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So I've been thinking a lot lately about one of the boys in my class, and I'm really curious to see whether you guys think that his mother is being AP, or just refusing to say no to her son.
This boy, "Jack" is about two and a half years old. He's been coming to us since he was a year old, so he know us and he knows our classrooms very well. Recently, in the last month or so, he's gotten into a pattern where he refuses to come into the classroom unless he's carrying a toy or an object from his house.
I should briefly outline our policy on that, by the way. We do not allow toys from home to come into the classroom, for several reasons. First, the toy can get broken or lost or damaged, and parents will hold us responsible. Second, the toy is often something with lights or sounds. We don't keep toys like that in our classroom, preferring to let the children stimulate their own imaginations. But this means that the toy is really different and interesting to the rest of the class, and they all want to play with it. It generally results in tears and tantrums when the child who brought it won't share it.
The BIG exception to this rule is what I call "comfort objects." Generally, a blanket or small toy that the child is comforted by. I have comfort objects in the room ranging from knitted blankets, to a purple dog, to a little Ernie doll.
But this kid, he brings in whatever he can get his hands on before he leaves the house, and refuses to come in the building without the toy. It was starting to get out of hand...he brought a suitcase one day, a toy lawnmower the next. I've talked to his mom, explained our policy, and she tried to make the toys smaller at least...but it's still a problem.
The thing is, it can be ANY object. It's not a comfort thing for him, it's just something he can hold that he knows the other kids can't have because it's his. The other day he brought an old badge from a political campaign!
His mom refuses to take the toy from him, but leaves and lets us do it. If we ask her to take it from him before he comes in the door, she tells him "I have to take it, honey, the teacher's don't want you to have it." He screams and cries and yells.
Until his mom leaves.
Then he stops crying and goes about his day, playing with whatever.
I swear he's playing her. I know he's still little, but he's a really really bright kid and I swear he knows that he can get away with it and that his mom won't let him cry so she'll give in.
Now....is she being AP? Is she satisfying his needs and cues, and do we need to adjust our policy for this kid?
Or is he using the power he has over her and should she put her foot down, and deal with the fact that sometimes you have to be the parent and say "No."
I agree. He stops crying for the toy as soon as she leaves, and as you said it is something different EVERY day, and completely random objects not even ones that would remind him of home. She is just trying to avoid being "the bad guy" I think, and making you deal with it.
Could you maybe ask his mom for a cheaply framed picture of the family that you could keep for him, and when he comes you could tell him he can't have that object but he CAN have this picture from home. Maybe his mom could make the swap?
Click the blinkies!
Thank You, Pattyandthemoos, for my beautiful siggy!
I agree. The mom needs to be the mom and help him obey the rules, sounds like she just gives in to him to avoid a tantrum.
He may be young, but kids aren't stupid. He knows what he is doing.
Exactly! I think there is a huge misconception that being AP means our kids don't have rules and can just run amok. We still set boundaries like any other parent, only with more gentle approaches to discipline rather than corporal punishment. .
Sounds like a control issue to me. Is the mom expecting? Or do you know if there is something out of the usual going on at home? Dad away a lot? New baby? New babysitter?
You might talk to the mom and see if something is up. If there is then that childs support team...parents and care providers...may need to give him extra reassurance.
Maybe tell him what is appropriate to bring (aka stuffed toy) and when he wants to bring his suitcase *chuckle chuckle* mom will need to step up and say "no you may not bring that to school, but you may bring _____."
It does not sound like she is AP to me...maybe just tired of fighting with her DS and finding it easier to give in.