Today a parent sent me a link to a parenting blog. I admit that I don’t read blogs usually, even though I do post this one from time to time. Out of curiosity, I followed the link and was fascinated by the discussion and the response by parents to the subject of a 4 year old bully at a preschool. It confirmed what I believe about the preschool environment, and that is that the children should be safe and feel secure there. That means that the staff has to take the responsibility to protect children from other children. Preschool is a place where we try to teach children to: take turns, use their words, say please and thank you, have fun without hurting others, etc.
At Play School from time to time, there have been children that have hurt others and when the hurtful behavior has continued despite our best efforts, we have involved the parents. As you might imagine we have huge ranges of response. Some immediately take their children out of our program, and then there are the others that embrace the solutions that we ask them to try, which can include-
- Being available to remove their child at the first offense. This is done in a calm manner and the child is told that the behavior is not OK at Play School and they have lost the privilege to attend for that day, and we look forward to them coming back the next day. I tell the parents not to make it a “bad day” at home and not a overly “fun day” at home. I will say that in almost every case where the parent has supported us in this way, the child’s behavior has improved 100%.
- We have asked the parents to go to counseling and share their frustration and get support from a professional. In every case that the parents have done this, they have made small changes in their parenting style that have also made a world of difference in the child’s behavior at school.
Now for the phrases that we have all heard before….
- Everyone is unique, no two children are alike.
- There are no absolutes in how to handle all children in every situation…since they are all different.
- No one has all the answers.
If you have a child that has behavior that causes you and others stress let me encourage you to seek some professional help. If what you are doing is not getting you the response you want, continuing to do the same thing expecting a different response is crazy making. Brain storming with someone that has experience with helping families can be really helpful. If you don’t get the help you need from one counselor, do not give up, but ask around for references. Hopefully you will find a good match and get the support you need.
- Parenting is a challenge.
- Parenting is not easy.
- Parenting can cause you to go crazy if you don’t get support.
Parenting can be like getting lost in a new town without a map. There is no shame in stopping to ask for instructions and for buying a map. If you want a suggestion, here is a link to a counselor, Andrea Seitz
Check out this blog and let me know your thoughts. A Bully at age Four
When I had two preschool age children I was tired all the time. I wanted to be a perfect parent and wife. I read books on parenting, talked to other mothers, had children over for play days and wanted my children to have every educational experience possible. Unfortunately, our finances were not such, so many doors were closed to me. Instead, my children played in the dirt outside my kitchen window, played with the neighborhood kids, played with 2nd hand toys and we went to the library instead of buying books.
One very special experience was when my children attended Mount Hermon Play School, but the one very clear memory that I still have 20 years later is not what my girls learned but what I learned. Well, I had become so worn down and confused that I had started asking my 3 year old to make decisions that were really mine to make. I remember that it was a shock when the director, Marilyn Miller, told me, “Kahleen, don’t ask her if she is ready to go, tell her it is time to go. Remember that you are the Mother.”
That wake up comment helped me a lot to focus on the types of choices I gave my girls. I certainly look back and wonder about my parenting and I know it was not perfect. But I am thankful for someone in my life that spoke up to help me refocus. I hope you are building relationships that are helpful to you in your parenting. Here is a link I found on line that I think gives clear instruction and help for parents in this often difficult area of… Giving Children Choices, by Becky Bailey. If you don’t read it all, read #1.
Here is a link to an excellent comparison of 3 parenting styles. Where do you find yourself?
The New York Times has posted an article on the web about the importance of play. I have copied only one short part of it, and maybe after reading this you will want to check out the whole thing and see what you think. The title is Your Baby Is Smarter Than You Think, but it refers to children up to about 5 years old.
“But what children observe most closely, explore most obsessively and imagine most vividly are the people around them. There are no perfect toys; there is no magic formula. Parents and other caregivers teach young children by paying attention and interacting with them naturally and, most of all, by just allowing them to play.”
At Play School, we really believe in PLAY, so I love to find these kind of articles. Please let me know what you think.
Kahleen Edeal, Director of Mount Hermon Play School
There are so many ways to keep children safe, but is what I am doing really getting me the results I want. As a parent I wanted to keep my children safe from:
- loss of friends
According to authors Jim Fay & Dawn Billings, I may have been doing just the opposite of what I should have been doing. No one said parenting was going to be easy.
I have read the first chapter in From Innocence to Entitlement: A Love and Logic Cure for the Tragedy of Entitlement, and what an eye opener. It would seem that in my attempt to protect and provide, I may have denied my children the ability to learn how to struggle and accomplish things on their own and then have an internal sense of well being.
Here is a paragraph out of the book,
Entitlement flourishes in the disrespectful demands we hear too often from too many children, including our own. It is fed by the media and nourished by the overindulgence that many parents perpetrate on their children in the name of love. That is how entitlement creeps undetected into our homes, our communities, our schools, and our country. It disguises itself as love and generosity, when all the while it is a thief, out to steal all that is truly valuable in our lives and the lives of our children. As the cancer of entitlement grows ever stronger in our culture, it threatens to extinguish what we want most for our children — genuine happiness and success — while it simultaneously succeeds at tearing our families apart. Entitlement is clever, disguising itself as a friend pretending to bring more to our lives — always more. But entitlement is no friend of humanity, business, or families. It is a lie that exists for only one purpose — to steal our happiness, our respect, our appreciation, and our joy. Entitlement is one of the major reasons why over half of the marriages in this country end in divorce, and why at least a fifth of intact marriages are filled with unhappiness. Entitlement is the reason our schools are in shambles, our families are falling apart, and our children are less motivated to succeed than they have ever been. It is the reason why suicide among school-age kids continues to increase at dramatic and alarming rates. And only we can do something to stop it.
Whew! If you got this far, good for you. Want to hear more? Go to Love and Logic, a great source for uncommon good sense in basic human relationships and especially in parenting. I would love to hear what you think.
Blessings to all, Kahleen Edeal,
Director Mount Hermon Play School
In response to my last blog post, a parent sent me the following Email:
I will not be able to attend this parent ed night but I did want to let you know about a book I read on this subject just recently it was titled, Free Range Kids, by Lenore Skenazy. Here is her site:
It is an interesting read I didn’t always agree with her opinions but I would recommend it as a thought provoking read & for fun she tries to make it light & funny.
What do you think? Hope to see you at the Parent Ed Night, Monday, October 5, 7pm. Babysitting available if you send me an Email. email@example.com
Kahleen Edeal, Director, Mount Hermon Play School
Always a great topic of importance to parents. Just today I heard on the radio about the trial of the person that kidnapped a girl, and the girl is going to testify even though she is uncomfortable doing it. I think hearing about these cases raises our anxiety level. Today I was talking to a parent from a few years ago and she said she had been having dreams about these issues and fears.
So, I would like to talk about our fears, how we can objectively (if that is ever possible as parents) look at the fears, come up with strategies to deal with real dangers, and hopefully in the process let go of irrational fears, so we can raise healthy, secure children in an imperfect world.
Here is a quote from an article that really is exactly what I want to address this Monday. What do you think?
Alfred Sacchetti, an emergency room doctor in Camden, New Jersey, and spokesman for the American College of Emergency Physicians, says it’s common for parents to worry more about their child being abducted by a stranger than about his riding in a car without a seat belt or playing near an ungated swimming pool — even though car- and water-related accidents pose a far greater threat to kids than abduction.
If this sounds like it might be helpful, I would love to see you this Monday, October 5, 2009, at 7PM, at Play School. Anyone is welcome to attend, not just parents currently enrolled, so you can invite families that you think would like to be a part of this discussion.
I have a babysitter that is looking at her calendar, so….IF you have children that you would need to bring, please send me an Email, firstname.lastname@example.org, with names and ages, so I can plan accordingly. Donations toward the babysitting costs will be gladly accepted.
Kahleen Edeal, Director Mount Hermon Play School
This week at Play School, after the children went home, a small group of parents and staff took a class on CPR and 1st Aid for children and adults. It was a refresher class for all of us but we all learned some new things.
One thing that impressed me was that grapes need to be cut in 1/4 to be served to children. Hot dogs are to be cut lengthwise into 4 long pieces. These two foods are high on the choking scale and we learned how to ‘pop’ food out of a choking victim if needed.
I found the following information online from the
U.S. National Library of Medicine
“The automobile accounts for the largest number of these accidental deaths. Make sure that all infants and children use the proper child car seats, booster seats, and seat belts.”
“Other top causes of accidental death are drowning, fire, falls, and poisoning.”
Next week we will have the Felton Fire department come and talk to the older class about fire safety. It is one of the most fun days at Play School. The children get to squirt the hose, sit in the fire truck, talk to the firefighters, and try on the uniforms. Of course we take LOTS of photos.
Parents are encouraged to have a family plan in case of fire at their homes. Do you have one?
Blessings to all,
Director at Mount Hermon Play School