heartbroken mama, in need of help w/4yo - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 04-30-2007, 09:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I really don't know where to start...

My 4yo and 9mo old are in daycare fulltime. (No choice here, I have to work if we want to eat.)

Anyway, we switched both boys to a new in-home daycare in January. It did take a bit of adjustment and 4yo didn't get along with the helper (she was a blunt, strict person and came off pretty harsh.) After a few parents complained about her, the owner replaced her. Then in March, the new helper "J" started. 4yo never did really take to her. He has frequently told me that he thinks she's mean, he hates her, etc.

Well, today, "J" tells me that 4yo hit and kicked the walls when she gave him a timeout (we don't do timeouts at home, and this was his first one there.) He tripped her today, told her he hates her and doesn't have to listen to her. He even made her cry, to which 4yo just laughed.

"J" says it's not worth it for her to continue her employment with this daycare as long as 4yo treats her this way. I explained that I would try to do all I could to improve his behavior, but that I thought it would be a process that would take some time.

At home, I tried to talk to 4yo about his behavior this evening. He thought it was comical. I explained how his words really hurt "J"s feelings. I asked how he might feel if someone talked that way to him. 4yo then explained some rationale behind the behavior (he asked for a banana and J refused. - He truly was hungry, coming home and eating an entire banana and an english muffin) But, this is not an isolated event. It's been increasing since J started in March. I've also asked 4yo about helping me come up with a solution. Explained that it's okay for him to voice his anger, frustration, etc. But, rather than using words, he seems to be using actions.

Where do I go from here? I've read Secret of Parenting, Siblings without Rivalry, and I just got the Unconditional Parenting DVD to watch. Everything I seem to be doing is backfiring.

dh has never been on board with GD, so he's continued with empty threats and timeouts when things seem to be out of hand. I try to intervene as much as possible in a gentle way, but pretty much dh is doing the "I told you so dance" right now. I definitely know that dh's way is NOT okay, but I'm flubbing up somewhere here.

Ah, one more question (thank you to all of you who have made it this far!): If 4yo REALLY doesn't like someone, is it reasonable (or realistic) to expect him to learn how to interact in a positive way with that person (meaning J). I thought perhaps we should consider removing him from the situation since he has such a strong reaction to "J". But, dh thinks that developmentally, 4yo is capable of learning how to interact with people whether he likes or dislikes them and dh thinks it's a skill he should learn NOW. Is that reasonable or realistic?

Thank you all for your feedback and suggestions, I could really use them all.

Steph, wife to C, mama to O :, E , and I :.
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#2 of 7 Old 04-30-2007, 10:09 PM
 
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Well I have never worked in daycare but I did work as an assistant in special ed and at a camp for many summers and I have to say... for almost everyone at some point in their career, there is a child (ha! not even just one!) like that, meaning who butts heads with the adult. It can be a personality conflict or a bad situation or whatever, but it just happens.

It is NOT about a bad kid. It's about the match between the adult and the child. Her strategies don't work with him, and he knows how to push her buttons.

So here's my two cents: it's fine if the adult in question wants to talk to you about how you can better support her. Like she could say "your son tripped me today and that's a safety concern. What can we do about that?" Or she could say "I'm concerned about kicking the walls."

But she really shouldn't be letting him get her goat like that. I mean okay, she's human. She might have a bad day. But really, crying and carrying on is not okay. It's not really reasonable for her to tell you to fix your son or else she quits. It's not professional. And it's not helpful.

(Also, knowing a few 4 year olds, I wonder if she's worked with them before? it's a challenging age when kids are really rude on a regular basis.)

Having said all that, I do think your responsibility is to work with your child to see what he can learn from the situation. You can talk to him about classroom behaviour and being kind and all that - it may seem to go in one ear and out the other, but have a little faith. I would express your dismay calmly like "it really upsets me to hear that you tripped your teacher! Tripping other people is not okay." See if that behaviour changes over say, a week.

Also some things that will set him up for success are a) not being hungry (I think you should bring this up because that's really important!) and b) getting enough sleep, if he's not. Are these outbursts happening late in the day? He may need a nap or some downtime. Is it after particular activities where he might get overstimulated, or be feeling insecure?

Hang in there. Your child is NOT a monster. He's four. If he were 9, it might be different, but he's four. That's the age.

~ Mum to Emily, March 12-16 2004, Noah, born Aug 2005, Liam, born January 2011, and wife to Carl since 1994. ~
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#3 of 7 Old 04-30-2007, 10:11 PM
 
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Oh P.S.... about your son learning to work with people he dislikes... sure I think at four he might be able to START learning about that in VERY SMALL ways. Which he is, by having to go to daycare every day even though he doesn't like her.

Is it realistic that he will overnight, or in a month, suddenly learn to get along with or respect someone he dislikes? Err, NO.

But you know I'm 36 and still learning that, and I think that's ok.

~ Mum to Emily, March 12-16 2004, Noah, born Aug 2005, Liam, born January 2011, and wife to Carl since 1994. ~
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#4 of 7 Old 04-30-2007, 10:11 PM
 
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I hear that you have to work to eat. So understand I am not saying don't work.

This does seem like a bad situation and *anything* you can do to stop this is going to benefit your children.

Not everyone working with small children has a clue. Sometimes people who think they know what they are doing, do not, and make it far worse that it really is. Ignorant people can make little lives miserable.

Is there any way you can switch day cares? (I know they are not easy to come by).
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#5 of 7 Old 05-01-2007, 04:31 PM
 
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I also am a little suspect of the day care home. It has been two bad fits in a row. I've had an in house daycare for almost 12 years and can understand the ebb and flow of stages and personalities. Yet I have a hard time understanding 1) how you being referee at the end of the day is going to instill respect in your ds for the teacher 2) isn't your dcp responsible for setting out meals and snacks at different intervals throughout the day. I can't imagine the teacher's emotions getting so out of hand. Is it possible that your ds can spend his time with the main caregiver? Maye be a helper to her. If you can't switch care, it might be helpful to put some distance between ds and the "J".
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#6 of 7 Old 05-01-2007, 04:33 PM
 
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I wish I had a magic suggestion for you.
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#7 of 7 Old 05-01-2007, 06:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j924 View Post
I also am a little suspect of the day care home. It has been two bad fits in a row. I've had an in house daycare for almost 12 years and can understand the ebb and flow of stages and personalities. Yet I have a hard time understanding 1) how you being referee at the end of the day is going to instill respect in your ds for the teacher 2) isn't your dcp responsible for setting out meals and snacks at different intervals throughout the day. I can't imagine the teacher's emotions getting so out of hand. Is it possible that your ds can spend his time with the main caregiver? Maye be a helper to her. If you can't switch care, it might be helpful to put some distance between ds and the "J".
I talked with the owner, who ds1 loves and respects. The owner "L" said that Owen was being a typical 4yo and not to worry so much. "L" actually doesn't seem worried if "J" leaves afterall. "L" told me that she plans to handle the majority of the care for ds1 from now on and she also has agreed to talk more with "J" about where 4yo's are at developmentally. By the end of the conversation, I was feeling MUCH better.

Thanks all - you've reassured me that ds1 is totally "normal" with regard to his behavior, I guess "J" just really got me tied into her web of emotions and I should have seen that.

Steph, wife to C, mama to O :, E , and I :.
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