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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I desperately need some perspective and hope some of you experienced moms can help. My almost 3.5 year old daughter is in a large nonprofit daycare that is well respected in our city.<br><br>
Here's the issue: she's not allowed to cry, and if she does, they use negative reinforcement (not letting her play with certain toys, not getting to use a special mat during story time). She's not being targeted; they use the same consequences for all kids who cry, whether it's at drop off or other times throughout the day. I found this out from my daughter, who is a very reliable reporter in all other areas. She accepts the idea, but I just cringe at how heartless this seems. Also, drop offs have been more difficult lately (this is her fifth month there) so she's experiencing the "consequences" more often lately.<br><br>
I have an opportunity to move her to a Montessori daycare that is more expensive and less convenient. From my observations, they appear to have a more nurturing approach. What would you do?
 

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first, i would talk to the teachers and make sure of what's really going on. is it crying they are not "allowing," or are they trying to discourage non-verbal shrieking and whining?<br><br>
i am fine with crying, especially in combination with an attempt to explain WHY she is crying. but will do things to try to cut down crying that consists of screaming and shrieking, like tell her "you can go in the other room if you need to make that sound."<br><br>
but if they are really consequencing being sad and crying, then clearly that is terrible, and i would take her out of there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the reply. My daughter has been crying at drop-off, and from the teachers' reports it continues for a few minutes after I or my ex-husband leave. I don't think it's shrieking, I think it's just typical sobbing. DD has said that if she doesn't have a "happy goodbye" she gets the toys taken away, etc.<br><br>
I know I need to talk to the head teacher directly, but from previous experience about other really minor issues, they take a pretty inflexible line--they know best.
 

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Personally, I wouldn't want my daughter in a daycare/preschool like that. In fact, the lack of emotional connection was one reason that I moved my DD to the preschool she's in now. I'm sorry: they're still young children. They need a safe place to work out their emotions.<br><br>
(Wanted to add that I'm really influenced by the book <i>Hold on to Your Kids</i> right now as I'm almost finished reading it, so I'm thinking in terms of peer or adult attachment, and I think that sort of attitude on the part of adults will force the children away from a healthy adult attachment with their caregiver.)
 

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If that is what is really going on, I would take your DD out of there in a flash. What a terrible message it is for children to suppress their emotions and make them fearful of having "negative" feelings, which is all part of being human. While I would approach the school, not to get them to change, but to get a clear answer on what is going on, regardless of whether your DD is accurate or not in her description of what is going on, the fact that the school is creating an impression in her mind that being sad is worthy of punishment, is a concern in itself. And I would be particularly concerned that your DD already "accepts" this. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">
 

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I would talk to a teacher about it. If it is actually how your DD describes, then I'd pull her out immediately.<br><br>
But, I'd talk about it with the teacher and probably the director before acting. Sometimes kids can interpret things wrong, or stuff gets lost in how they understand things. So I'd want to make sure.<br><br>
When my DD was 2.5 she thought that she wasn't allowed to have her soother anymore for naptime (which was NOT what I wanted). But, the way they did naptime meant that they'd been forgetting to give it to her and then figure that since she wasn't asking and she was going to sleep just fine, that it was OK. But then she'd cry in the evening about it. She thought that once she lay on her mat she wasn't "allowed" to talk, so she didn't think she could ask for it. Talking with her teacher got it all sorted out and now she knows to go ask for it before she gets on her mat. But, I was really mad before we got it sorted out because I thought they were intentionally not giving it to her.
 

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<div style="font-style:italic;">\And I would be particularly concerned that your DD already "accepts" this. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"></div>
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Some kids just accept stuff. My DD is like that too. She doesn't question things most of the time, and it is strange, but she's always been that way.<br><br>
I think that some people/kids are really good at working with what they've got and just accept the circumstances and go from there, while other kids try to change their world to match what they want. Both are successful strategies. I'm also the first type. And it's a big skill. I can take a project in various stages of FUBAR and salvage it. One of my co-workers is entirely incapable of doing so, but is good at changing how things work to suit her projects better.
 

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Kids may be having a bad day, coming down with something or just plain blue. How are the adults to know what is truly wrong? I think actively discouraging any emotion is going to have an ill effect. I hope you find something that works for you (and your DD).
 

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That gives me a bad feeling - I know how hard it is to be questioning your care choices. So I'm kind of sorry to come down on that side but...for me I think that would be a deal breaker. They're still very little yet; expecting them to hold in their tears is really not something I would be okay with.
 

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I've been thinking about this.<br><br>
The only "reasonable" explanation (that would result in my not pulling my kid out) is that there is some other behavior they are trying to stop and your DD has lumped it in with "crying". There's a little boy (my guess is about 3.5yo) at DD's daycare who is normally upset when his mom leaves. Then he growls at the other kids and makes them cry. That's not OK for him to do and they are working on it. I wonder if there's something like that going on. DD's daycare doesn't do punishments in any way. But, if they did, I wonder if the boy would consider his growling as part of "crying" or something.
 

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I definitely second the recommendation to check in with the teachers directly.<br><br>
Right now, we are working with DS on "using words" instead of just bursting into tears when he wants something. If he wants a toy or if something he's playing with falls on the floor or something, he will just burst out crying. We talk with him about "practicing not crying" and "using words." He does this at preschool too, and the teacher will say in a very plain voice, "I don't know why you are crying. I need you to use words, then I can help you." That's a lot different IMO than refusing to let him process his emotions. It could be that they are doing something similar at your DD's school, but either not doing it very well or she is not understanding it.<br><br>
Or, it could be just a bad situation. Still, a conversation with the teachers would be an important step.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I knew I'd get some thoughtful responses here--thank you all. I need to do some investigation, but talked to another mom this weekend who confirmed my daughter's story (her son is in the same daycare). She is bothered by it, but her son is very complacent and never cries, so it's not as much of an issue for her. I'm pretty sure I do have an accurate picture of what's going on, unfortunately. We'll see what the head teacher says tomorrow.<br><br>
I think the bottom line is that I have to move her. I can't focus on work and I've been having sleepless nights second guessing myself. Thanks to all of you who have confirmed for me that I'm not making a mountain out of a molehill here.
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/jaw.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="dropjaw"> Not allowed to cry? I would pull her out IMMEDIATELY. So sorry you and your daughter had to go through that. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well, I did an observation at the Montessori daycare and right away I knew I had to move DD. I enrolled her that day. They are so nurturing and kind. I got the best feeling from the minute I walked in the door, and this time I decided to trust my gut.<br><br>
I still haven't managed to have a discussion with the head teacher at the old daycare, but I know I've made the right decision for my daughter. It feels so much better to know that she is respected and cared for and that she IS allowed to cry! She's done two days at the new place, and both days did cry, but was comforted rather than shamed. What a relief! It will be a tight Christmas with paying double daycare (had to give notice) but it's so worth it.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/joy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="joy">
 

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so glad you found a better place for you daughter! i can't imagine punishing a child for being sad. for perspective, in the public pre-K that my oldest attended and my DS is now attending, i often come into the room and see someone having a separation issue in the morning, and one of the teachers with child in her lap, snuggling. or some kids like to be alone, so they are allowed to go sit in an area that is otherwise off-limits during that time of the morning, to sit on the couch and flip through a book or just get their tears out.
 
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