Well, I’m having a day.
My son is, apparently, as frightful as any monster.
Now, I don’t get this, because overall, he’s OK at home. I’m not going to lie and say I think he’s perfect. I’m not a fool.
But he’s not, say, Charles Manson, either.
So when I went in to talk to daycare again today, in an attempt to resolve our issues, here is a direct quote from the teacher: “I don’t know about charts for just Chewey. The other kids will get jealous,” and, my personal favorite, “The other teachers don’t want him in their rooms because he’s so awful.”
And to this, I say, “Whuh?”
I have been punched, kicked, scratched until I bled, thrown my back out, had my eyes clawed, and, once had a boob injury so severe I had to go to Concentra for Workman’s Comp (that was an interesting day, let me tell you. And the masters of bad backs really had no idea what to do with my boob. It was embarrassing on all fronts). I’ve come home with black eyes, multiple scratches, and bruises up and down my arms. I did this without complaint.
Yet my son, because, at 3, he throws tantrums that can last 10 whole minutes is apparently destined for a life in the slammer. I know he’s not great at his now former school, but they put a 3 1/2 year old in a room with two year olds and told him he was bad and acting like a baby (this is what Chewey told me)… When I tried to convince them he needed to go into a classroom with his same age peers, I was told, flat out, “No.”
My response: “And you expect him NOT to act out? You’re setting him up to fail and wondering why he is.”
As a speech pathologist, I’ve seen this before, where the environment is set to sabotage the child, and either out of lack of knowledge, laziness, maliciousness or a combination of the three, no changes are made to accommodate the child. I’ve had teachers tell me a range of things from, “What about the other kids?” to “The kid needs to change to fit our environment, and telling us we need to change is insulting.”
But the end result is the same, and I want to say, “Well, how’s that working for ya?” though I never have.
Because the fact of the matter is, not all kids fit into the same mold. Kids are different, and we (should) love them for it. I can address the two questions above fairly easily.
Question One: “What about the other kids?”
Answer: Well, if the other kids aren’t the problem, then what about them? I’m not saying don’t offer the other kids incentives, I’m saying, if I put a series of strategies into place for one child who needs them, I expect them to be used, and if the other kids are jealous, that’s not my problem. If a kid needs a picture schedule and happy face charts, then I’ll make them for that child. If other kids are jealous and you want to make them for your whole class, be my guest. We don’t abandon the strategies in place for one kid because others might get jealous. Offer the other kids other incentives. But I can pretty much guarantee you, after doing this for ten years, when a teacher says that to me, pretty much all of my strategies are going in the trash (seriously, I’ve found them there).
Question 2: “The kid needs to change to fit our environment, and telling us we need to change is insulting.”
Answer: This type of response is from the land of magical thinking, and my response is always the same: It doesn’t happen. When we make accommodations for kids, when we change to meet their needs, we are demonstrating that there is more than one way of doing things. If what you’re doing isn’t working, it’s time to stop doing it. You can’t make a kid change by insisting he do things your way. You can make a kid change by responding differently to behaviors, by changing your approach. I have never gotten a change in behavior by continuing on a path that I know isn’t working. It’s like when I have a lesson that’s tanking–you change how you’re teaching the lesson midstream and see if that goes better. By continuing to teach in a way that you know isn’t working, you’re setting yourself up for failure. It’s the same with behavior. If you keep trying to change a behavior by using the same strategies that don’t work over and over, you’re not going to see results, but you are going to frustrate yourself and the kid. It’s not insulting to suggest that you change–it’s practical. Like I said, kids don’t change because you want them to… After all, if that were the case, no two year old would ever throw a tantrum. Trust me, mine wouldn’t.
But, apparently, I don’t know what I’m talking about.
Forget the fancy master’s degree and all of that. Forget the fact that I work with behaviors pretty much all day long. I. Am. An. Idiot.
So, former daycare provider, here’s what I have to say: I am changing my approach, because the way I’ve worked this isn’t working for me. The new approach is to let the hubby deal with you from now on.
If you think my son is scary….
Good luck with that.