I'd personally be focussing more on developing his positive behaviour skills...
I was going to say this. It doesn't mean positive reinforcement, it means that when he pushes, instead of telling him what NOT to do, you tell him WHAT TO DO. (Although you can do both if you like.)
So if he pushes, you can say, "No pushing! What do we do instead of pushing?" And if he struggles to provide a suitable answer you make some suggestions. Then you refuse to let him move on until he tries again and gets it right this time. Ideally, he should try again with the same child, but if this is impossible, you can either try again with a different child or role-play it with him yourself.
Take him to the park. If he pushes someone, tell him that he cannot be trusted at the park so it is home time, now. And leave immediately.
Be careful with this advice. Before you use it, you need to try and determine why
your child is pushing. (Actually, it would be good to do this regardless - an essential first step for any behavioural issue. In my try-again method, giving an alternative to DS involved first trying to establish why he had pushed that particular child on that particular occasion.)
I made the mistake of thinking the leave-immediately response was The Way To Handle Park Misbehaviour and wondered why things were getting worse, not better. Then I realised DS was acting up because he'd had enough and was ready to leave the park
. Taking him home immediately was actually rewarding his poor behaviour!
I started using the teach-and-try-again technique above for the specific behaviour he'd just displayed, then if I wasn't convinced we'd got to the base of it I would use essentially the same technique to solve the root problem: I'd ask if there was something bothering him in the background, for example, was he hungry or tired and wanted to go home? (I think an angry "Do you want to go home RIGHT NOW?" was the question that revealed the flaw in my approach - to my surprise, I got a relieved and enthusiastic, "Yes!" followed by a kid pelting gratefully to the car).
So I would get him to reflect on why he'd been nasty and once he understood his own behaviour better I required him try again - to go back and play nicely for at least a few minutes and then come and tell me politely that he was ready to leave. The problem cleared up very quickly. (But you have to be prepared for some odd looks when you say, "That's it, young man! You need to go out into that park and take ten more turns on the slippery slide and maybe make a sandcastle with some of your new friends! And if I see any more of that behaviour, I'll make it twenty
slides and two
This post has been edited by beabea: 12/01/2013, 12:23 PM