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Peeing and Lying and Preschool -- Oh my!

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

I am livid. Still.

 

So even though I know I need to be talked down, and I know it's not the end of the world, there is just so much that went wrong in so little time that I can't sort it out.

 

I went to pick up DS from preschool this morning, and asked him to use the bathroom before we left. He went in, and I saw that the front of his pants were wet. I asked him what happened, since I thought maybe he'd been playing in a puddle outside, and he said, "I don't know." I asked him if it was water or pee, and he said, "I don't know." So issue #1: Lying. He finished up, and I gave him a sniff, and sure enough he'd peed in his pants. On purpose. AGAIN. He just didn't feel like interrupting his playtime to use the toilet.

 

I told him that was NOT okay, and that I was not happy, and that we'd have to miss this afternoon's play date since he was so soaked we had to go home and wash him and his clothes. He cried a bit, and then I took him to tell his teacher. They are supposed to be on top of this (it's been an issue for a few weeks), and none of the three of them saw how wet he was. Not cool. SO I wanted to bring it to their attention that he was soaked through, so they could wash the rug and be more on top of it. The teacher knelt down and told him "It's okay." Um, NO IT'S NOT OKAY. Is she kidding me????? Issue #2: This is not exactly helpful. This is something that started a few weeks ago and they know he is doing it on purpose. He TOLD us he was, thought it was ingenious -- "Hey, if I just pee in my pants, I don't have to stop playing! Isn't that a great idea!" He said that.

 

We went to leave, and ran into his friend in the hallway. The two of them took off, playing and running to get outside. As I caught up to DS at the door, he turned and spit on the door to the school. Issue #3: He knows better than to spit unless he's brushing his teeth, and yet, his friend did it, so he did it too.

 

I lost it. Grabbed his hand, led him over to the front desk to get tissues, made him clean it up. I did not remain all that calm. Of course, he cried b/c he knew he couldn't play with his friend, knew he'd done something he shouldn't have (we JUST talked about this stuff in the car on the way to school this morning).

 

I'm at a loss. I was so angry the entire ride home I yelled for a minute and then didn't say anything else. I got him bathed, sat him down for lunch and still couldn't manage to go back to normal happy mommy mode. Thankfully, he's napping now, but I can't seem to let this go. He's only 3, and already he's LYING to me??? And the school says it's "okay" to have accidents???? And I'm just supposed to not be mortified when he spits on doors people have to touch????

post #2 of 21

Mama, mama calm down! It is OK. I do not have time to post helpful solutions but ALL three years old do the things you mentioned. Most 3yrs including mine go though a time of regression where they pee their pants. Getting upset withthem does not help shorten the duration of the phase. I would just ignore it and say matter-a-factly when I noticed "Oh, you peed your pants- go change them" After a few weeks they were over it. Also almost all 3yr old experiment with lying not to be malicious but because they want to please you and tell you what they think YOU want to hear. It is a developmental thing. I also hate lying but recognize at 3 they do not know better. So I gently correct them. Example from today.

Me (looking right down at her boots) "DD, come line up your shoes"

DD- 3yo- (looks at me then at boots) "I did"

Me:(calmly) "No you did not. I see them here. We tell the truth. Come put them away"

DD "Yeah, I left them there." (puts shoes away and we go on our way.)

AT this age yelling and punishment create more lying.

As for the spitting not every child does that but for awhile at 3yr old we had a real problem with my son with this. Took awhile  to deal with but eventually he stopped.

Hope you get a break yourself soon too- you sould a bit stressed :hugs

 

post #3 of 21

I know how you feel, but it really is mostly you going a bit over the top.  Three year olds do these things. 

 

He didn't actually LIE to you either.  He was afraid to tell you the truth becaue he knew you'd be mad, so he used a filler "I don't know".  He didn't say he spilled juice or something.  Or even say it was the water when that would have been an easy lie.  He was probably thinking hard and fast trying to figure out how to be honest without getting in trouble.

 

Getting mad about the pee won't help.  It is annoying, and you know he can do better.  And he will.  Teachers say "it's okay" because that is what they say, not because they are trying to undermine you or make your kid pee more often.  I agree that being matter of fact is the way to go - you have pee on you.  We need to go home and wash your clothes and body (if it is that extreme).  Then try to do it without being pissed.

 

The spitting - his friend just did.  Yes it was wrong, but 3yos imitate each other.  He'll do other stupid things his friend does.  Having him clean it up is brilliant.  Being irate doesn't help, though.

 

I do really get where you are at.  Just the other day, my 3yo was whining and pushing/hitting me because he didn't get to the step at our back door before his sister and he knocked my new mug out of my hands and broke it.  I was so sad and hurt.  He did apologize and that was good, but then right after that he went ballistic about his jacket and then left it on the floor and then started hitting his sister with it when I told him to go back and please hang it up the right way... I got mad at him.  I sure did.  He was being nasty all around and even though he had apologized for the mug I was still really sad about it, so I got madder about the jacket hitting and crazy behavior than was actually appropriate. 

 

Having a little time away from DS and then a structured activity for us after that helped a lot.  It gave me time to get through how upset I was and not take it out on him by yelling or being mean.  3yos are a supreme test of patience and consistency.  You'll survive! :)

 

Tjej

post #4 of 21

First of all...deep breath mama... and again...

 

I read your post and at first I thought you were talking about an older child, one who was school aged.  It wasn't till the end that you said that your son is 3 that things made sense to me.

 

Deep breath again...

 

3 is a big age for learning about "rules" in life.  Sometimes there is conflict between what the child wants and what the "rule" is.  *If* he even remembered that the rule is to pee in the washroom, his desire to continue playing probably overruled that. Peeing in his pants instead of taking a break for the washroom is not surprising at 3yo.  What the preschool teachers should do is to regularly remind him, and probably even physically steer him towards the washroom in regular intervals.  I do this with my Dd#2, and even at 4 she sometimes just forgets to take a break and will do "the pee dance" at the most inconvenient times.

 

The teachers are probably used to kids having accidents at school and they're probably not too concerned about it.  Usually the parent feels bad enough already and from the teacher's point of view there's no need to make the situation worse, yk?

 

The spitting thing too is impulse driven, because he wants to mimic his friend.  I think what you did with your son was correct, and *if* he remembers the incident later, he probably won't do it again.  You might want to remind him of this incident a couple of times, the next few times he plays with his friend.

 

As for lying, yes kids will lie at that age because they've realized that whatever they did was wrong, and they're trying to find a way to get out of trouble.  In our family our rule is that if one of the kids does something they weren't supposed to, but they freely come to an adult and tell them about it, they won't get in trouble.  If they lie about it though, the hammer will come down and things will get worse for them.  My 6yo has gotten the message although we're still working with the 4yo.

 

Try to calm down a bit and put things in perspective.  In a few years this will all be a family story, and everyone will roll their eyes and laugh.

post #5 of 21

Okay....you do need to be talked down!!

 

 

(((hugs, mama)))

 

Your three year old is totally normal. All the three year olds I know are like this...mine included. She definitely doesn't pee her pants on purpose...but she lies like a damn rug. Usually I'll just be like "ohhhh really?" and slowly work out of her that she's not being truthful in a more playful way...and so by the time she's giggling, I'm like "Yeah, why are you lying? What is the truth here!" and she will laugh and tell me the truth and usually give a really silly reason why she lied. Three year olds are more aware of boundaries...but I don't think they wrap their heads quite around how they apply, how you can bend them....if you should break them, etc. He's testing, testing testing. I would really caution you against making too big a deal out of the lying. It's gonna pass...unless you hang on to it out of anger and make it a "thing".

 

Ugh..the peeing and spitting thing. Here's one thing you have working against you (in some ways)...he goes to a preschool full of other kids his age. OMG. I'm stay at home/homeschool with our kids. I can't imagine how I would be coping with "three" and all that comes with it, if my DD were in the presence of OTHER three year olds every day, trading tips on "naughty", well, she'd be running circles around me! The spitting really seems like the influence of other kids. Three is such an impulsive age, I find, and while my daughter is very capable of logically thinking out a "choice decision action consequence" sequence...it is after the fact, or if I am able to catch her RIGHT before, that she is able to do that. WHILE she's doing something, she really doesn't seem to be connecting her action to a consequence at all.

 

As for the preschool staff not noticing the pee pee...well, he was wearing jeans, right? I think that can make it hard to really see sometimes. When you're dealing with three year olds, the expectation is that they will usually say something if they'd peed their pants. I guess he didn't because he did it on purpose....but I can see a teacher missing pee on a three year olds pants in a room full of toddlers at a busy time of day....and did they realize that the boy has been peeing his pants on purpose? If not, then "It's okay" is a TOTALLY normal approach to engaging a three year old after an accident. Accidents because a kid is wrapped up in playing is SO normal for a three year old. My DD doesn't have many accidents, but when she does, it's almost ALWAYS because she's playing, doesn't want to stop, KNOWS she has to go but doesn't because she can't break away....and then she can't make it and she goes in her pants. She has never intentionally peed her pants...but pretty close to it. Totally normal for three.

 

 

Mama, don't take this personally, but I think a lot of this is you being frustrated. I really get it, my three year old is absolutely turning my word inside out with her sweetness, incredible exploding mind and awesome questions.....but also with her UNREAL sassing, blatant disobeying of important(safety, etc) rules and getting into some pretty naughty (if not adorable) mischief. I understand how you could be so frustrated...but I think you need to put a bag in the car with a change of clothing or two, lighten up on the kid and don't make as big a deal out of some of these things and wait for it to pass. IT WILL.

 

I say everything above with SO much love, and gentle respect. I honestly know how you feel, this can be a really intense age and they will wear you out if you take things personally and get hung up on stuff. Three months from now...five at the MAX...the peeing thing is going to be an absolute NONissue. It's just going to stop. The lying thing...well, he's going to be doing that until he's driving away to college..and beyond! No matter how good a kid he is, that's just a part of growing up. This is all going to be okay...aside from talking to him, keeping the conversation as light and positive as possible and remembering that he is still such a baby in so many ways...there is really nothing you can do about this stuff. Four will be different. Better and worse in different ways...he won't be peeing himself on purpose, but you can bet the farm he'll be thinking up other ways to drive you crazy! Try to see some of it as "silly toddler" behavior instead of "bad/naughty kid" behavior.

 

Keep your chin up. This will get better. Like I say: "When it comes to parenting young kids and the things they go through that wear you out or make you smile: If you love it, enjoy it while you've got it...if you can't stand it, hold your breathe and wait for it to pass, because no matter what it is....it's a phase." - that's just the truth!

post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 

Laughing and crying (and breathing deeply) at the same time... Thanks, mamas!

 

I *am* so frustrated, and am just having a really hard time wiping the slate clean. All the little "3-year-old things" build up and I feel like I need to explode, so I try to remember after each incident (and there are many each day, as y'all know) to wipe the slate clean and not let it build. Mentally, I can do that, but apparently emotionally, I'm not. How do you do it? How do you wipe away the frustration so you can be ready and calm and empathetic for the next one (coming in 3, 2, 1....)??

 

FTR, yes, the teachers know he is doing this on purpose. We talked a few weeks ago about it, it lasted about a week and a half and then was better til today. And part of the frustration for me is that we had a playdate today that I then had to cancel b/c of this. I felt terrible that I had to do that to him, and really wished he could have had better timing -- it's like he's digging his hole as deep as possible. It's not enough to wet himself. He has to do it on a day he has a playdate that he'll have to miss since he needs a bath and clean clothes (which we had at school but he still needed a bath and frankly a playdate seemed too much like a reward even though it was already planned). And then since I didn't start screaming bloody murder at him right away, he sealed his fate with the spitting instead of keeping that little gem for another day. Honestly, separately, I don't think I would have lost it if he'd done each of these things on a different day. But this was all in a matter of 5 minutes or less! Argh!

post #7 of 21

I agree what the other previous people have said, except I'd make one little tweak which is that they really don't lie so much if we don't sort of back them into it and/or overreact when they "misbehave." You know, the  accusatory "which one of you broke the lamp" or "did you hide the lollipop under the couch cushion" (complete with big scary face and threat of punishment) or "you just lied; go to your room"

 

We just have one son and we have found that when he does something wrong he always confesses to us later. It really would catch me by surprise at first, because I had been raised in the punishment/lying dynamic. Parent-as-enemy. Because DH and I never did the explosive reaction thing, or big mad reaction to lying, etc. In fact we never use the word lie or liar, but instead would say afterward "thank you for telling us that - it's important to be honest with us. We want to be able to trust you and believe you when you speak"

 

So the lying thing is not 100% inevitable, except to the extent that there are punishments administered. And I mean punitive punishments (to be redundant), not other kinds of discipline & teaching. Because it's human nature to want to defend oneself if one feels threatened. Our son is 8 and he STILL confesses openly when he does something wrong. Just the other night, "You know mom, I was just down here spying on you instead of going to bed." (you know the whole peeking down at the parents from the stairs thing). I am so glad he feels comfortable doing that! Later, when the stakes get higher, I want him to still come to us.

 

Anyway, wow. Yeah, preschool is tough. We homeschool and for a while had fallen for the whole "they need socialization" thing (which, by the way, is much better accomplished in different settings and when they're older, IMO), and put him in a preschool and it was a disaster. He was not ready, he was miserable being away from me for even half a day 3x a week, and he'd always take it out on the other kids who were not the best influence either. We pulled him out and for years after that, every time we'd drive by there, he'd say "there's that place I couldn't stand going to." If I had yelled at him about any of it, I know it would have made his experience that much worse. You might try empathizing with what he's feeling and thinking....read books by Haim Ginott and Faber & Mazlish to get an idea of what I'm saying. 

 

I hope I am making sense; I am a little bug-eyed and sleepy tonight.

post #8 of 21

Are you sure that he's doing it on purpose? When my dd was newly potty trained, she'd have accidents while playing, not because she was purposefully choosing to pee in her pants instead of stopping her play, but because she was so engrossed in her play she didn't notice the signals her body was giving. She was young, and still learning.

 

Maybe I have different standards of cleanliness, but peeing in pants wouldn't require a bath, at least for me. I mean, when he was younger did you give him a bath every time he peed in his diaper? Of course not -- you wiped down his crotch area, put a fresh diaper on, and moved on. Except for messy poop accidents, pee accidents are the same.

 

In our family, missing a playdate is a very steep consequence that I would only use for something really terrible. An accident isn't it.

 

And I think you handled the spitting really well -- a natural/logical consequence that occurred immediately after the infraction.

post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by swd12422 View Post

Laughing and crying (and breathing deeply) at the same time... Thanks, mamas!

 

I *am* so frustrated, and am just having a really hard time wiping the slate clean. All the little "3-year-old things" build up and I feel like I need to explode, so I try to remember after each incident (and there are many each day, as y'all know) to wipe the slate clean and not let it build. Mentally, I can do that, but apparently emotionally, I'm not. How do you do it? How do you wipe away the frustration so you can be ready and calm and empathetic for the next one (coming in 3, 2, 1....)??

 

FTR, yes, the teachers know he is doing this on purpose. We talked a few weeks ago about it, it lasted about a week and a half and then was better til today. And part of the frustration for me is that we had a playdate today that I then had to cancel b/c of this. I felt terrible that I had to do that to him, and really wished he could have had better timing -- it's like he's digging his hole as deep as possible. It's not enough to wet himself. He has to do it on a day he has a playdate that he'll have to miss since he needs a bath and clean clothes (which we had at school but he still needed a bath and frankly a playdate seemed too much like a reward even though it was already planned). And then since I didn't start screaming bloody murder at him right away, he sealed his fate with the spitting instead of keeping that little gem for another day. Honestly, separately, I don't think I would have lost it if he'd done each of these things on a different day. But this was all in a matter of 5 minutes or less! Argh!


Look, it's hard....sometimes I don't keep it together, sometimes too much falls down on me during the course of the day and I'm grumpy and I snap or yell when she does something naughty and DD gets this terrible look on her face and says things like "You are frustrated...it's my fault" - and I feel so badly! But then, in that moment, I am released from my anger because I'm reminded of how small and sweet she is and how this really is a part of her age and development as a person. I scoop her up in my arms and I say "It's not your fault..I'm just so grumpy, it's been a long day and I really need a hug!" - when I'm having a rough day and it makes it harder for me to cope with the "naughties" I try to simplify, meet her on her level or bring her up to mine with a hug and remind her that I love her, it's not her fault that I'm mad (because it's not, she's a toddler, it's about my ability to cope and maintain perspective) and explain what I'm feeling (because it's valid to feel frustrated after a long day) and then - I find this is a key part - tell her how I'm trying to move on, what I need to feel better like "I need a hug, I feel so tired and too busy today!" - "I think I need to feed my body, I feel all squiggly and frustrated, I think it's from not eating" - "I think I need to rest and relax my head, let's go snuggle and read" - or, if I'm on the run or out and about and can't throw on PJs and jump into bed "I need to put my face in the sun and feel the outside, let's go to that park/stand outside". I swear this works, she will touch me, hug me and look at me and say things like "sometimes I feel like that mama, it's okay, I'll share my water with you" or whatever, and what's awesome is that I've noticed in the last few months that she is saying and doing these things, too. It makes me feel very good to have her come up to me and say "UHJHHHH, I'm SO grumpy, I think I need to rest" or "I really need to eat/go outside/stretch my body/etc...it's a long day today!" - she says this kind of stuff all the time. She's learning how to manage when things aren't going her way and identify her own feelings...and she's doing it by watching me do the same myself.

 

It's normal to get frustrated....I find that what separates the "good" and "not as good" parenting I see around me, is that some people are willing to let go and use their valid frustrations as teaching tools to help their kids learn how to cope with their own feelings and some people just get pissed and shut down.

 

I have tried to train myself to get affectionate IMMEDIATELY after I get mad. SO much of what they do that makes us angry at this age is just NOT serious. Really think about it...it's not. When I feel anger creeping up in me, I try to shift it RIGHT AWAY into something like "You are SO naughty, I'm gonna squeeze it out of you!" - and then hug her really tight. She always starts laughing, I'm laughing...she's hugging me back and the situation is completely diffused. Then, I engage her about whatever it was she was doing "Hey, what's up with you jumping off the back of the couch a million times after I told you not to??" and the conversation is always much better and I get so much further with her in actually helping her understand my reasons for things than if I just yelled and was like "knock it off with the jumping" or whatever.

 

I don't want to be angry all the time. I don't want to spend these beautiful, golden days of her cherubic babyhood all tangled up inside with anger. I don't want to be a mad mama! I want to be a laughing, happy, hugging mama who is easy to be around. I'm a passionate person anyway, so I can sometimes get overwhelmed and even though my desire is to be this saint who never yells and is always so patient...that's not life. That's not reality.  The reality is we're doing the best we can and sometimes we break down under the weight of the "Everyday-ness" of parenting young kids...it's not about being perfect, it's about handling your imperfect moments in ways that model good coping skills and reminds your kid to let go of anger, put love first, apologize to people when you are too hard on them and think about what you're feeling and why.

 

Just remember to shift to love....try it, every time, even when it doesn't feel like it fits. Your anger immediately fades away, they immediately start listen better. We spend so much time redirecting them...REDIRECT YOURSELF. Good luck. <3 It's okay mama. You had a rough day. Be easy on yourself.....that's another thing you're trying to teach him!

post #10 of 21

Oh man, that was me when DD1 was 3 and 4.  She would literally do exactly what she wasn't supposed to do.  Even though we talked about it repeatedly, daily... minute by minute.  The frustration boiled over and I'd be in the fetal position in my closet.  Screaming "WHY?" over and over in my head.  Honey it's the Age!  It's not you, he's not trying to be difficult and he's really not doing it on purpose.  We forget that they just don't always put it all together and they think completely different than we do.  Love him for his crazies and chalk this up to a silly story you can tell him later. 

post #11 of 21

Having taught preschool, I can tell you it's all completely normal. Many kids are so into what they are working on that they don't want to stop and use the bathroom. Reminders can help but not always. If I was his teacher, I would have told him it was ok, too. It's part of being three and in preschool for many children. Not the end of the world.

 

And no, I didn't spend my day looking at preschooler's crotches.

post #12 of 21

I needed this thread. Ds has just entered this & we've been totally thrown for a loop with his sudden "bad" behaviour.

post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 

Okay, so it's all completely normal and I need to let it go. I thought I was there, until last night, when he did it on our just-cleaned glass door! DH spent the afternoon cleaning all the windows and putting up Halloween decorations, and DS was standing there, looking outside, and then spit on it. The rest of the weekend had been a struggle with not listening, etc. and I was exhausted and lost it AGAIN when I saw that he'd spit. I made him clean it up and sent him to his room. I had planned to just leave him there for the rest of the night (it was only an hour before bedtime) but I was boiling mad and he was hysterical, and that's not a good way to end the day. I just could not calm down.

 

I finally did, enough to go in and talk to him. He was NOT listening to anything I said. Thankfully, I managed to engage him and he ended up asking me to talk about it again b/c he had such a good time talking about all the things we DON'T spit on (everything except the bathroom sink while we're brushing teeth). So there's a tip that may work for someone else....

 

Fast forward to this morning, school day. He did great this morning, was happy and pretty good at listening. We got to school and as we were walking up the sidewalk, he spit his water out onto the ground. I couldn't believe it! REALLY???? So when we got to the door I stopped him and had ANOTHER little chat with him (not angry this time, finally!) about how we don't do that. Then we got inside and sat down outside his classroom waiting to go in, and I talked about how hard the teachers work to keep everything clean and that spit spreads germs and it's not healthy or clean to do that, etc. We'll see how today goes!

 

I spoke to the teacher about Friday's events (she had left a bit early and missed out on all the fun), and she was shocked that he'd wet his pants again. She couldn't figure out when he could have had the opportunity to do it, b/c she'd sent him to the bathroom 30 minutes before pickup. So in that half hour, he managed to do it again. Then she asked what I want her to do about it. I didn't know what to say. If I tell her more frequent potty breaks, it not only disrupts the rest of the class, but it creates a power struggle. And clearly, he's just going to hold it in when they make him go anyway. You can lead a horse to water and all that. So then what? Leave her with having to clean him up every time? Is that even acceptable? He doesn't have "accidents" anywhere else. Not home, out with Daddy, at friends' houses (although that's the most likely place for it to happen besides school), at any of his other activities/sports.... What should I tell the teacher  to "do?" Remind him that cleanup takes more time than using the bathroom? What else? Or just say nothing, change him and send him on his way? We're all stumped over here, apparently.

post #14 of 21

Maybe he needs easier pants/undies at school?  Maybe he's scared to do it all on his own, but doesn't say it?  Maybe there is something hard for him - reaching something or opening the door - so he tries to avoid it and doesn't really do it even when they offer the breaks...  I'd look at the whole situation and try to figure out if there is something that is a block for him there that doesn't exist somewhere else.  He is having fun and doesn't want to miss out on the fun, and if that is the only one, then maybe pep talks about being quick and noting that other kids go to the bathroom at other times too might help.

 

Tjej

post #15 of 21

I feel a bit lost. 

 

Isn't spitting something that little boys really enjoy doing?  Is this some kind of big deal that I'm not aware of yet?  Spitting water is especially fun.. but not as much fun as spitting watermelon seeds! 

post #16 of 21
Thread Starter 

Where do you live? I'll send him and his friend over to spit on your lawn furniture, floors, and all glass windows and doors. NOT the same thing as watermelon seeds and water outside (which even that, some people don't really appreciate on their decks and he has been scolded by the owners on that before, too). Maybe I wasn't clear in my post (I was a bit angry, after all) but he spit on the glass door leading out of his school. Right when all the kids and their parents were leaving, and at least one parent put her hand right in it before we could clean it off. ICK

post #17 of 21

That's what I suspected.  I see exactly what the problem is.

post #18 of 21


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by swd12422 View Post

 

 

I spoke to the teacher about Friday's events (she had left a bit early and missed out on all the fun), and she was shocked that he'd wet his pants again. She couldn't figure out when he could have had the opportunity to do it, b/c she'd sent him to the bathroom 30 minutes before pickup. So in that half hour, he managed to do it again. Then she asked what I want her to do about it. I didn't know what to say. If I tell her more frequent potty breaks, it not only disrupts the rest of the class, but it creates a power struggle. And clearly, he's just going to hold it in when they make him go anyway. You can lead a horse to water and all that. So then what? Leave her with having to clean him up every time? Is that even acceptable? He doesn't have "accidents" anywhere else. Not home, out with Daddy, at friends' houses (although that's the most likely place for it to happen besides school), at any of his other activities/sports.... What should I tell the teacher  to "do?" Remind him that cleanup takes more time than using the bathroom? What else? Or just say nothing, change him and send him on his way? We're all stumped over here, apparently.


"Calm down" is definitely much easier said than done.  I'm sure you must be tired of hearing us say that. Unfortunately, it is true.

 

As for what to have the teacher do? 

 

For starters, I'd request that the teachers not say "It's okay" any more to my child whenever this happens.  It's one thing to try to calm and comfort an upset child who is upset that he/she has had an accident.  But that's not what you seem to have.  It's another matter altogether to make it sound like the teacher is condoning this.  It seems like it should not be unreasonable to have the teacher respond to this kind of thing by saying something neutral, instead of downright positive. The teacher is probably saying that it's okay as an automatic response because that's what she needs to say to all of the other children. She probably does it without thinking.  So I think I'd ask her to be more mindful/aware about the first thing she says to your son when she discovers the wet crotch. (And the teacher should feel free to say it's okay to all of the other children, just not to your son.)  I think I'd even offer her suggestions of what she should say to your son instead.  I just can't think of anything at the moment. Maybe, "Well, let's clean this up now."?

 

The other thing that you can ask your teacher is that when she sends your son to the toilet, like she did 30 minutes before your little incident, she should make sure that he really empties his bladder.  No doubt your child is just sitting on the toilet for just a token few seconds so that he can get right back to doing whatever fun he's been doing.

 

Scenario #1:  Child's butt touches the toilet (or in the case of a boy, stands in front of the toilet) for a mere tenth of a second, nothing comes out during that very brief interval, and child decides that this means that he does not have to go.   The teacher should first of all have the child sit on or stand in front of the toilet longer, like more than one second. :D  I'd suggest to the teacher that on those occasions that nothing comes out that the teacher have him try again after the last child in the group finishes, but before the entire group of children leave the bathroom, because sometimes the urine decides to come out after all a minute or so later.

 

Scenario #2: Child stands in front of the toilet, a little bit of urine comes out, just enough to relieve the sense of urgency, but in his eagerness to return to whatever fun activity he interrupted, he leaves plenty of urine left in the bladder.  That would explain the incident occurring a mere thirty minutes later. So teacher should also make sure that child is concentrating hard on emptying his bladder.  Your child might let out a little bit of pee, but if he's busy thinking about other things or distracted by who knows what while sitting on the toilet, then he's not going to get it all out. (Counting how many seconds he stands in front of the toilet will distract the child from actually thinking about emptying his bladder, I think.) So she should remind him, during the time that he is sitting on the toilet, to "concentrate on generating urine", or whatever it is that preschool teachers say that. A few days of this might be enough.

 

Maybe the teacher should also make the child help clean up the rug, or whatever gets wet as well?  Maybe at home you could teach the child a little about how to do laundry or fold laundry? These are natural consequences, not punitive punishments.

 

I do tell my dd that it is never good manners to intentionally create extra work for other people to do, or to create extra work that could otherwise have been easily avoided.  (Doubly so if if the extra work is work that falls onto mama's shoulders.  :D)

 

Do your child's pants have buttons and/or zippers that present an obstacle to undo?  Elastic waist pants that just need to be pulled down were wonderful at age 3 years old.

 

I can't offer any advice about how to get calm, because I'm just naturally calm (and most probably because I got lucky in the unusually obedient temperament of my dd), but I do have one suggestion that may or may not work.  Based on what your child said about not having to stop playing, I thought that he was pretty clever and articulate for a three year old, so I think that this might possibly work for you too.  If I found myself repeating myself to the point of getting annoyed, I would simply have my daughter say the words herself. I'd let her do all the talking.  For example, if my dd didn't hang up her coat everytime she got home like she is supposed to, I might have said to her, "What am I about to tell you that you were supposed to do?" or "What were you supposed to do?" or "Why am I not pleased?"  This got my dd to get in the habit of stopping to think and review her actions to remember what she had/had not just done.  Then she would say, "Oh, I was supposed to hang my coat." Eventually, this helped her automatically remember what she was supposed to do. It also saves me from getting annoyed at having to actually say the instruction for the hundredth time.  :D No idea whether this would actually work for you.  Your child may very well respond differently.

 

On an entirely different vein, I feel that some of the previous posts unfairly attribute these annoying habits to preschool. I recognize that these posts were well-intentioned and only trying to help the OP.  Mind you, I'm certain that my perceived slight was completely unintentional on the pp's part, but I gently ask the homeschooling mamas to keep in mind that it makes it far more difficult for a mother who sends her child to preschool to be open to hear the EXCELLENT suggestions that follow a phrase like: I am SO glad that I homeschool and don't send my child to pre-school so that I don't have to deal with this.  (A statement like that is enough to make ME feel defensive, and I don't even have a stake in this!)

 

So in the interest in presenting an opposing viewpoint, let me say this:  My dd went to preschool (actually, full time daycare also, starting from age 6 months), and she never picked up any bad habits.  A small part of it might be that she is a girl, but many (if not all) of the boys that she went to preschool with didn't have spitting/peeing issues like that either. So although, as all of the pp's state, the behavior is entirely age appropriate and normal, I would guess that many homeschoolers are also struggle with the same problem as the OP.

 


Edited by emilysmama - 11/3/11 at 7:52pm
post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thank you, that helps. He certainly thought it was an ingenious idea, and even went so far as to suggest he go back to wearing diapers for his convenience. (He has been out of diapers during the day for over a year and a half and at night for at least a year!) I think part of what really frustrates me is that he CAN tell me exactly what he should have done differently, but he just didn't want to. I ask him what a better choice would have been (words the school uses quite a bit), and he says, "Pee in the toilet" or "Not spit" but when I say, "So why did you do it anyway?" he says, "I don't know. I wanted to." AAAAAAUGH!!! So I'm not sure what else I can try to get him to think about it BEFORE he does whatever it is. I've even talked to him about stopping and thinking about it first, and he responds "correctly" but execution in real life is different. I guess that's just a developmental thing???

 

I spoke to the teacher who told him "it's okay" and let her know that it was no accident. She wasn't clear on that before; now she is. I'm wondering if it's too much to have them actually check him when he comes inside from playtime and giving him a sticker on a chart or something if he's still dry. That way, he can be rewarded for staying dry and I can come up with some reward for a whole week dry or something like that. I know the teachers do stuff like that to engage the kids who have focus issues, etc. Does this sound like a bad idea for any reason? (I know lots of people on this forum don't like using rewards, especially for things that "should" be part of every day life but I'm all out of ideas here. I'm open to suggestions!)

 

I'm glad you brought up homeschooling b/c I was kind of regretting sending him to school at all, thinking he'd still be my perfect little angel if I'd kept him home, except that I started him there b/c he was going CRAZY at home and needs far more socializing than I can provide through playdates and activities. And then I thought of his few friends who don't go to school.... the two kids we know who don't go to school are on the complete opposite ends of the nice behavior spectrum. One is a complete terror and refuses to listen to anyone about anything and has destroyed several of DS's toys with no remorse and a flat-out refusal to apologize, and the other is the sweetest little thing I've ever met. Having her (4) and her two sibs (2yo and 10 mo) over to play is WAY less work/stress than just having the one other friend (who's 3) over.

post #20 of 21

Is there something else in your life stressing you out? I think something else might be bothering you so these other little things are especially getting to you...

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