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Animal Cruelty by 5 year old

Z

ZigZagJon

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Jun 24, 2008
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This REALLY is a "I have a friend that has a problem ..." story

Last night I was talking to a barmaid at the local pub. She confided in me that she caught her 5 year old son torturing there pet kitten. The child had "Done something really nasty to the cats eye!"

The conversation went on and she told me that this was not an isolated incident and is obviously very concerned for her other two young children

My initial advice was that you really must keep an eye on this kid until I can find some sort of help

I then told her that she must rehome the cat right away (after taking it to the vet - which she said she was going to do today - I will find out later today)


Advice please
 
Z

ZigZagJon

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Sorry, my fault, I wasn't very clear on what I was asking for

Both the mother and I recognise that this is not 'normal' behaviour by any stretch of the imagination

Clearly, this sort of behaviour has to be dealt with as soon as possible

I told her that I would try to find some sort of help for her (although I really don't want to get involved too much)

I personally don't have a clue how you start to deal with a problem like this - do you contact Social Services, does she talk to her doctor, etc....

So I was hoping that someone may be able to point me in the direction of some help for this lady and her kid

thanx
 
D

Dollit

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The GP would be the starting point - the things that they would need to know is whether the behaviour is recent, have there been any changes in the household recently (an recent can mean a reasonable length of time, not just a week or month or so). Tell your friend to ask for a referral to a child psychologist but waiting times can be quite considerable.
 
Z

ZigZagJon

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Thanks. I will discuss this with her and take it from there
 
Q

quality factor

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Hi,
As an ex primary school teacher, it may be a good idea to find out how the child behaves in school, so you may be able to get an overall picture concerning his behaviour patterns with his peer group.
 
Ashami

Ashami

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My thoughts on this situation are that to some degree, little boys have an innate instinct to do this sort of thing. Where it comes from I don't know but I remember my nephew confessing that when he was younger he would pour salt into the shells of snails. He's a lovely young man now who would not hurt a fly.

My own four year old son suffocated one of his mice recently, not to deliberately kill it mind, it was more an accident due to his lack of understanding and me taking my eye off the ball.

And I also recently heard of a three year old in my neighbourhood who killed a pet rabbit by throwing it repeatedly over the garden fence.

My first instinct is to teach the child that it is wrong using positive discipline. I'm not sure a child automatically needs a child psychologist because of a one-off incident like this but if this sort of behaviour is repeated, and repeated, then perhaps would be the time to take it further.
 
Q

quality factor

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I wouldn't necessarily judge that boys are akin to this type of behaviour. It is an age old stereotypye that boys pull the wings off insects and the like, often to be found in old books and comics. Girls are just as capable of what may be termed as an element of violence.
If this child is behaving in an abnormal way at home then there is a good chance that something may be amiss at school which may be contributing to it, or indeed the child may be showing signs of worrying behavioural characteristics in the classroom/playground.
Obviously as Dollitt remarked the GP, could be an initial option if it is distressing the parent so much. Approaching a child psychologist is a little bit further down the line.
Of course discipline is an all important part of a childs up bringing, but we all know that the level of discipline in the home does not contribute to the whole make-up of a youngster, children and young adults are exposed to many kinds of behaviour types in the world which may influence their behaviour.
The more eveidence that this parent can present to the GP the more likelihood there is that the situation may need investigating.
It could just be part of the growing up process.
 
J

jokker

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What is the big picture i know a guy who killed a frog with axe.
 
Ashami

Ashami

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I wouldn't necessarily judge that boys are akin to this type of behaviour. It is an age old stereotypye that boys pull the wings off insects and the like, often to be found in old books and comics.
Who said girls weren't capable of violence?

The stereotyping I picked up from books and comics long gave way to real live experience. My experience of the difference between boys and girls is borne of observation and awareness. There IS a difference, males are more prone to aggressive behaviour because of their makeup. This has been proven throughout history by real live events, not books and comics.

We are all capable of violence. In my 'book' no violence is acceptable. But does the act of violence necessarily equate to 'abnormal behaviour'?
 
KP1

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I think it is important not to over react. It needs to be explainned very carefully to this young child what he has done wrong.He is very young and it will take time for him to understand it does not mean he is pyschologically disturbed unless ther is a lot of other stuff going on as well. Give him support and claer boundries.
Kp
 
Q

quality factor

Guest
Hi,
What we are getting down to here is what is and is not acceptable behaviour. As children grow they are exposed to all sorts of behaviour types. One has only got to observe the content of video games that are labelled aged 3+ on Nintendo DS games for example.
At the end of the day it is parental control and influences from nursery group/school play that MAY trigger off certain types of actions.
Children of a young age can only develop by things that they are exposed to, one only has to observe them 'at play', it can be very revealing.
I agree with KP1, children need firm guidelines, love and support.
 
Ashami

Ashami

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I entirely agree with you quality, and an incident has just occurred in my own life that has highlighted this very question of what is, and is not, acceptable behaviour.

Sorry to lead away from the 'animal cruelty' theme here but this incident does make reference to child behaviour, and appropriate reaction.

My four year old son has a 32 year old brother. Let's call them Bill (4) and Ben (32) for clarity.

Two days ago Bill was left in Ben's care. The following day I discovered a nasty bruise on Bill's chest and later established that Ben had inflicted this bruise as punishment for Bill's behaviour. Bill had been playing with Ben, and pinched him on the chest. Bill, when he get's overexcited, can get rough but is soon tempered with time-out on the naughty step.

However, I was concerned when I saw what Ben had done to Bill and approached Ben. I said that leaving marks on my son was unacceptable not only to me but to the law, but Ben said that Bill deserved what he got and Ben would not hesitate to wallop him when he thought it necessary as he was under-disciplined. According to him, corporal punishment which inflicted pain and injury was acceptable behaviour because my son had caused pain and injury.

My partner, although agreeing that causing such a nasty bruise was wrong, stated that Bill had learn't a lesson from it that time-out could not teach.

Now I gotta get this straight in my head. My son is four years old, three feet tall and 4 stone in weight. Compared to his brother, a six-foot, 14-stone grown man, this seems pretty small. At four he is still learning right from wrong compared to a 32 year old father of two.

Whilst it is clear Bill needs to be made aware that pinching hurts and is unacceptable behaviour, is it appropriate to teach him by pinching hard enough to cause terrible pain and an equally terrible bruise?

Sorry to open this thread out but this incidence seems relevant to the general theme of acceptable child behaviour and acceptable responses.
 
Q

quality factor

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Hi Ashami, if one agrees that a child's behaviour is learned rather than innate, then your son's response was natural. He will think that it is OK to pinch. Your 32 year old son obviously sees pinching back as a form of discipline in preference to the 'naughty step'. Maybe his response is a learned response.
I grew up without the 'naughty step', but was exposed to a mother who became violent towards me...it would be termed as physical abuse today.
In my case I am opposed to violence generally because of what I was put through, however I have to say I don't know what the answer really is.
When teaching, obviously corporal punishment wasn't allowed, and i found that the 5-7 year olds in my care responded more 'healthily' by not being allowed to do something that they really wanted to do,i.e. miss playtime etc.
I also made every attempt to explain why I had punished them the way I had and encouraged them to 'unlearn' any aggressive response.
I think sometimes children are sent to this 'naughty step' in the heat of the moment but don't really understand why they are there and what its going to do for them.
 
Ashami

Ashami

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I dont agree that a child's behaviour is learned rather than innate. When it comes to that question, 'nature or nurture', my conclusion is that we are all a result of both factors. I believe what determines our characters and behaviour is essential genetic and environmental, with gender also playing a part.

Yes I agree my stepson has obviously learn't that physical violence is an acceptable form of punishment whilst I believe it's totally unacceptable. I believe in positive discipline and my son is always very clear why he is placed in time-out. It's effective and it works as is the withdrawal / reward of privileges.

I am also aware that if my son is repeatedly shown violence by those who should protect him, then he will be where I am today, unhappy and in need of psychological therapy.

My son has pinched, kicked, spat and thumped. I have never taught him any of this and feel that this is natural in little people, who do not have the ability to express their frustrations in more civilised fashion. As said before, it is down to firm guidelines, love and support that teaches a child to respect others.
 
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