3-1/2 year old kills all bugs, once picked up a caterpillar and held it awhile then twisted it until its body tore in half. She told me she was trying to kill a butterfly and when I asked why she would want to do that to a beautiful butterfly she responded with, "because I like to." She also bites me and laughs. Mom does not hit or abuse her, but does use time out for bad behaviors. I don't know about her dads disipline reactions. I usually try to explain that was not a nice thing to do and why we should not behave that way. I haven't mentioned these things to parents and don't know if I should. I have heard this could be genetic. True? If so, what can be done to correct it. Is there hope for alleviating this problem. She can be very loving and always hugs and kisses me and tells me how much she loves me. I am grandmother to this little girl and younger one year old sister. I love them as much as my own children and I am very concerned.
Supervision and not allowing the child to pick up bugs ot touch animals till older .Talk to her Mom she should not be allowed to behave in this manner it could get worse ..do not let her bite you tell her No and put her in time out ...
Ya know, some people value bugs and some don't. Maybe dad sees a spider at his house and squashes it (like a lot of people do). Some might use a fly swatter and kill a fly. She's three. She may not value bugs, insects the way you do. I've seen lots of kids accidentally kill little bugs and worms and grass hoppers. They are not sociopaths.
What you CAN do as the grandmother is to read her books about bugs, butterflies, small animals, frogs, etc. Try to interest her in them beyond playing with them (which is basically what she is doing). Help her learn to observe nature rather than disrupt it. She's three. This takes time.
But you can instill in her a love of nature by these types of things. Trips to the zoo. Things on pbs for kids about animals and bugs (look at the library for dvd's for kids on this), etc.
Don't assume the worst because she does this but help her grow in her appreciation of nature, bugs included (although I do swat flies and get rid of spiders).
I also think that this a great opportunity to teach her. Calmly and gently tell her that these things are alive and that it hurts them when she does this. Then ask her "do you want to hurt them?" Use language she can understand to explain. I do this with my two year old, and an example would be...."when someone hits you or bites you it gives you owies right?" "so when you do that, it gives the butterfly/caterpiller or whatever the case may be owies". "Do you want to give owies?". Now, obviously you can use better words with her at 4, but you get the idea. I think most kids really don't think about the fact that they are hurting as they haven't fully grasped the concept that other people and things have feelings yet. Their worlds are all about them, and that is normal. So teach her in a calm and gentle fashion. I also don't think this is anything to be overly concerned about, but I would be using it to help her understand that others hurt or have feelings as well.
I do admit that many people think its okay to maim and kill creatures, I have always thought that if allowed to at will ,smash even the smallest they will go onto and be unkind to pets and other living creatures, obviously not always . I think in your original post you were asking about the problem so like myself its a concern to you, I am not certain about genetic but certainly if a child sees that behavior in her parents she will copy.The biting plus the things she says should be addressed , its good you are concerned and are not down playing it ...good luck.
I was thinking more about this, and I think a big part of it is that at her age, there is no real concept of death. I would doubt that her intent is malicious, and I doubt she understands she is killing. I do think pets are different as we all form attachments to our pets, so if a child was hurting them intentionally it would be different to me then killing a bug. Most kids (and adults) do not form attachments to bugs the way they should to their pets.
That sounds great. I would look at this as really an opportunity to grow an appreciation with her. Our park system in our city has a main park with a nature center . . . a great place to go with a child as they have all sorts of things set up (for free) to help grow appreciation of different things in nature.
I'm not a fan of household pests and do not have a love for them or appreciation. Ants in the yard, okay . . . ants in the house, no thanks. But that is different than what you are talking about, I believe. So help her learn about the things she is seeing.
I will tell you a story. My son when about this child's age was with a lot of older kids and they were all watching this grass hopper. My son got over excited . . . and stomped on it. Ugh. The kids yelled at him. He wasn't thinking he was killing it, he wasn't thinking much at all. He's a lovely boy that loves our pet and animals in the yard and in the zoo. He's really sweet about nature. He just didn't quite 'get it' at that age.
I imagine your granddaughter will be the same. Good luck!!
You might be equating killing bugs with harming animals like cats and dogs. The latter often indicates psychopathic predilections. As for bugs, adults who aren't the least bit nutty kill them all the time. Me, for instance. Not butterflies though, because they are pretty.
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