to think this is evidence that I'm officially a crap mother.(46 Posts)
DS is 4. He goes to playgroup one morning a week and does 5 afternoons at school nursery. They tell me he is happy, gentle, well behaved and a pleasure to be with. Both places have independently commented that his behaviour changes when I am there. "It's like flicking a switch" apparently. He plays me up and worse, goes out of his way to torment and hurt his younger siblings. I am so worried about it and I can't turn my back for a second without him doing something.
I spoke to his teacher, who suggested I see are there any parenting courses I could go on! I've read loads and try so hard with him, and he gets loads of one to one attention too, but I don't know what else to do and the comment from his teacher left me in tears!
I'm crap at this aren't I?
I'm an ex-teacher. The number of parents evenings I've done, where I've got to the most utterly delightful kids in the class (the ones that make you WANT to go to work in a morning) - beautifully mannered, impeccably behaved but with that real spark that I enjoy teaching in a child... and their parents have been bewailing how awful their behaviour is at home for them, and how they're nightmares on the sleeping front, won't do what's asked... is a large number.
DD1 is a little monkey for me at the moment testing things out - however she's an absolute angel to everyone else... it's the way of the world. He's secure with you, you're his mum - he knows whatever he does you'll love him, and he knows if he's feeling all emotionally scrunched up (like a screwed up paper ball) he can let rip, have a massive strop, scream and tantrum with you and it's all going to be ok... might make your own life awful at the time - but still!
This is so normal, ive worked in childcare over 10 years and pretty much every child changes when their parents comes to collect. Its actually shocking how quick they can change their attitude! I agree with the others though that you have taught your child well if they behave for school/childminders etc. They know who they can push it with, hell i still catch myself doing it sometimes! When i go to my parents sometimes i say something/whine and then think 'oh god i just sounded about 12'. I think you have a much more open relationship with parents and therefore behave in ways you wouldnt with others. Cos you know they love you and you can get away with being a bit
of a moody cow whingy
My friend is a play therapist and she always tells parents this kind of behaviour is a sign of a well adjusted child. They know where/when they need to behave appropriately and they also know when they can let go and be a little terror, also knowing that you will still love them.
Kids always play up worst for their parents, its just a fact of life.
I went on a parenting course, a triple p one & it wasn't what I expected at all. They aren't there to tell you that you're a bad parent, they are there to give you strategies to deal with difficult behaviour. I found it quite interesting.
Ask your HV if there is anything going on in your area.
My ds3 (now 8) is like this. Incredibly quiet & well behave at school, can be a horror at home. In his case it is definite attention seeking (especially of my attention). He gets plenty tbh. I say to him 'oh we have home ds3, can we have school ds3 please'. He doesn't get attention for being naughty either & if he's really naughty (I am thinking of one specific incident in the last year) he gets told off as much as if he was just doing it for the sake of it. (So after that incident we came home, he was straight to his bedroom & stayed there for the rest of the day, only appearing for dinner & no computer for the rest of the week- but his behaviour really had been appalling).
I cannot describe how reassuring it is to read that perhaps I'm not as crap as I thought! It's given me a lot more confidence in how I handle his more tricky moments and see them as a normal thing, not as an indictment of my failings.
Totally normal! He wants your attention, doesn't care whether it is good or bad attention, being mean to siblings is the quickest way he's learnt to get your immediate focus on him.
My Dd does the same, trying to ignore(ish) and send the message that being unkind only gives the victim attention, not the perpetrator.
A pre-school teacher has said similar to me, stating that 'dd only plays you up' when I bring her to preschool and 'is fine with her dad' which DH has denied and says she's exactly the same with him! It really upsets me when she makes these comments so I get where you're coming from! It's quite undermining .
The crap parents are the ones that refuse to recognise there could be any way of improving their parenting and who take massive offence at the mere mention of parenting classes.
You can always learn more efficient ways of doing things. I'm a childminder who has looked after over 50 children and I don't claim to have got it right: I still go on courses.
He's well behaved when you're not there. You're obviously doing a lot right and, I don't know about you, but I'd far rather that than atrocious behaviour at nursery and subdued behaviour at home.
My DS is 2.7 so bit younger, but just the same. I am worried about his behaviour as its so stressful, so if anyone can recommend any parenting courses in London, I would love to hear as I really need to work out how to manage his behaviour. (Sorry for jumping in OP, you're not alone! Mine also hits his baby sister)
I just wanted to reiterate what others have said. From everything I've ever heard your son's behaviour sounds completely normal and not due to any inadequacy on your part. If you had it all wrong, he wouldn't behave at school.
I also wanted to say that the teacher probably wasn't judging your parenting when they suggested parenting classes. At our school it was one a fairly standard range of strategies suggested to parents finding their DCs' behaviour challenging to support them in dealing with it, rather than meaning to suggest that the parenting is causing the problem and needs fixing. There's no stigma attached to it in the teacher's eyes so they probably didn't realise, in the end of term haze, that it sounded so blunt or could be interpreted negatively. You sound like you are doing a great job and the teacher is probably wishing that there were more parents like you whose kids are a credit to them and who still care enough to want better for them in everything.
I hope that makes sense - I can never think of quite the right words!
"I really wouldn't go on a parenting course as they will just advise behaviour modification techniques" - In my experience of parenting courses, this isn't true. Perhaps the OP could find out more about what is available in her area so that she can make an informed decision about local options.
Is he jealous that his siblings have been with you while he's been there? DS1 (2) had his nursery hours temporarily increased in the first few weeks after DS2 was born. He was happy there (it was done so that he had a more stimulating time) but kicked up a fuss about going, and us staying at home without him. It might also be a bit of power play to assert his place with his siblings.
It is normal, and it is a backward compliment of love and security.
I don't think that this means you are a crap mum - in fact I think it means the complete opposite. He feels safe to express how he is really feeling with you,but not with those at nursery. It is probably very stressful for him to follow their rules and expectations all day.
I really wouldn't go on a parenting course as they will just advise behaviour modification techniques, which are designed to change his behaviour rather than look behind it and find out what's really going on. I think he just needs more connection with you and maybe needs more choices and options (hence why exerting his power of his siblings perhaps). Does he have to go to nursery? Does he like it? Does he have lots of choice and options in his daily life? These are the types of questions I would be asking.
Not in any way shape or form are you a bad parent! All most all kids try this, they are angels in others care but little shits in your own at times.
Take the classes for tips but dont feel bad about having to do so as kids don't come with instructions and no two are the same, we all need help sometimes.
I received 3 outstanding school reports on Friday for my lot-really outstanding. On the way home they were absolutely appalling little buggers. Such is life...
My eldest has asd. He is the epitome of holding it all in-he has never ever been in trouble at school. As soon as he's in my or dh's presence he feels safe and lets it all out-tantrums about nothing/attacking his siblings/deliberate naughtiness. DD is quieter, but is the grumpiest child ever and generally takes pleasure in being mean to her twin brother. Ds2 is kind, well behaved and a sweetie 99% of the time. I treat them all the same, all the same boundaries/rules. Such is life...
If your ds is challenging for you then read, go on courses, whatever you like, but lots of kids are horrors at nursery and hopefully their parents aren't thinking it's all because they're crap.
Parenting classes are helpful by the way.
It's normal but there are quite a few strategies you can use. What about some kind of reward for good behaviour at pick up time.
All of my DC are like this! I never recognise the children the teachers talk to me about at parents evening! My DS's pre-school teacher told me it was normal.
Perfectly normal. Mine did it too.
I have decided it's nothing to do with parenting style, kids are on best behavior for others, and with you they know they are safe and can just relax and be the biggest whining, crying, ill tempered mess ever, because they know you love them enough to overlook that stuff.
Sounds totally normal, even my dd's old nursery teacher who we didn't get on very well said that it was normal to children to behave very well there, but be quite different at home.
My DS is an angel for everyone bar me
Normal, normal, normal - don't be harsh on yourself
Don't rush to judge yourself!
Do you think you don't have control, or is it simply that they see you with him at the end of the day when he is tired, hungry and letting off steam? Loads of children do that and it is not down to crap parenting.
Small children who know how to behave still have to work at it. It takes physical and emotional energynto be good tye whole day, and sometimes at the end of the day the guard comes down.
Likewise, sibling rivalry is also really normal, and children can be perfectly lovely to childre other than their siblings, and he may lash out at them at the end of a long tiring day.
If you feel at a loss to know how to cope with certain things, then by all means get help, but i think that it is surprising that they find it surprising that children act differently with their parents.
I can only echo what others are saying . For a start if you were such a crap mother you would not be upset over those. Unfortunately I don't live in the best of areas & have seen loads of crappy parenting over the years, some of the parents at nursery/ school are more feral than the kids.
The fact that your DS knows how to behave shows you are bringing him up well & I do think most kids push their parents buttons at times. They don't feel as secure at school/nursery so less free to kick off.
My DM always said she could take us ( 4 DC) anywhere & we never let her down, home was a completely different story....
Years ago a friend of mine queried if her daughter had been given the wrong school report (aged 5) as she didn't recognise the angelic child described by the teacher!
I used to do childminding and found many children to be like this, I think its just attention. My niece and nephew were the worst, they turned into demons the minute their mum walked in the door. When they got older and it was still going on and really getting out of hand, I told them not to do it anymore, and they literally stopped. I wish I could control my own as good. :-)
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