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 :.