Causes of Aggression
Child A wants to play with a doll. Child B is holding the doll and won’t relinquish the toy. Child A remembers that just yesterday Child B took a rather long turn with another coveted toy. Perhaps Child B brushed against Child A when entering the classroom. Child A is combining these perceptions about Child B but does not have the words to express displeasure and frustration about Child’s B perceived attitude and behavior. Thus, Child A resorts to ripping the doll out of Child B’s hands and pushing the child out of the way.
Help Child A by offering the child the vocabulary needed to communicate anger, frustration and upset. Offer words for the child to express impatience at having to wait – two days in a row! – for a desired toy and being wronged (when the other child brushed against her/him) without receiving an apology.
When you are tired, hungry, wearing clothes that are too tight or battling a headache, the odds are good that you might snap at the person next to you, if the situation is right. The same holds true for preschoolers. They outgrow their clothes and shoes, daylight savings time might have upset their sleep rhythms, they might not have had a nutritious breakfast and they may be getting sick. Pushing a child, who is taking too long with using the potty, is a natural outcropping of this mounting physical discomfort.
Once again, offer the child words to use that help her/him express what is really bugging them. Go beyond verbal expressions of frustrations and keep extra clothes and nutritious snacks on hand. This kind of aggression needs to be “fixed" hands on, or you risk for a quick resurgence of the behavior. Seasoned preschool teachers usually ask parents to provide a couple of extra sets of clothes and keep pre-sliced apples and boxes of Apple Jacks handy.
Unstable home life
Even as there has never truly been a perfect nuclear family, societal changes in mores and acceptance of alternative family models has given rise to a number of parenting setups. For boys in particular, the absence of a male role model may cause the child to look up to other youngsters, who may be exhibiting aggressive tendencies when resolving conflict. In some cases, a child may act out what s/he sees modeled in the home; this may be a strong indication of domestic violence but without proof, there is little you can do.
Attempt to draw in the parents or caregivers and get a better sense of what is going on at home. It may be something as simple as inappropriate television shows or video games the child sees older siblings play. Then again, there may also be drug use, alcoholism or gang influences marring the home life. In this case you may need to clarify your position as a mandatory reporter with the preschool director and explore appropriate avenues of dealing with the situation.