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Behavioral Issues In Preschool - Am Extremely Down - Please Help!

Discussion in 'Toddlers' started by Sandhya13, Jun 13, 2018.

  1. Sandhya13

    Sandhya13 Gold IL'ite

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    Today is one of the down days that I started with so much of crying. We recently (2 months ago) started full day preschool for my 3.5 year old DS. We had a nanny at home for him before. DH's office is in downtown and most of his team WFH 3-4 days a week. So, we both were able to manage with a nanny for our DS in the past.

    Coming to the current situation, we are having the following issues with DS at his preschool.

    1. He does not see his teacher as an authoritative adult person who is in charge. Forget about obeying, he doesn't even acknowledge her. He doesn't even look at her when she is trying to set boundaries or pay attention to her.
    To give some background, he mostly sees me like that only. Our nanny is also very soft spoken and always mostly entertained him. The only person who can control his behavior to some extent is his dad. DS has always been an extremely active child. He is very impulsive and extremely mischievous. He is also very defiant. The moment I tell him not to do something, he is so tempted to do the exact opposite. He thinks it is a game. It is also very entertaining for him. Now that he is a bit older, I am able to talk to him about it. Sometimes he listens and many times he doesn't. Like for example, when he was little, the moment he spotted a cup of milk or any other liquid, he has to turn the container upside down with high speed. He used to find it very entertaining. Now he understands that it is not okay to do that but he can do many many other things like he has to press the bottle of hand soap or moisturizer too much and waste a lot. He is doing the same at preschool now even after his teacher telling him not to so. He also throws things around. One thing that amazes me is that the other kids in his class are telling him not to do that. He still doesn't listen to anyone. If he feels like, he will do it no matter what.

    2. He had zero exposure to English when he joined preschool.
    This is one thing that my DH has been taunting me with. We always spoke with him only in Tamil and he is very good in communicating in Tamil. He talks a lot and we are very amused by his talks. Even though he started talking late, he always have had great eye contact and I see no problems with cognition and language. But, at preschool, he doesn't understand what his teacher is telling him most of the times apart from his behavioral problems. He is not very attentive in his classroom. Like if he is called by his name, he doesn't respond right away attentively. He is somewhat absorbed in that surrounding. And sometimes he does respond fine too. At home, we never had this problem even once.
    After starting preschool, I have been reading with him everyday for at least 20 mins and I can see a lot of improvement in this 2 months. He can speak short 2-3 word sentences in English now. While I am confident that he will pick up English, DH has been criticizing me so much that my decision to talk to him only in our mother tongue is such a disaster and that at least we should have spoken both the languages. To add to this, none of our friends (who have US born kids) did this. They either talk only in English or talk a little Tamil and more English. The kids cannot speak Tamil though. I never bothered about it that much but now after all the preschool problems, DH squarely puts the blame on me. Please someone tell me that what I did is okay. Has anyone been through this?
    The moment something doesn't go the way we expected it to go, DH can paint a very gloomy picture and put all the blame on me. This is why I cried so much.. not much due to the actual problem but due to DH's accusation.. He makes me feel that I am a total failure as a mom and anything that goes wrong with DS's life is totally because of me.. He of course profusely apologizes later and tells that it was in the heat of the moment he said many things. The only consolation is that he tells all this only when we are alone and not in front of our kid.

    3. He does not sit in one place and keeps running around.
    He always likes to run a lot ever since he started to walk. Well, there are some days that his teacher says he was good and then there are a lot days too that he simply wants to run around. My guess is that since he doesn't understand much of English, he finds the circle time boring. And he is the only kid who doesn't speak English in his class though. His teacher also said that if he likes then he is capable to sitting in one place and engaging in this activity. He likes to play with this girl in his class with play doh. At home, we read everyday at bedtime and then sometimes he can sit and play. Many times he wants to run though.

    I know I have 2 big problems and I looking for solutions:

    1. Failure to set boundaries:
    It is completely my fault that I failed as a parent so far to set boundaries clearly. Trust me, I've tried several times and many times am not successful. He sees me as a peer and not as a parent. He thinks he can take a ride on me and get away with anything. Between the 2 of us, he thinks he is dominant. And that behavior continues outside home too. How do I change that?
    He wouldn't stand in the corner and I literally have to physically restraint him in the corner. Then, sometimes after a mischief, he comes up with suggestions on punishments for him like standing in corner, taking away some toys etc. When his dad comes to discipline him, he suggests him to let mommy discipline him and he also tries to convince daddy that his mommy is good at it so let her handle the disciplining part :facepalm: It may sound funny but I really don't know what to do. I sometimes say that I am not happy with what he did and sit quietly without interacting with him. He will come to me, profusely apologize and says he is a changed boy now. He'll tell me that he'll listen to me and behave well from now on wards. But it is all back to square one. I also think that I need to change the way I play and interact with him.
    2. Impulsiveness and Hyperactiveness:
    How do I help DS control his impulsiveness and hyper activeness? Sometimes, I see that he too tempted to do things and can't control. How come some kids are so well behaved? I am awed by the parenting skills of their parents.

    I know that the other major problem is my DH's attitude. He is not understanding and not helping me at all with regards to this problem. He only makes my situation worse. But that's for another day.

    Sorry that it turned out to be a very long post. I seriously feel better after venting.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
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  2. Greenbay

    Greenbay Silver IL'ite

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    Don’t worry. You are reading to him every night already, so continue to do that. Kids at this age are like sponges. They absorb every thing very quickly. He will be speaking in English and following teacher’s instructions within no time. Don’t worry about not setting boundaries earlier and how other kids are so well behaved. World comes with all shapes, and sizes, so are kids with different temperaments, and different levels of naughtiness. There are no special medals for kids who did not do mischief in their childhoods. If they grow up to be responsible adults, your parental methods were right.

    P.s. I know nothing about parenting :). These are just my thoughts based on the complaints my sisters used to have with my nephews/nieces when they were 3-4 years old. They are shaping well now, so time is a great equalizer in my observation.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
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  3. poovai

    poovai Platinum IL'ite

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    Just a thought...

    Try to put him in 'montasari' school nearby, if any. Their teaching ways are bit more relaxed. Pre-school should be fun time, assume it is only few hours a day? The kid is very smart, he is coping up with the place, the best he can.

    You are doing the right thing, by reading books to him daily. He will pick up the phrases in no time. (Soon, he will correct your pronunciation, and will tell you, you have an Indian accent - it happens to all Indian parents:roflmao:).

    Few ideas:

    1) Use board books (available from your local library) to encourage him to explain the story in his own English words.


    2) Try to attend, local library - story time for young kids, all the kids will sit around to listen to the story, along with their parents. It will expose him to other relaxed settings similar to school. Slowly, he will learn to merge with the system, it takes time. Every kid is different; don't talk to him as a drawback to pressure him.


    3) Check at your local school district - YMCA programs are available for preschool, kindergarten kids or check with your local library about such a programs from nearby school districts / sign up for on-line local program newsletter. Attend one or 2 session (6-8 weeks programs), it will give him exposure in formal settings to play with other kids, like in arts, sports activities.

    He will be just fine in time for Kindergarten.

    Your are blessed with such a smart kid, enjoy your time with him. Kids grow up very fast!
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
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  4. Vedhavalli

    Vedhavalli Gold IL'ite

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    Set boundaries during play/feeding time.
    He is naughty nothing wrong in that, whenever I tell my mom my kid 4 yrs doing this doing that, mom will say it's a child. This is how children are and they have to be, if kid sit in one place you have to worry.
    So I'm letting my child on free will 3-4 hrs now my kiddo is more disciplined and knows priority.
    1) give him small chores like set up table/ wipe table after dinner
    2) fill water in his bottle, pack his own bag
    3) put his plates, cup in sink/dw
    4) language skills - soon he will speak better english than you. Mother tongue is essential one, whats the identity if someone can't speak own language? You did right by speaking in Tamil.
    I see lots of ABCD kids can't speak native language thier grandparents don't understand them... The kids aren't connected.
    Keep cool!
     
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  5. sokanasanah

    sokanasanah IL Hall of Fame

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    This problem is easily solved. Let your husband talk to your son in English, while you continue to speak to him in Tamil. Stay consistent. Do not oscillate, except maybe for bedtime reading. He will pick up both languages in no time. As so many kids in India do, I grew up speaking different languages with my Mum, my Dad, and my siblings/friends.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2018
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  6. Sandhya13

    Sandhya13 Gold IL'ite

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    Thank you for the reply. Yeah.. kids are different and I don't have to compare one with another. I was emotional on the other day and feel much better now.
     
  7. Sandhya13

    Sandhya13 Gold IL'ite

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    Thank you for your kind words @poovai :)

    And thank you very much for the ideas! Very helpful..
     
  8. Sandhya13

    Sandhya13 Gold IL'ite

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    This is a very good suggestion.. I am seeing a huge improvement in this 2 months and all I was doing was just to read to him... so in addition to this, if one parent also speaks in English it will sure help him pick up the language much faster. He observes a lot and has a great memory too.
     
  9. Sandhya13

    Sandhya13 Gold IL'ite

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    Thank you for the reassurance!
    When I give him small tasks sometimes he does it fine but many many times he gets so naughty and does the opposite of it.. I think I have a part in this.. he thinks I am amused by this.. yes, I react amused by a lot of his antics especially the defiant behavior.. sometimes it is really funny what he does.. but I feel I was not clear on what is okay and what is not okay
    This morning after potty (I help with cleaning part) he says he will wash only one hand.. it was already getting late for all of us and I tried to make him understand.. eventually I did lose my cool.. I am expecting that he cooperates with these kind of basic tasks all the time.. I am not sure if it is reasonable..
     
  10. NeerjaC

    NeerjaC Silver IL'ite

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    I think the main problem that your son is having at preschool is his inability to understand the language. When the teacher tells him to do something in English, he may have difficulty understanding and given his age, the only way that he can communicate is by acting out. He is still too immature to fully comprehend the feelings of frustration that he no doubt feels at not being able to understand his teacher or making her understand what he wants.

    I'm a little cross with your husband conveniently blaming you for choosing to speak to your son in Tamil. Was he also not responsible for making sure his child was ready for school?! If he can't help, then maybe he should just keep his opinions to himself!

    I know how cute and adorable 3 year olds can be, trust me, most days I struggle to reprimand my son (he is 3 and a half too) when he does something naughty. But, as parents, it's our responsibility to teach them boundaries. Start by making up a schedule. Kids love routine because it gives them stability and they know what to expect. Start by making up a daily schedule for him and talk to him about it. Say that you are going to be doing things a little differently and he has to follow the schedule you've set for him. Also, make up a chart that tracks all his activities, like brushing his teeth, finishing his dinner etc. For every activity he completes, reward him with a sticker, once he has collected enough stickers, he can get a prize, like a treat or a trip to the park. Avoid giving him toys for good behavior as this generally ends up being too expensive in the long run!!

    The next thing to do is to teach him consequences for his behaviour. Talk to him and tell him that he has to listen to mummy and daddy and if he doesn't then he will go in time out.
    Pick out a spot in your home, it can be a step on the stairs or you can put a chair in a room with a door. The key is to pick a spot where there is minimum distractions. If you want, tell him you'll count to 3 and if he doesn't stop whatever he is doing then he will be going to time out. You have to stick to it pretty rigidly because if you hesitate even once then it wont work. When he is in time out, if he moves then, without interacting with him, pick him up and put him back. Once he has been in time out for however long you've decided (I usually do it for 5 mins for my kids), get down to his level and explain to him why he was in time out - you did not listen to mummy when she told you to stop jumping, that is why you are in time out.

    Also, start taking him out to the playground as much as you can. I had a lot of trouble with my son constantly climbing on furniture so in order to help him get rid of all his energy, I've started taking him to indoor gyms and playgrounds on a regular basis so that he can run around and climb to his heart's content and that has helped at least a little with his hyperactiveness.

    Finally, keep reading to him and keep talking to him in English so that he has a better grasp of the language, this will be especially important when he starts kindergarten. Talk to his teacher and tell her about all the things you are trying at home, esp the discipline part and see if she can help reinforce that in school.

    Another thing worth trying is to set up play dates with other kids his age. It'll help him learn how to interact with other kids and help his social skills too.

    Hope this helps!
     
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