I am excited to feature a guest post today from Nicole Yontz, a contributing writer for WhatToExpect.com. Have you ever felt compelled to come to your kid’s rescue?
Before I had my 3-year-old Audrey, I wasn’t really a kid person. I wasn’t anti-kid; they were great and all, as long as they were quiet and went to someone else’s home at a reasonable hour. I also didn’t baby-sit as a teenager, even though I am the oldest of 5, and never volunteered in the nursery at church.
Then one day our happy little surprise graced us with her presence and all was right in the world. I no longer disliked kids. In fact, I LOVED kids…my kids. Other kids? Eh, still not so much.
The point is, I get it. I get when someone doesn’t like kids. I feel ya. Fist bump. However, when said-kid-disliking person happens to be the leader at my daughter’s Vacation Bible School, well, that’s a whole matter that now needs addressing.
From day one VBS lady seemed to have it out for her. When I came to pick her up, I was already toe-to-toe with VBS lady over her having to help Audrey on the potty, and if she needed help again in the future that would be an issue.
SHE’S THREE. Yes, they have mini potties, but this was the one time they weren’t near a mini potty and they just happen to be near an adult potty and that’s, of course, when Audrey heard nature calling. I’m not sure what the chances were that Audrey would have to visit the potty again in that tiny time frame, but if she did, there would be hell to pay.
Day two. Upon picking her up, I was greeted with a scowling VBS lady because my daughter “wasn’t interested in doing what she was supposed to do.” I kindly explained to VBS lady that Audrey was THREE and that in her preschool classes it was more of a Montessori environment where they are allowed to color, or read if they are not interested in doing what the teacher is doing, as long as they were doing something constructive. I followed this up with a plea for grace for Audrey as she is also not used to being trapped in a room with 30 screaming 3-years-olds and perhaps she is a bit overwhelmed. Regardless, I would be dolling out some discipline and we would be discussing it with her at home. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day. (Maybe VBS needs to do some reading on toddler basics at WhatToExpect.com)
Day three. On the way to VBS, I asked Audrey if she was going to listen to her teacher that day and what the consequences would be if she didn’t. She replied with “I’m a bad girl. A BAD GIRL!”
Excuse me, what did you just say? Oh hell no. I have never called my daughter a “bad girl.” She has bad behaviors. She understands that to the best of her abilities at three, but she is NOT a bad girl.
Reluctantly, against my better judgment, I continue to the VBS drop off.
At pick up time I am faced with, again, a scowling VBS lady who tells me “I am not telling you not to bring Audrey back; however, she is very disruptive to the other kids.”
This time I sat silent and listened.
She continues, “And the biting and the kicking. We just can’t have that.” Hold on, back your train up. Biting? That’s when I had had enough of VBS lady.
“I am not going to make excuses for my daughter or say she is a perfect angel, because I know she is not. She is a strong-willed only child and we are working on both of those things. However, my daughter has been to enough pre-school classes, play groups, and church classes that I know she has never ever solved her problems by biting. If she did bite, and I’m not saying she didn’t, but if she did, someone bit her first.”
I wanted to say so much more. I wanted to stick up for my baby, but in that moment I knew I was going to come across as that mom who thinks sunshine pours out of their child’s ass, and probably say something that I would later regret. I knew that this lady did not like my daughter and nothing I said was going to change that.
There never was a day four. The next morning Audrey asked if we were going to school, which I answered no, and she seemed perfectly happy about that, and so was I.
You can tell your child not to touch the hot stove only so many times before you just have to take them out of the kitchen.
Have you ever had to deal with an adult that just didn’t like your child? How did you address it?
Nicole Yontz is a stay at home mom in Arizona, a contributing parenting writer for WhatToExpect.com and a personal blogger at TheBetterHalfBlogs.com.
I loved your post – especially the “creative way” you worded your thoughts and experiences. Wise decision not to drop off on Day 4. No unconditional love or acceptance on the part of THAT VBS teacher. I’m thinking part of the Christian doctrine is exactly that – unconditional love and acceptance. The VBS teacher must have missed that memo.
Thank you so much! It was a frustrating and heartbreaking situation for everyone involved. Especially my daughter. Didn’t make it any better that at the end of day 3 I took her to Chick-Fil-A so I could gripe to my friends with the kids play, and upon her climbing into the tube thingy, she was donkey kicked in the face by some boy with shoes on. Bloody face, bloody nose, worst day ever.
I haven’t quite dealt with that yet, but as a former teacher myself if this happens there will be hell to pay, because I was around enough parents who stuck up for the kids over the so-called teacher (myself and/or other colleagues). At the time, not having kids I tried to understand their feelings, but now I get it, because when they are your own you need to be the one going to bat for them when they can do it themselves. Great post and seriously couldn’t agree more here.
Thank you so much! At the time I didn’t want to be “that mom”. You know the one who’s throwing sand at your kids eyes and she says he’s expressing himself. Yeah, that one, we all know her.
Ugh. Yes. It’s so frustrating. It’s hard when they are so little.
My son had a 6th grade Spanish teacher that just hated him. Because he was older, we actually used it as a teaching moment–not everyone is going to like you, but sometimes you have to just suck it up and and figure out how to get by. It happens even to everyone. But that was a non-optional situation. I would have done EXACTLY what you did if I could have. (but probably without as much tact and restraint…good for you!) –Lisa
“Tact” and “restraint” are two words not usually used to describe me. Doing to have to save this to show my husband. He’s never going to believe me. 🙂
Yuck. This is just so frustrating and so hard. And it stinks to have to feel like your kid is being bad when they are just being a kid and are truly good kids (does that make sense?). I’ve not been in the situation with a teacher, but with another mom and it JUST STINKS. I’m sorry, and think you 100% made the right call.
I think other moms would be scarier!
This is one of my fears about when my child starts school. I will not have the stomach to handle a teacher like this. And god help me if another kid bullies her. The mere thought makes my blood boil!
For what it’s worth, I think you did the right thing! I would’ve been yanking her out of that class, too!
I rememeber the first time an other girl bullied her when we were at swim class. It was all I could do not to take down an 8 year old. The only thing that helped was seeing how Audrey took it in such stride. She was like “Eh, your loss jerkface”. I’ve got a lot to learn from her.
Thanks so much for guest posting Nicole! You were a great addition to my blog!
Thank you for having me!
My daughter had a first grade teacher who was so horrible to all the kids in her class. My daughter never said a word about it,but I noticed that the way she spoke to her little brother was not anything she picked up at home. I started volunteering every Friday and it blew me away. I proceeded to contact every parent who also had a child and heard the same issues. It’s a small town, there were only eight kids in the class. We went through the ‘chain of command’ and things got worse. I realized I was going to have to go ‘a little high school’ to fix things. No violence,just a firm warning that I had no problem with getting in trouble for protecting my baby. Things rapidly improved. Not all that proud of the route I took, but my daughter realized that 1. I would always have her back and 2. NOBODY has the right to disrespect her. My son had the same lady as his teacher last year. Things went swimmingly. If I have to be the crazy mom to defend my kids, so be it. It’s an honor.
This teacher had scared every kid so bad,every single one had wet their pants in class. THEY WERE 6 &7 years old. UNACCEPTABLE
Good for you! I would have done the same thing! But I have a little something that my husband refers to as my “Latina flair”, so it’s a good thing I married a lawyer. 😉
I don’t think I’ve had this issue yet, but I probably will, my youngest (4) is a sassy little thing…of course, she probably would be the one initiating the biting. I had to pull my middle son from VBS last year because he was being repeatedly picked on by some of the other kids. I brought it up to the leader (college kid) and he said he hadn’t seen it happen. My son went back the next day and it happened again. I told the leader we wouldn’t be coming back. I just flat-out skipped VBS this year. Couldn’t even begin to interest my son in it.
I’m not surprised by the VBS thing. It’s supposed to be so wholesome and full of worship but it seems they often are over booked, under staffed and impatient. We will be skipping next year, as well.
Stephanie – great guest post!
This one is so hard and I think you handled yourself really well. As a mom to a son who is sadly often the one who shoves, we are working SO HARD to help him manage his frustrations differently. There have been activities that we’ve planned to participate in, gotten there, known it would be too much for him to handle, and left. Sigh. When it comes to adults not liking him – I don’t know. He’s got some developmental issues so I pretty much stay away from people who don’t know our story. I wouldn’t have made her go back to school either! Good choice.
I feel you completely. Like I said, I won’t make excuses for Audrey’s bad behavior. She is an only child and is extremely strong-willed. We are working on it. I have a tutor that comes every other week who helps deal with this specifically. She says that every time Audrey has an outburst to put a name on the emotion. “You are feeling FRUSTRATED…”, and then deal with it in several different ways. This is so that later she is familiar with it and instead of acting out she can just tell me she’s frustrated and then deal with it. Skips the bad part. I was fully aware that there were probably other 3 year olds in that class who were perfectly behaved but they weren’t my kid and my kid deserves just as much love and respect. Good luck!
That’s great about the tutor! We’re doing the same thing (although on a therapist level) – saying “yes, I know you are mad that the TV is off and that’s okay! But we really want to go outside! Do you want to go outside?” And usually, eventually, we get a yes. I think you’re doing a great job.
And yes – EVERY kid deserves love and respect. They don’t all fit into the book mold of what a “well behaved” child is and that, in my opinion, is the fundamental problem – that we rely too much on what our children should be doing, based on books. It’s dumb.
It seems to me that, at age three, behavior is still the most powerful form of communication. I think your daughter was saying quite a bit about the quality of the program.
None of it was good.
You did the right thing. There’s no way you should leave your child with an adult who brings out the worst in her. This idea of ‘disciplining’ kids never did appeal to me.
I’ve not yet had the pleasure of dealing with someone like the VBS lady, and I can only hope I’ll have half as much of your composure when I do. Good for you for sticking up for your kiddo!