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Dr. Gupta
Dr. Gupta, Doctor (MD)
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 8123
Experience:  Experienced, Board Certified practicing Pediatrician experienced in common parenting issues.
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My five year old was in the same day care/ preschool from

Customer Question

My five year old was in the same day care/ preschool from the time that he was an infant until he started Kindergarten last month. Although we occasionally heard comments from his teachers about some of the choices that he made, we were always able to discuss those behaviors with him, and he'd do better the next day.We knew that his transition to kindergarten would be huge. Our school district only has part-time kindergarten. So on the days that he's not in the public school program, he's in a kindergarten enrichment program at a child-care center. At first the transition seemed to go well. He loved the enrichment program. And although he told us he didn't like the public kindergarten program because the school was too big, he seemed to tolerate it. The biggest issue he had with both programs seemed to be that he didn't have any close friends, so we encouraged him and told him that if he was kind to others and talked with them, he'd eventually make friends.That all changed last week. He came home from the public kindergarten thrilled because he had moved up on the behavior chart. (He cleaned up someone else's mess without being asked.) So all of the sudden, public school is awesome.However, the very next day he was at the enrichment program and came home miserable. He told me that his teacher had yelled at him and moved him down on their behavior chart. I finally was able to figure out that he had been talking too much. The next day (Wednesday) was a repeat, although he didn't seem to know why he was moved down. He had public school on Thursday and was happy. On Thursday evening, I mentioned to him that he would be at the enrichment program the next day, and he started sobbing and telling me that his teacher there is so mean and yells at him all the time. I didn't know what to tell him, so I told him that I'd talk with her and we'd figure it out together.When I dropped him off there on Friday, his teacher wasn't there yet. So I stopped by and talked with the enrichment program principal. I was careful not to criticize the teacher, and told her I just needed help figuring out what was going on with him. Everything that I've witnessed indicates that the teacher is concerned about his well-being. I also mentioned to her that for the past week every evening he's wanted to go to a park or someplace where he could play with other kids, so I suspected he was trying to connect socially with others, albeit at inappropriate times. I simply asked that, if he were to be moved down again, that she send a brief note home explaining why so that I could talk with him.We receive pictures via email daily, and in the picture that day he was clearly sulking. Sure enough, when I picked him up, there was a note saying that he was trying really hard to be social. They had gotten off to a rough start that day, but the day ended on a better note, although he had still moved down. And as soon as we got in the car, he started telling her how mean she was.I would question her skills more, except for the fact that I started noticing subtle changes in his behavior over the last week. He's started making comments about how things being stupid, and he'll become agitated if I don't allow him to have everything he wants. I volunteered to teach his Sunday school class at church today, and I now have no doubt that he probably is talking too much during class, and he probably does sulk and get angry if things don't go his way. (As an example, he got angry today because another child 'took his answer.') It's like going through the terrible twos again.I've talked with him about how there's a difference between an adult raising their voice and yelling. And that if he doesn't listen, the natural consequence is that his teacher will probably raise her voice.At this point though, he's stubbornly holding on to his belief that his teacher is mean. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy-- he thinks she's mean, so he acts in a way that's not respectful, and she then raises her voice.How can I help him move past last weeks incidents and get back on track?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Dr. Gupta replied 1 year ago.


It would be prudent in this situation if you could directly talk to the teacher concerned, and explain this problem to them.

I agree that this is something that the child is exacerbating ... however this is precisely the reason why the teacher needs to intervene in a positive manner.

Maybe giving him some responsibility can help, something that engenders trust in the child.

One positive thing that helps in this situation is that the child is made the 'monitor' for a particular row of seats. His job profile is to put the chairs in proper position, pick up the sheets after any work is done etc.

The child is clearly conveyed (by both you and the teacher) that this is a serious responsibility and the teacher looks up to them to stand as a positive example to the rest of the class.

You can discuss these approaches with the teacher, and hopefully things will get better soon :)

warm regards