Kindergartner Repeatedly Hurts Self, is Parental Violence at Fault?

by elbbj on April 24, 2013

violence against childrenTeachers at a kindergarten in Lihua, Jiangsu have a big problem lately with five year old student Yangyang. One morning in December of last year, Yangyang was found by cleaning staff in the bathroom playing with a lighter. The staff member confiscated the lighter immediately. When asked about the incident, Yangyang claimed he brought the lighter from home. Just a few days later in an arts and crafts class, a teacher was shocked to find Yangyang trying to cut his fingers with a scissors, and confiscated the scissors immediately. Since this incident, Yangyang received extra attention from teachers, explained the head of the school. When Yangyang’s class had fun activities, the teachers always considered beforehand what the activities were, and whether the could cause any danger. After several months, Yangyang’s dangerous behaviors still did not stop, however, aside from these dangerous actions, there were no problems with Yangyang’s interactions with other students. He was a smart, fun-loving, and curious child. So what was actually going on with him?

The kindergarten contacted Yangyang’s parents. The family came from Anhui province, with the parents finding migrant labor in Changzhou. They were usually very busy. When Yangyang’s father first heard the news, he just shook his head and said that he was very good at home. When the teachers explained the situation several more times, the father said that the school was discriminating against the children of migrant workers. Without any other options, Yangyang’s teacher invited the parents to observe the child’s behavior in class, and only after several days of this that the parents believed the teachers. The father explained that because he works hard, in the rare case that Yangyang misbehaves at home, he hits him with a leather belt and slippers until he listens. It’s been a long time since Yangyang misbehaved at home, where he’s actually very good, but Yangyang isn’t afraid of acting out at school, “because the teachers won’t hit me.” The school invited Yangyang’s parents to talk every time he misbehaved, but his father found the situation embarrassing, and would not cooperate. With no other choice, the school asked the parents to pat down Yangyang’s bag every morning before he left for school. The teacher would pat down the bag again once Yangyang got to school, making sure that he didn’t bring any dangerous items to class.

Yangyang’s situation put teachers in a hard place, and they had to look to other kindergartens for help. After discussing the situations, they found there were such students at other schools that the schools called “special children.” What should be done with “special children”? Should they get psychological counseling?

“They don’t need psychological counseling. The children don’t have any psychological problems since the psychology of children from the ages of 0 to 6 years old has still yet to develop,” said  Zhu Jian, Director General of the Changzhou city Psychological Association. He feels that Yangyang’s father should not avoid communicating with the school because of embarrassment. Since it’s the father’s problem, he should definitely care more about the child’s safety than his own reputation. According to Zhu Jian’s analysis, the child felt wronged when the father hit him, and needed way to channel his anger. “Some children hit others at kindergarten, but Yangyang took it out on himself.” Mr. Zhu said that changing Yangyang’s behavior needs to start at the root, and only after his father changes his violent disciplinary methods, will the child change. “Yangyang isn’t six years old yet, there’s still time to change things.”


Original date of publication: 4/22/2013


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