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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Several parents in my playgroup are interested in starting up a co-op preschool for our three-year-olds in the fall. The deal is that each parent in the group will host one week and teach one week (at a different house - you will not be the teacher in your own house). I have been interested in doing this since the idea was proposed to me a few months ago. We are supposed to have a meeting about the details this week.

(Before I get the inevitable WHY WOULD YOU EVEN DO THIS WITH YOUR INNOCENT THREE-YEAR-OLD comment... Mommy works full time and is burned out. I am more interested in doing this for the break it will give me, as well as the social skills my son will gain in a group setting. I would be paying for a regular preschool, but I am so broke it is not even funny. I don't care about academics, but I do want to offer him more than sitting at home with a mom who can't stand to spend one more morning gluing things. Ahem.)

So I was all gung ho and happy about the co-op preschool, envisioning DS having a good time with his little friends... then I read through the list of names of the moms who were interested and my heart sank.

A few months ago we were at playgroup and another little boy hit mine in the face with a train. My son was fine (well, you know, he cried, but calmed down quickly), but as soon as it happened, the other little boy's mother grabbed her son, took him into the hall and beat the crap out of him.
I mean, you could hear her hand just hitting his little body. Then she took her kids and left. I shudder even recalling the event. And of course, she is one of the parents who is interested in belonging to the co-op preschool. They haven't even come to playgroup since the incident happened.

Gentle, respectful discipline is one of the things that is non-negotiable for me. I demand it of myself, my family, DH, pretty much everyone who comes into contact with DS. I thought, since the playgroup was a LLL/AP group, that spanking parents wouldn't be allowed, or at least they would have the courtesy to refrain from that type of behavior while in the group. As I said, if that mother had continued coming, we would probably have left the group.

I am now really torn over what to do about this. I think this opportunity could be really great for me and DS, but there is no freaking way I would feel comfortable with this woman in charge of the class, nor would I want him in her house. Hitting others is not allowed by anyone, ever, even guests, in my home. Maybe that is unrealistic of me, but there it is.

There is one woman who is kind of the de facto leader of this whole thing... my mother thinks that I should appeal to her to make sure that the rules for the co-op clearly state that gentle discipline will be the only thing allowed. My mother also thinks I am being a little hysterical, and she thinks the spanking mother needs a break just as much as I do... but Mom also agrees that she may not be a good candidate to be the "teacher."

Should I just give up on this altogether? We are just in the preliminary stages of this now... the spanking mother may not even end up doing it... I just don't know.

(BTW, the classes would last for two hours, two days a week.)

x-posted in Parenting Issues
 

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What are your other preschool options? That whole thing would just be too unregulated for my taste.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The "other preschool options" would be me working with him at home. I simply cannot afford anything else. He is bored at home and I am seriously burned out these days... I'm not a very good playmate. This playgroup has been our main social outlet for the last 10 months or so, and if all the other kids his age are in this co-op school, that will limit our opportunities for playdates and group play even further. This is the only AP group within 20 miles of where I live, and I have limited time in the mornings to get to places. It's a real problem.
 

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I would not participate if the mom who spanked wound up participating. I also think you should let the organizer know what happened. At an AP playgroup there really only should be gentle discipline and I think the other mom deserves to know this hasn't always been the case with the parent you have concern about.
 

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Absolutely, NO WAY.

This is not your only solution.

I would be equally concerned that the other moms present did not freak out or intervene.

I know what burn out feels like but this is not a solution, this is a nightmare.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by inezyv
Absolutely, NO WAY.

This is not your only solution.

I would be equally concerned that the other moms present did not freak out or intervene.

I know what burn out feels like but this is not a solution, this is a nightmare.
Thing is, there wasn't time to do anything... I don't think ANYONE expected such a violent reaction from that mother. I was comforting DS, the other two moms were nursing... and we were all horrified. The leader of the co-op preschool WAS there, and honestly I can't imagine why she would allow this woman a chance to participate. The only thing I can come up with is that the "are you interested?" email went out to the whole group... spanker included. Maybe leader mom never thought she would reply. I don't know.

I guess this is not my only solution... we could leave things as they are with no social time for DS at all. That is not what I WANT to do (I really need a break, and I am not joking), I want him to be able to play with other kids.

This is all just so disappointing.
:
 

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I know. But think how much worse to have your child around someone like that. Even if she is just beating her own kid, that scares your child.

I think someone needs to have the courage to tell this woman she is being excluded because of that spanking. That sends a strong message to her about what's OK and not OK.

But I would *not* allow her a second chance to be around my child again for any reason.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by inezyv


I know. But think how much worse to have your child around someone like that. Even if she is just beating her own kid, that scares your child.

I think someone needs to have the courage to tell this woman she is being excluded because of that spanking. That sends a strong message to her about what's OK and not OK.

But I would *not* allow her a second chance to be around my child again for any reason.
Don't get me wrong, I totally agree with you. That's why I'm in such a quandry. There is no way I would agree for her to have charge over my child, nor would I want us at her home, nor would I allow her in my home. So if she's in the group, we are pretty much out.

I guess I am trying to find a creative way to get her excluded. If I were to talk to the leader mom, what should I say? What if leader mom brushes it off as a "one time lapse in judgement" (which I don't think it was). I hate this. My poor DS is going to be so lonely... and I am in serious danger of losing my rag. This was going to be my out...

Talk about a house of cards crashing.
 

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From what I'm reading, this mother would never be alone in her home with these children or teaching them alone. There would always be someone else there. Also, it only makes sense that there would be a "gentle discipline only" (with very clear guidlines) rule. When you're all going to be looking after each other's children, of course there will be some ground rules. No one ever wants anyone else really getting on their children so I would imagine everyone would agree to the ground rules without anyone having to point fingers. If it's presented in a "since these are not our own children it is better to tread lightly" way, I think it should be fine.

I just hate to see that something you're so excited about could wash out due to one rough mom.
 

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are you afraid that the mother would hit your child??!! that is scary to me. i have always been under the impression that spanking is sorta like correcting a child, you certainly don't correct a child that is not your own nor would you lay a hand on them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
No, I'm not afraid that she will hit my child - I'm afraid she'll hit her own children in front of mine. She did it before, after all.

Her oldest DS just strikes me as a sad little boy. He has a brother only 16 months younger than he is and I know that their mom is stressed and isolated. The oldest DS acts out so much. Of course I was upset that my DS got hurt, but the other boy was acting in a way that I consider normal for that age group (30-36 months at the time). I felt the mother was completely out of line. Is this really a person I want teaching my child? That's where I'm coming from in this scenario.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by lisac77
Gentle, respectful discipline is one of the things that is non-negotiable for me.
I think you answered your own question.

If this woman is a member, I don't think having a GD rule would be sufficient to ensure a GD environment.

Also, I would look around at other co-op preschools to get ideas about how they are run. I have friends in San Fancisco and here in Madison who participate in co-op preschools. Both my friends are AP/GD types. I don't get the impression the kids are getting left alone with one parent.
 

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Maybe I missed something, but why can't you just sign your child up but just keep him home on the days it is her turn to host?
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by hypatia
Maybe I missed something, but why can't you just sign your child up but just keep him home on the days it is her turn to host?
That's what I was thinking, too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
We can't just sign up and then not go. What would happen if I got assigned to be the teacher at her house? What if she got assigned to be the teacher in my house? That would be an impossible situation.

Now that I'm thinking about it more deeply, I honestly don't think this will pan out. The group is so small (five kids right now, but one is so much younger than the others, I don't think they'll end up doing it) and I think when the fall/winter rolls around we'll be decimated by illnesses and people just not showing up. One of the pregnant moms just bowed out because she can't handle a new baby and all the organization for the school. Spanking mom is pregnant, too... I just don't know how they would actually get everyone to come every week.

If spanking mom bows out and the mom with the way younger child bows out, that will leave three kids in the group. I just don't think that's enough to make a class.

Thanks for your input everyone, but I think we're probably going to skip this one. I may go to the planning meeting, but I will voice my concern about the group size... I just don't think it will work.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by amaliaday
I would not participate if the mom who spanked wound up participating. I also think you should let the organizer know what happened. At an AP playgroup there really only should be gentle discipline and I think the other mom deserves to know this hasn't always been the case with the parent you have concern about.
 
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