw up at bed time until I was firm and told her that it would have to stop. My pediatrician suggested I let her sit in her vomit unstead of feeling sorry for her. I let her cry and cry in her vomit for almost an hour (which would sound cruel to some) but after I cleaned her up (without getting angry and explaining to her that no matter what bed time is bed time) she went right to bed and bed time was never a problem again. She sleeps at 8:30 now!
This girl needs someone to show her that there are rules and they need to be obeyed. She īs taking advantage of her situation because she thinks you feel sorry for her. Well show her that you īre not impressed and that she īs just like everyone else and has to obey the rules. For meals, the rule is "you have to try it, if you don īt like it you don īt have to eat it" and obviously shouting and screaming is not necessary. she can just sit in her seat and wait for everyone else to finish eating. Congratulate her when she does it right and put her in a spot by herself if she doesn īt. If she doesn īt want to obey to table manners she will not have the priviledge of eating with others. Tell her you know that all this is difficult for her (she īs probably not got any rules at home) and tell her you īll remind her and help her become the good girl you know she is. Never raise your voice or show you īre angry with her, I īm sure she gets enough of that at home.
Unfortunately teaching children sometimes also means raising those whose parents are not doing it at home.
I wish you lots of luck and remember; this girl is a victim, she īs the child of parents who do not know how to parent.

28 Sep 2009     

United States

I agree that child protective services may need to be in order. Under what pretense do you know the father is abusing the mother? Did the mother tell you herself, or is it just gossip? If the mother told you herself, then the child may also be involved in some way.

However, on the other topic of eating food. I formerly worked in mental and behavioral health and it was certainly recommended never to force someone to do anything. Force never achieves the desired result, unless your result is simply that she eats meat at that very moment. Force will not produce long term results. You must teach the child why she should eat meat or whatever, and encourage positive associations with the food. She is only 4 years old and cannot recognize that a McDonald īs burger is made of the same meat as what is served elsewhere. This is also obviously a habit that has been allowed to exist for a long time at home, and if the parents won īt work with the child on producing positive associations with the food at home, it will be a difficult case to win at school. Why must she eat meat or the other foods anyway? Just let her go hungry if there are no other options and the parents don īt provide her meals. This of course would be a kind of negative reinforcement that she should consider eating the food if she īs really hungry. Missing one meal at school occassionally will not be a huge loss, but a truly concerned parent would provide alternatives if needed.

28 Sep 2009     


I think you should definitely call child services.  Children who are abused, often show extreme love and will to please the abuser.  Don īt be so sure that the stepfather is only abusing the mother.
Hugfrom Israel

28 Sep 2009     


speak to your colleagues about it don īt go it alone.  Without all the facts it īs difficult to make a value judgement here.  

You said "Her stepfather is violent with her mum, but the child is not aware of this and loves the man": the child probably does know, or at least is aware of something (if only: be violent = get results)

You must be firm but fair.  Establish very clear rules and consequences.  At the moment it sounds like she īs controlling the situation, and that needs to change.   If anyone has the answer to fussy kids post it, I īm sure many people would love to know.  

Remember "No" means no, at first it īs better to say "NO", don īt explain why just say "No", don īt get into an argument with her.  

Good luck, this kind of thing is why I now only teach adults.

28 Sep 2009     


This child is only 4 years old and sounds extremely disturbed to me with this violent behavior and problems with her eating disorder. She might only be able to express her fears and frustrations this way...don īt take anything that you feel is abnormal, lightly. My sister in Australia took a father to court as he was sexually abusing his daughter who was only 4 years old. And she won and the girl was taken away from her father.
Consult other teachers or anyone else you feel may be able to help you with this young girl.
Don īt give up on her.

28 Sep 2009     


Thank you so much for your appreciations.
The mum didn īt tell me directly what is going on and she īs not going to (probably).
One day she went to pick her child up and we could see she was hurt. She said that it was an accident. The day after, the girl īs gradma came up and told us that the stepdad was not aloud to take the girl anymore. Is this just a coincidence or what?
Me and my colleagues took our conclusions.
When he shows up at school he takes the girl and brings her younger sister with him, and he acts nice and sweet with both. But, sometimes, the worst criminals are like angels for the community they live in.
It īs like the Big Bad Wolf dressing up the sheep costume!!!!
About the eating disorder, I can īt just let her be hungry, because the parents will acuse our association of negligence (believe me). The parents must agree with this kind of therapy or we might get in trouble with Child Protective Services, the police in our career. You see, this problem might turn against us.
Without any proofs it īs impossible to do something.
Once again thank you.
My team will keep working on solving this girl īs problem.

28 Sep 2009