3 year old crying when left at preschool--why isn't this CIO? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-23-2006, 03:26 PM
 
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You are right...I don't know why I thought this happened and went well? I must have thought somone elses post was the OP...Sorry!!

I really thought he had gone...time to step away from the computer!

You can't go wrong by listening to your gut and your child.
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Old 08-23-2006, 05:09 PM
 
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scuba mom,
thank you thank you thank you !!!!!
for your post.
it sums up exactly what i mean (without all the preg induced momma hormones that i seem to be swimming in right now!)

AP means being with your child and establishing nurturing bonds over time in all developmental/transitional situations.
and going from 3 yrs of AP home life with mom to a drop off at a school with other students and a teacher (again, i insist that is an un-natural setting for a 3 yr old)
is HUGE
HUGE
HUGE

your Aped kid is fine with it and you want a break away from him, great.

but the tears over time till child stops crying is not part of APing my 3 yr old into "learning" anything....except for: i do not respect your feelings, sorry you do not feel safe...

and i think it is my duty as an (above mentioned) child development professional/ AP mom....to mention to other mothers who are here that YOU DO NOT HAVE TO SEND YOUR KID TO PRESCHOOL.

(or any school for that matter)
YOU and the home/community you create, is the Perfect teacher/classroom setting for your 3 yr old....

i am not bashing women who have to work (like my mother did)

i am only trying to bring up the point that preschool for 3 yr olds has only been a recent common practice in america.... do we really know if it is important and what it does or does not do for our children, our families, and our communities?
no we don't
it has become mainstream.....but i maintain highly skepitcal of it being an ideal, worthwhile, or even ok avenue for teaching/learning for early child development.

i assure you that that many (even 6kids -1 adult) 3 yr olds in one room on a reg schedule with a "teacher" is not a natural setting. nor is it a natural way to learn much of anything that is natural for a 3 yr old to be learning.

socialization?
playdates, play groups, visits to the gorcery store, time with relatives or close family friends, mommy and me activities/classes...those are ideal ways for a 3 yr old to learn EVERYTHING they need to (emotionaly, physicaly, and mentaly)

and i have a right to express that prof opinion to this group of moms who seem all so calm about dropping off their APed 3 yr olds at school.
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Old 08-23-2006, 05:18 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moma justice

ii assure you that that many (even 6kids -1 adult) 3 yr olds in one room on a reg schedule with a "teacher" is not a natural setting. nor is it a natural way to learn much of anything that is natural for a 3 yr old to be learning.

socialization?
playdates, play groups, visits to the gorcery store, time with relatives or close family friends, mommy and me activities/classes...those are ideal ways for a 3 yr old to learn EVERYTHING they need to (emotionaly, physicaly, and mentaly)
What is your definition of natural? How is preschool unnatural and attending mommy and me classes or playgroups natural. Where do these occur in nature?

And, what is inherently good about something being natural. In many natural traditions children were hit, ignored, forced to work at the age of three, starved to death, etc. does that make it natural - therefore good?
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Old 08-23-2006, 05:27 PM
 
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roar honey, i am talking about a baby being with its mother or not...
IMO it is the most natural situation for a human baby/toddler/young child to BE WITH THEIR MOTHER.

if you are with your child taking a mommy-an-me music class that is a natural way for a 3 yr old to socialize and learn and still be with their mother...

not being left to one teacher and a room full (6 3 year olds is a room full) of strangers.

i am not saying preschool is the worst evil a mother can do to her child...i am just more than a little shocked that so many mothers MDC seem to be confused about why it is not ideal to send their (and i mention again) crying or even happy three year old off to school.
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Old 08-23-2006, 05:57 PM
 
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Originally Posted by moma justice
roar honey, i am talking about a baby being with its mother or not...
IMO it is the most natural situation for a human baby/toddler/young child to BE WITH THEIR MOTHER.
I don't see evidence if you look at all of human natural history that children were always exclusively with their mothers. In fact I think you'd find in many cultures children are cared for by extended networks of grandmothers, sisters, cousins and friends.

Quote:
Originally Posted by moma justice
not being left to one teacher and a room full (6 3 year olds is a room full) of strangers.
I'm glad my child knows he can go into new environments and meet new people and make friends.

Quote:
Originally Posted by moma justice
am not saying preschool is the worst evil a mother can do to her child...i am just more than a little shocked that so many mothers MDC seem to be confused about why it is not ideal to send their (and i mention again) crying or even happy three year old off to school.
Okay, so let's take the happy child. They go to some place with other kids to play with, with good art supplies, with a kind teacher, and they hang out for a couple of hours. They have a great time. Their mom gets a break and comes back having had a chance to exercise or read or do something that helps her feel good. How is that not ideal? How is that child being hurt?
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Old 08-23-2006, 09:25 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Roar
One poster suggested kids listen to their gut. What we talk about in our family is that it is quite possible to have "false alarms". Sometimes we are scared of something that actually isn't dangerous. Treating every false alarm on the level of a real fire is a great way to help your child develop into a really anxious mess.
ITA. For my DS, acting scared and anxious when he's someplace unfamiliar does not at all mean that he's rejecting that place -- he consistently reacts negatively to ALL new situations. If he hears a strange sound or a stranger talks to him, it scares him. At an unfamiliar playground, he doesn't play, just hangs back and watches. It just takes him time to integrate something new. Once he's adjusted, however, he dives right in.

He's starting preschool and I am expecting him to reject it the first day because it is a new experience. Then I expect that he will get used to preschool and will love it.

I will try to be supportive of him if he acts scared and worried on Day 1. But I don't think that if he's upset then, it's that he doesn't like preschool. He won't even know what preschool is about yet by then! I feel like if I pulled him out right then, I'd be cheating him of the opportunity to experience preschool and decide for himself how he feels about it.

Like the OP, I am worried about how my DS will transition into preschool, and it bothers me to imagine leaving him crying. I really hope we can manage the transition more gracefully than that, through a variety of coping mechanisms. But even if it doesn't go well, I don't see pulling him out as the solution to transient insecurity.
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Old 08-23-2006, 10:05 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Dolphin
I'm really surprised that most of you think it's ok to leave a 3 year old in a situation where they are obviously distressed. I think a 3 year old is still so little. I wouldn't expect a child that young to tough it out in a new and strange situation without mom or dad there, unless he or she were totally ready (and some would be, I know). But several days, weeks or even months of crying would signal to me that the child was not ready. I realize some mamas have no choice, but if you do, how do rationalize that?
ITA

i just started reading this thread and i had to double check i was on the mdc. :
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Old 08-23-2006, 10:10 PM
 
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Originally Posted by moondiapers
9 times out of 10 the children that cry when their parents drop them off quit as soon as their parents pull out of the driveway. It's their way of letting mom know that they love her and will miss her. We watch in the window together and wave, and as soon as she drives off it's like a switch...no more crying.
this can be explained in many different ways, and it all depends on each particular child and parent. this could also mean that the child gives up -- his attempt to reconnect was in vain, and he knows he needs to suck it up, there is no one to listen to him.

i am not saying this is true for every child, but i am positive that this is true for some.
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Old 08-23-2006, 10:18 PM
 
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Moma Justice, your mailbox is full. Did you mean an "un-natural setting" in this sentence?:

Quote:
AP means being with your child and establishing nurturing bonds over time in all developmental/transitional situations.
and going from 3 yrs of AP home life with mom to a drop off at a school with other students and a teacher (again, i insist that is a natural setting for a 3 yr old)

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Old 08-23-2006, 10:20 PM
 
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Aighhhh sorry...wrong thread
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Old 08-23-2006, 11:15 PM
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Originally Posted by annabanana
this can be explained in many different ways, and it all depends on each particular child and parent. this could also mean that the child gives up -- his attempt to reconnect was in vain, and he knows he needs to suck it up, there is no one to listen to him.

i am not saying this is true for every child, but i am positive that this is true for some.
No doubt. But don't you think you can tell which ones have adjusted well by the way they conduct themselves at the school, bounce home excitedly gabbing about the project they did or the friend they made, etc.? I think each AP mama can easily make the distinction. I also think AP kids get really good at communicating to their parents because there is so much trust.( Now, non-APs...that's a whole other kettle of fish! )
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Old 08-23-2006, 11:27 PM
 
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you are right scuba moma, i meant un-natural setting... i will edit right now, and clean out my pm box.
and i also wanted to thank you annabanana..... it did make me wonder if i was MDC or not.
i re-read so many old mothering magazines today about APing and what it means...
i just have observed and worked in (helped write programs for etc) preschools all over the country...and i have just never found ONE that would be an ideal place to send my daughter at the age of 3...
for a whole long list of combinations of reasons..
some seem safe, and are not
some teachers seem kind and are not
some kid combinations seem ok and are toxic
some buildings look up to code and are not
some programs seem child friendly and are not....

i could go on and on.

ultimately no one is going to love, protect, and nurture my child like me...close friends and family run second etc...that is why i utilize THOSE relationships when i want my happy 3 year old to use some art suppiles play with some friends and give myself a chance to read or work out
(remember i posted some more ideal options such as mommy trades with a trusted friend...takes place at a friends house, a sight that you and dc are familiar with and trust....with poeple that also fit that description....and a mother child ratio that better nurtures and fosters that kind of exp that is ideal for a 3 year old to learn within...instead of the chaos of a room full of 3 year olds with their many many different moods and abilites. that is quite overwhelming for young children to be around...esp with out the anchor of MOMMY)
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Old 08-24-2006, 12:22 AM
 
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Clearly preschool isn't for everyone. Not every preschool is damaging either. I guess we all need to intuitively decide what is best for our children.
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Old 08-24-2006, 12:43 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moma justice

some seem safe, and are not
some teachers seem kind and are not
some kid combinations seem ok and are toxic
some buildings look up to code and are not
some programs seem child friendly and are not....

i could go on and on.
I certainly won't argue any kid NEEDS to go to preschool, but it is bordering on paranoia from my perspective to act like well selected schools are all poison and dangerous for children. I know that doesn't at all jive with my experience as a parent who had a child in a cooperative preschool where I spent many days. The school was a loving and nurturing place that helped children AND parents develop friendships. It was a place where we could all learn from each other and where parents were supported. I know I learned from other parents and enjoyed being a part of the community.

Quote:
Originally Posted by moma justice
ultimately no one is going to love, protect, and nurture my child like me...close friends and family run second etc...
I've heard mothers make this argument even though children were living with their fathers. I found that disturbing. But, at any rate I will ask, is that required or needed by the child for every minute of every day?

My observation is that my child gets different things from different people. The unconditional love and support of a parent (male or female) is no doubt a wonderful thing, but it isn't the ONLY thing of value. Kids benefit from having friends, grandparents, neighbors, teachers, etc.
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Old 08-24-2006, 01:07 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Roar
My observation is that my child gets different things from different people. The unconditional love and support of a parent (male or female) is no doubt a wonderful thing, but it isn't the ONLY thing of value. Kids benefit from having friends, grandparents, neighbors, teachers, etc.
yes!! and i would like to submit that it is completely UNnatural for a child (who is not reliant on BM for mostof their nutrition) to spend the vast majority of their time with their mother. it seems much more natural to me that kids would spend alot of their time with other children, being cared for by all the women (or adults?) in the community. of course the mother remains the primary attachment, but there is attachment and love for many many other adults as well. doesn't this foster a sense of community?

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Old 08-24-2006, 10:46 AM
 
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I am surprised so many people support drop off preschools here. ( I think co-ops would rock.) ALL of my friends IRL do this and yes, it tears them apart to leave their screaming 3 & 4 year olds at the door but the teachers reassure them it wont' last much longer than 15-20 mins. Most of the kids only did this the first day or week but I have one dear friend whose son cried everyday last year and will probl. do so again next week. After p/s started last year, he can no longer be left alone (w/o friends/sibling) at the gym daycare or w/a babysitter. I think it's b/c his trust was broken. But, she feels that he is preparing for kindergarten.


I don't believe in preschool in general so we haven't had to deal w/the issue. Both of my kids, though, are happy to walk into any new situation with or without me. It's kind of sad to see them grow up so quickly.
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Old 08-24-2006, 10:49 AM
 
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it seems much more natural to me that kids would spend alot of their time with other children, being cared for by all the women (or adults?) in the community. of course the mother remains the primary attachment, but there is attachment and love for many many other adults as well. doesn't this foster a sense of community?
ITA with this sentiment. This is where I would see a co-op preschool or a strong play-group working very well. My kids definitely view themselves as part of a "tribe" where they play together and all the adults are respected & trustworthy.
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Old 08-24-2006, 11:08 AM
 
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Even at a co-op, though, parents don't generally stay except on the one day a month that they are scheduled to participate - this was our experience with a co-op, anyway.

To answer the original question, IMO "CIO" is training tiny, helpless infants to sleep in a crib by leaving them alone to cry. A 3-year-old at preschool is not alone, and not helpless to get his/her needs met in any way other than crying.
I'd leave it to the parent's judgment as to whether a two-hour separation from mom was violating a basic need for her child; my child is away from me for 2+ hours on a pretty regular basis.

Extending the concept of (not) "crying it out" into toddlerhood or childhood, meaning that I must "fix it" every time my child is upset and cries, isn't a kind of parenting I agree with or want to practice, even though I am fully opposed to leaving helpless babies to cry alone in a dark room.

With that said, if a child was miserable at preschool, I wouldn't leave him there. I don't expect any crying, though, he's pretty into playing and other kids and new people.

Oh, and agree strongly with the PP who said that an active 3-year-old (as opposed to an infant) constantly with mom only is probably *not* "natural."
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Old 08-24-2006, 11:34 AM
 
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Oh, and agree strongly with the PP who said that an active 3-year-old (as opposed to an infant) constantly with mom only is probably *not* "natural."
Yes, I also agree that being ONLY with mom is not natural. But how could that happen? We all go the store, the post office, the library, the gas station, to see friends, out to eat, the park etc. No one was suggesting this as an alternative. The issue is whether leaving an attached child with another person with whom he is NOT attached is natural or healthy or within the philosophy of trusting a child's cues for what he needs (ie. AP). The issue of crying is it is a barometer of the emotional state of a child who is less articulate under distress. No one is suggesting that the child must be happy all the time or that a mother is failing or otherwise neglecting their child who happens to cry. BUT crying is a form of communication of an underlying distress and the attached relationship is harmed by the mother walking away when the child is clearly communicating distress at being left with someone who is a stranger. Certainly, the "stranger" can become a resource for the child. The discussion is how to support that transition from stranger to attached adult within the philosophy of attachment parenting. Leaving a child who is crying *for mama* is disregarding the attachment relationship, IMO. Nor is it necessary.

There are many ways to support creating an attachment with a substitute caregiver. We could start a whole thread for ideas if one desires to discuss this. The solution isn't either 'leave the child to cry' or 'stay alone with mama'. That polarized thinking eliminates creative problem solving. There are win-win solutions which honor both the child's communication and needs and the mother's needs. Ignoring either isn't going to foster attachment or joy.


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Old 08-24-2006, 04:40 PM
 
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Originally Posted by scubamama
Yes, I also agree that being ONLY with mom is not natural. But how could that happen? We all go the store, the post office, the library, the gas station, to see friends, out to eat, the park etc. No one was suggesting this as an alternative.
I'll clarify: I meant not "alone with mom" (obviously impossible) but "constantly with mom and never separated for even a few hours." I believe this kind of attachment is perfectly normal and desirable for an infant, not so much for a 3 or 4 year old. But, I suppose it's a matter of your own theories.

I agree that crying is a form of communication, but I don't believe that it *necessarily* indicates that the parent should change the situation. Ibelieve in some cases crying in this situation could be communicating "I am unsure about this, it is unfamiliar and I don't feel at home yet." To which a perfectly loving response could be "I understand it is unfamiliar, but I think you will enjoy it; let's give you a chance to try it out and get used to it, and if you are still unhappy at the end of the day or after a few days, we'll reevaluate." If one stayed or removed the child, that could be a form of communication as well, possibly saying "I agree that you can't handle this," or "You're right, this place is not safe for you to be in without me."

Again, not saying that I advocate leaving a miserable child to wail the days away at preschool, but that a few tears on separation aren't the end of a person's emotional world. I cried when my mom dropped me off at college, and so did she. It didn't mean that I shouldn't go, or that my mom should have moved into my dorm with me. It was a great experience...and a short-lived adjustment. On a preschool-sized scale (no, I don't advocate sending preschoolers to college either), I think it could go much the same.
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Old 08-24-2006, 04:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Cassidy and Pat--I think you guys are right on! I met with my AP playgroup today, and we discussed this issue. We came to the conclusion that being apprensive is completely normal and healthy, but to always pull back to avoid being uncomfortable is not a healthy message. How will they ever learn that it's ok to take chances, even if it's outside their comfort zone??

Because we are talking about 3-4 year olds, one of you said something about trying it and reevaluating if it seems too scary, that makes perfect sense to me and seems like a reasonable solution. My son is very verbal (tells me when he's "nervous," etc.) I know he has the capacity to tell me how he feels about the situation.

Thanks again to all of you for your insights--this is clearly an issue that some feel really passionate about. I'll be sure to post after the first day of school and let you all know how it went!

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Old 08-24-2006, 07:45 PM
 
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Our son does make choices based upon his comfort zone. I hope that he continues to trust himself, not ignore his inner voice. He explores freely without fear. So, a child can and will learn to explore the world without fear if supported. They can also learn to explore the world with "uncomfortableness". I don't believe it is necessary. Our son is 5. It has taken me years to relearn to trust my inner voice and to live without fear.


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Old 08-24-2006, 07:58 PM
 
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I came late to the thread. I wanted to let you know that my son didn't cry on the first day of preschool. In fact, it took about six weeks before he cried there at all. (He was expecting hummus in his lunch. It's like that joke about Einstein...)

We went and visited the preschool together the week before he started, and he seemed very comfortable there.

I was worried that he was too young--it was six months ago and he was just three. It has been great for him. He's somewhat shy and it's really good for him to be with the same kids all the time. He has made friends and feels comfortable.

He always seems a little apprehensive at the start of the day, but takes pleasure at the way the other children greet him. ("There's A!") He likes that he gets to make crafts every morning.

if you like the preschool and it's a place where you would have liked to play, if you like the kids, and you like the teacher, chances are your child will like them too. The time you put into intentionally creating attachment should make him resilient to the newness of the experience.

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Old 08-24-2006, 09:49 PM
 
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What a great update glad hes doing so well. My 3 year old also loves her preschool also.

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Old 08-24-2006, 10:24 PM
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I"m glad that the OP's experience was a good one!

I attended a meeting for my son's school last night.It's a small co-op one mile down the road. I felt good about it, thankfully. The first day is really just an appointment one on one with the teachers to meet them. The second day all parents are invited to stay as long as needed. After that, you can stay but I don't think I"ll need to as my little guy is pretty outgoing...we'll see.

I was also happy to learn there are only going to be 10 kids in his class with 2 teachers, one parent, and a student intern.

I was thinking about this thread a lot as this meeting approached. My son is one of those kids who wants a party every day so I'm praying that he enjoys it! I am simply finding it hard to keep him happily occupied every single day from 6am to 8 pm, no naps, with a baby sister to care for as well. We shop, we hike, we do art, we run errands, we visit our friends, but sooner or later there's a slow morning or afternoon and it ain't pretty! He always wants to know who is coming over or who we are going to visit. I guess he's just very social. Is anyone else's child like this?
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Old 08-25-2006, 12:22 AM
 
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I think people are getting confused again. Captain crunchy is not the OP, and the OP's son hasn't gone to preschool yet, right?

Any way, to Dolphin and momma justice, and as usual, to scubamama
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Old 08-25-2006, 12:34 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennisee
I think people are getting confused again. Captain crunchy is not the OP, and the OP's son hasn't gone to preschool yet, right?
Do you mean Captain Optimism? Captain Crunchy's dd is too young for preschool. :

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Old 08-25-2006, 12:48 AM
 
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that is funny (it makes me feel like i spend too much time here....)
i was like
"captin crunchy??? wasn't she just prego this winter?"

but thanks jennisee,

i feel a little wacked out and ultra protective about my dd, b/c i am getting ready to give birth again and so many people are pressuring me to send her away....

i love play dates and TRUE small parent co-op learning/social situations....but not the type of drop off situation for a 3 yr old...i just don;t think it really fits into APing.

oh well...just wanted other moms who read this and wondered if they all have to send away their 3 yr olds,
you don't
there are plenty of AP moms out there who think that is weird!

infact, i would love it if we could post this in the homeschool forum and see the opinions of those mommas....
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Old 08-25-2006, 01:10 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scubamama
Our son does make choices based upon his comfort zone. I hope that he continues to trust himself, not ignore his inner voice. He explores freely without fear. So, a child can and will learn to explore the world without fear if supported. They can also learn to explore the world with "uncomfortableness". I don't believe it is necessary. Our son is 5. It has taken me years to relearn to trust my inner voice and to live without fear.


Pat
I agree with this--my son explores freely without fear NOW. And that's in part because of the support we gave him in working through his early preschool experience. I doubt that would be the case now if we didn't do that then.

So we all get to that place in different ways. AP means understanding what your child needs, even if sometimes your child doesn't know that himself...

Jen, former attorney and now SAHM to 11 yo ds and 8 yo ds

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Old 08-25-2006, 02:30 AM
 
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I have not read the replies, but I am sure that my answer will probably piss a few people off.

I don't consider it to be strict CIO, but I do consider it to be a type of emotional abandonment. The child is crying "mommy, I'm scared, please don't leave me" (without using the actual words possibly) and you walk out the door anyway. I refused to do that when ds1 started preschool, and sat in the classroom with my 2 month old every single day for 6 weeks until he was ready for me to leave.

Before I signed him up I made sure that parents were allowed to stay whenever they wanted to. Not because I thought he would be crying, but because it said a lot to me about how they run the school and how they value family attachment.

Now granted, I saw a lot of kids cry when their parents left and then recover fairly quickly, maybe within 10 minutes or so. One little boy cried for 3 days straight, and then eventually got over it. But as I explained to the Director when she and I discussed it, leaving ds1 crying when I absolutely didn't have to would be a violation of our trust relationship, and I just wasn't going to do it.

I of course understand that sometimes parents don't have a choice (have to go to work, get another sibling to school, etc.). But I personally did have a choice, and I chose NOT to leave him crying.
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