My daughter has had difficulties in daycare since she was 2 years old. She is very bright and active, but she has social difficulties with other children at times and acts impulsively/ inappropriately. She is now 4.5 and attends a quality child care program. I always try to limit her hours to 6.5 or so per day and spend special days with her as well. She takes a break from child care each summer. She doesn't act out (or exhibit obvious social blunders) when I take her to parks, nor when she has friends over, aside from the typical squabble over a toy.
Whenever her teachers give me recommendations, I get emotional and take it personally. For example, they tell me we should see a family therapist, take her to ADHD Specialty Camps or that we need to work with her more on social empathy at home. I want to cooperate and work with the teachers to the ultimate goal of my child having a positive and successful experience at preschool, but I always feel that they are blaming me as a parent and I get incredibly defensive.
School just started for the semester and already I am in tears over discussion with her teacher. He said that my daughter offends other children and they don't want to be friends with her, so I need to work with her at home and have her "stop walking all over me and understand that Mom has a life too."
I just don't know how to turn my attitude around-- this offended, defensive feeling-- to be more open to these comments. I usually get angry after the fact, not during the discussions. As I mull the conversations over later in my mind, I get upset. I don't know how to approach the teacher and explain to him that he is getting to me in this way. Does anyone have any advice?
Since his comments don't get to you until after the conference is over, perhaps you are bottling up too much during the meeting. Make sure you are open with him about what you've tried and how frustrated you are. This may make him more sympathetic.
As for his suggestions, perhaps he's trying to let you know that there's nothing wrong with looking out for your own needs, and for seeking outside assistance if necessary.
Since your daughter is appropriately sociable in non-school settings, I wonder whether the proposed diagnosis of ADHD or other psychological disturbance is appropriate for her--wouldn't those kinds of symptoms be evident in a variety of settings, not just at pre-school? Sounds like it doesn't ring true to you, as any rate. I would seriously consider investigating a different pre-school for her, or even letting her stay out of pre-school. From what you wrote, it sounds to me as though she is getting all the wrong messages from her pre-school--that she is not OK. The school is evidently not about to change their approach to your daughter, so maybe just a different school, with a different philosophy or even just different people (kids and teachers, both), and hence difference social chemistry, would help. If the other kids really are rejecting her there, then she is perhaps even being psychologically compromised by spending her days there.
On the other hand, I myself love psycho-therapy and find it most beneficial. I imagine that you might well benefit from some therapy around this issue--either family therapy or individual. By that I don't mean to imply that I think you "have a problem," but simply that getting extra support couldn't hurt, especially when you're hitting a rough patch, like now. If it turns out to be true that your daughter has ADHD or whatever, then early identification and help would be all to the good. Anyway, that's my $.02.
But, the first step is to identify what (if anything) is really going on for your daughter, and for that I would recommend that you see someone who really knows children and their *normal* behavior ranges. When you know what is at the root of your child's problems in her school setting you can take appropriate action to help her. And if you find out that your child is just a *normal* kid, but maybe out on the edge of the normal behavior range, it will be easier for you to ignore the inappropriate (and sometimes hurtful) comments from people who don't really know what they are talking about. Best of luck with this.
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