Behavior modification in Abused children

Nurses General Nursing


I need some advice, a friend of mine is a pre-school teacher and has a little boy in her care at the moment that needs help. This little boy has a father that abuses his mother, a mother that is determined to keep her "family" together(as long as he's not abusing the boy) and refuses to accept that there might be something wrong with her son.

The biggest problem is the little boy is unusually agressive towards other children. This teacher has successfully taught ADHD kids with amazing results, to see her at her wits end is so, well, weird! This kid hits and punches others for being in his way, he pulls hair, he throws things at other kids and every behaviour management technique she has tried doesn't seem to make any difference. I was wondering if any of you guys know any techniques that might make a difference to this kid? Please?

Specializes in Community Health Nurse.
Originally posted by Aussienurse2

I need some advice............... I was wondering if any of you guys know any techniques that might make a difference to this kid? Please?

When he is acting out...he is really saying "Nobody loves me, and nobody cares about me!"

Each time he acts out.....tell your friend to hold him on her lap with a very warm SNUG...NOT TIGHT...SNUG...embrace while she whispers in his ear "(Child's name), I love you. No one is going to hurt you when you are with me." Then, rock him back and forth while humming or singing a song to him.

She may have to do this over and over again for an entire day or two.....but eventually, he will respond to this tx vs. the "behavior modification" tx. Why? Because if a child doesn't feel loved....he/she will NEED that gap in their innerself filled before any behavior modification plan will take effect. That would be "Step Two"...AFTER "Step One" has been successfully accomplished. HEALTHY LOVE to an abused child is like food to a child who is physically starving. I will be praying for them both, and the child's parents. :kiss

Dear Renee,

please don't get the wrong idea, but do i have this straight?

the kid hits someone and then you want the teacher to hug the hitter??

Doesn't that give the hitter the message that, in order to get a hug, he has to hit someone???

or did i miss something somewhere?

Since we are talking preschool, Renee's solution may work, even though this does seem like it's rewarding bad behavior. This kid wants ANY attention, good or bad. Might as well make it good attention so preschool at least feels safer than home.

However, family therapy is needed fast! (I know this doesn't help your friend. I also know they probably won't go.) Otherwise this kid is well on his way to being diagnosed with conduct disorder or oppositional defiant disorder in a few years.

Perhaps if she presented it to the mom that he is not going to do well in kindergarten if this continues, then mom might listen.

PS any child he hurts should get a quick hug FIRST.

Specializes in correctional, psych, ICU, CCU, ER.

In California, she would have to call Child Protective Services, let them figure out if Mom is being smacked, and the kid is witnessing it. I don't know, in this day and age about telling a kid you loved them. Might be misunderstood by the crazies.

Good luck

Specializes in Med/Surg/Ortho/HH/Radiology-Now Retired.

G'day mate....

Children learn what they live & it sounds as if this little tacker is witnessing Mum being abused at home! His behaviour is consistent with feeling

deprived of stability & security, love & POSITIVE

role models. It also demonstrates his anger, frustration, helplessness & fears. Has the teacher reported his behaviour to the authorities as she's supposed to do? If she's aware of the fact that abuse is happening in the home & this little tacker is witness to it ( as is indicated by his behaviour), then she has a legal responsibility to report the abuse to family srvices. What Renee has suggested also gets my backing, as does gentle, firm guidance. Good luck.



Oh This kid is in some trouble, watched him today with his parents at a B-B-Q at pre-school. He just sat off to one side away from the kids and did the rocking thing, youknow, back and forth. I'm beginning to think Autism? He exhibits a lot of S&S. We tried to have a chat with the mother but she is sooo not interested in getting him tested. There's something wrong with all of us it's not her kid all that jazz. If we called in the Soc. guys she'd probably do a runner assuming they would acually show up of course:rolleyes:

It is hard because my friend is spening a lot of her time with him and without him being assessed she can't get extra funding to get in another TA. Not much on the 'net either. thanks guys, will keep on trying.

I have an excellant book that I'll give you the title to as soon as the wife wakes up (That woman is ALWAYS putting things away).

We bought it when we adopted our 8 year old and works on all sorts of behaviors.

remind me if I forget.


Specializes in ER, ICU, L&D, OR.

howdy yall

from deep in the heat of texas

My wife teaches behaviour management. There are a lot of issues to deal with here. Not just the child but the family and enviroment as well.

Neither my wife or I believe in drugging all the kids that is so prevalent in attitudes today.

doo wah ditty

Specializes in Community Health Nurse. is this little tyke doing now? Have been thinking about him and his family well as praying for them to seek therapy. I still believe that the reason a child acts out is because there is dysfunction going on in the family unit, and the parents are the ones who need to be "cured" if a change is to be noted or expected in any children in that type of an environment.

Sleepyeyes...yes....hug the hitter...just like Jesus hugs us when we are acting like "the hitter" in many ways as adults. :kiss :)

Specializes in Community, Renal, OR.


Does your friend have access through the education system to an educational psychologist that she can call in for consultation?

Would that be a help for her, and his family?


She ended up going over the principals head( HER attitude was close your eyes and cope!!) Got in consults from DSS and is in the process of removing him from the parents. Thank goodness! Cheerfulldoer I think you prayer might have given my friend the courage to do what needed to be done, thankyou.:kiss

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