DD (3) told nursery I hit her. I didn't

(21 Posts)
MrsPixieMoo Wed 09-Jul-14 09:09:17

I'm very sad and confused about something that my DD age 3 has said.

My DD (3) has been going to the same nursery since she was 20 months and is really happy there. She's made some good friends and always comes home with something she has made or a story about doing a lovely activity, singing a song etc.

I'm 37 weeks pregnant and had talked to her a lot about the new baby and that she will still go to nursery on some days for shorter days but that we will all spend time together doing fun things while I'm not at work. She seemed a bit nonplussed about this and we've been unsure at home about how much to reduce her nursery hours and when. I'm having an elective caesarian for medical reasons and we thought she might be frustrated at home if I can't do much for the first couple of weeks but when I'm fully mobile again I'd love to spend proper time with her.

After what I thought was a simple conversation with her to prepare her, she's seemed much more unsettled, saying she didn't want to go to nursery any more. I told the nursery this as we have a good relationship and I wanted to double check nothing upsetting has happened and to tell them about the conversation at home. They reassured me all is well at nursery and that she seems to love it. She then stopped saying she didn't want to go
but has been more clingy at home and asking what is happening, when the baby is coming and trying to sit in the baby car seat.

Yesterday when I picked her up from nursery they took me aside and said she had slapped her legs and said 'this is how mummy hits me'. They said they weren't accusing me of anything but that they had to keep a record of it. I was absolutely mortified as I have never hit DD and never would. I can't understand why she would make this up. I asked her at home if she had said that and she said yes. I told her I could be in big trouble if she says things that are not true. She replied, ' I will show you what a hit is' and then hit my bump, not hard, but a smack, twice. I took her hand away, told her firmly that we don't hit or tell stories that aren't true and she changed the topic and played. I didn't want to go on about it in case she got a lot of attention from it and then would carry on telling people I hit her.

I'm at that emotional late pregnancy stage. I've had recurrent miscarriages and this has been a long, medicated haul so I might be overreacting, but I'm devastated about what she's said and what else she might say and want to know if anyone has had this happen to them?

PourquoiTuGachesTaVie Wed 09-Jul-14 09:18:55

I don't have first hand experience of this sorry, but "I will show you what a hit is" sounds like she is copying something she has heard? Do you know where she could have got this from?

Are there any children in nursery she could have learned this from? Ds wouldn't have recognised a gun, what sound they make or anything like that before he started pre-school. Now he's obsessed with making explosion noises and pretending to fire bullets from "shooters" thanks to the other children in his class. hmm

MrsWinnibago Wed 09-Jul-14 09:19:27

I can't believe they'd keep a record of that! I have seen lots of parents on MN who say their DC say terrible things at this age...obviously untrue things....and it's not like your DD was punching herself in the face for God's sake! A tap on the leg and they have to record it? hmm

I don't think you have anything to worry about but I would think about perhaps looking for another facility...will she be going to Preschool soon?

MrsPixieMoo Wed 09-Jul-14 09:24:58

Thank you. Yes, she could well have copied this from someone else. There's a boy there who has hit others but quite some time ago and they seem to get on well now.

I hadn't planned to send her anywhere else. She's got such good friends there I had planned to keep her there until we move later this year. Good to know it seems like an overreaction on their part.

PenelopeGarciasCrazyHair Wed 09-Jul-14 09:41:03

Try to see it from their pov. If a child said something like that and they ignored it, they would feel terrible if it later transpired to be true. Obviously they know that small children will say all sorts. Our nursery used to say 'we won't believe what they tell us about you if you don't believe what they tell you about us!' As it turned out my dd told me her nursery nurse would sit on her and hit her on the head. She actually did both of these, but jokingly as part of a game and dd would beg her to do it again! If I hadn't known the nurse as well or dd hadn't been able to explain things as well this could have caused issues.

Imagine if your dd came home and showed you how the staff smacked her. You'd be rightly worried and would definitely be keeping an eye/ear out for other incidents, if not removing her altogether.

mandbaby Wed 09-Jul-14 10:25:58

MrsWinnibago - of course they have to keep a record of it! Everyone, not just nursery workers, but teachers, neighbours, friends, relatives have a moral obligation to safeguard our youngsters.

Imagine for a second (and I'm most certainly not suggesting this, MrsPixiemoo) that the OP HAD hit her daughter, and that her hitting gradually turned more violent and, God forbid, something serious happened, Joe Public would be the first to say "how did nobody see this coming? Why wasn't this prevented?". It sounds extreme but it happens. Far too many times. Only yesterday there was an article in the newspaper about a woman who had punched her 3 year old son to death. Somebody, somewhere, probably saw signs of this violence but, sadly, it didn't prevent his death.

And to the OP, I definitely wouldn't change her nursery! If she's been happy there, why would you? If MrsWinnibago thinks moving would somehow "erase" their record of this nonincident, she's wrong. They would most definitely forward it on to her next nursery.

Anyway, I'm digressing.

OP, I'm also heavily pregnant and understand how things can easily upset you. But YOU know that her words aren't true and that this is probably just a cry for help or a way of getting your attention. Continue to make a HUGE fuss of her and how much she's still your baby girl and that the new baby will never change that. Perhaps she's wrongly felt that you're excluding her by sending her to nursery when the baby is born. Is there a family member that can take care of her for those first few weeks while you get over your CS? Or perhaps be with you at home to help take care of her at home?

Try not to take the nursery's actions to heart. At least they spoke to you about what she'd said! I imagine sometimes, they say nothing, so they probably know deep down that she's made it up. It always frustrates me how if my DS's have a bump or scrape at home, I'm made to sign a form at nursery, but if they have an accident at nursery, I'm not made to sign anything! It's almost as though they just do it to cover their own backs, which is probably what they're doing here. They're just making sure they follow procedure.

As hard as it is, forget about the "image" that the nursery staff may or may not have of you, and concentrate instead on connecting with your DS so further incidents don't happen again. Don't talk to her about the matter any more - just make sure she knows how much you love her.

It does sound a great deal to me like your DD is struggling with the new baby. Some things we tried that seem to have worked:
- refer to it as "our baby" and even "your baby"
- talk about how cute it is going to be and how many gentle cuddles it will need from Big Sister
- when baby arrives, it should bring a present for Big Sister
- hide sweeties in the baby's blanket the first time Big Sister holds it
- Lots of positive reinforcement "now that you are such a big girl" etc. both before and after.

flowers

Oh and I would think about the way you responded to her hitting your bump. ...and she changed the topic and played

At 3, she is old enough to have consequences for hitting and fibbing and you need to follow up on these, not just let her go off and play.

Misspilly88 Wed 09-Jul-14 10:35:14

OP, so many things are recorded at nurseries, you will not be the only family, it's routine practice and doesn't mean you've done anything wrong. Please don't be worried, nothing will be done about it unless they happen to record several other incidents in which case they will also speak to you about it. It certainly isn't a reason to leave the nursery, it shows they are looking after her properly and would look a bit dodgy if you left too.

mrs are you crazy?! What if it were your child who disclosed that a nursery nurse had hit her when at nursery? Wouldn't you want that to be recorded and reported back to you?

DeWee Wed 09-Jul-14 14:41:46

Dd2 told me she had been shouted at and hit at preschool.

What actually happened was she had been running in the corridore (which she shouldn't) and one of the teachers had shouted "Little DeWee, stop running" at which point she'd run into another teacher's hand, who was bending down picking somthing up.

All true from dd2's perspective but stated in such a wrong way.

buggerboooo Wed 09-Jul-14 14:48:12

Jzf

MrsPixieMoo Wed 09-Jul-14 15:05:12

Thank you for all your replies. Hearts what do you think the consequence should have been? I was so worried about reinforcing hitting conversations and thought if I went on about it, she'd go back and say it again. It's difficult to explain, but she didn't hit my bump in anger. She was quite calm, saying 'this is what a hit is' as if she was showing me a circle or a snail. I took her hands away and told her that we don't hit but it sounds as if I should have done something else. What do you suggest? I'm stuck!

Don't worry they all make things up at that age.
Ds told people the bruise on his leg was from where I had thrown him into his bedroom door shock
In reality I put him to time-out and he bumped into his door trying to escape!

Iggly Wed 09-Jul-14 22:46:11

Maybe tone down the baby talk.

Also if she tries to hit you, stop her before she does if you can. Don't let her hit then punish.

It is all scary for her - she doestn know how to articulate her feelings properly even if she can talk well.

Hmm that's a tough one OP. If she had done it meaning to hurt or in a naughty way I would have said 2 minutes on the naughty step or similar. We never actually used the naughty step (What happens when there are no stairs?), we used standing facing the wall and it was very effective!

But what you are talking about does sound different. I think I would talk about it a lot, both the fibbing and the hitting. We don't do that, it makes mummy sad/upset, hitting is naughty behaviour and so on.

I remember going through a phase when DD1 was biting (other children!!!) at nursery. Couldn't use the naughty step approach because it was too long after the fact at that age so we talked a lot. "Mummy heard that you bit Milo today. Poor Milo. Do you think that hurt him? Yes, it probably did. It's not nice to hurt people. Do you think it would hurt if Milo bit you? I bet you would be unhappy if Beatrice bit you." Etc etc ad infinitum!

m0therofdragons Wed 09-Jul-14 23:10:53

Dd told me cm smacked her... I questioned her carefully using all my safeguarding training about not asking leading questions... became clear it was a lie. She was 2, almost 3, at the time. No idea why she said it. I told cm who looked horrified. I made it clear I was telling her in case dd told her similar about me as I never hit her. Never happened again and we had a very lovely chat about always telling the truth and why lies might get you in trouble. Dd is now 6, and a terrible liar to the point that when she tries I have to stop myself from laughing.

MrsPixieMoo Thu 10-Jul-14 09:21:14

Thanks so much. I will have those conversations. Really appreciate all the advice on this thread.

ComradePlexiglass Thu 10-Jul-14 09:47:26

She may have heard another child talking about being hit/punished and be repeating it/ trying to process it. Or it may just be experimentation with lying, which is pretty normal at this age. My son told me at about 3ish, complete with seriously anguished expression, that his beloved nursery keyworker had hit him. Luckily he added the words "with a big blue hammer" to this already surprising accusation so I was totally sure from the outset that it was extremely unlikely to be true!

Nursery are right to note it and discuss with you but even if it had been true it is not illegal in England (unless an implement is used or a mark is left) for parents to use so called mild physical punishment and it is also not at all uncommon in the real world, whatever reading mumsnet, which has a refreshingly anti-hitting user base, would have you believe. I think the advice on here around trying not to worry too much about what the nursery may be thinking, talking about why hitting is wrong and reassuring your daughter about the baby is very good.

jeee Thu 10-Jul-14 09:56:07

Op, when DD was a similar kind of age we were in the supermarket. DD vanished off up the aisle so I called her. She cowered away from me saying 'don't hurt me, mummy'. It really looked as though I regularly beat her. I still don't know where it came from.

However, the nursery was right to raise the issue with you.... But I really don't think you have anything to worry about. I think a lot of children do a variation of this, so I'd just try and forget about the whole thing now.

homeaway Sat 12-Jul-14 15:05:35

She is probably aware that her world is going to change ,but she does not know how to put it into words. I would as others have suggested, tone down the talk about the baby. If her routine stays the same then that will provide her with stability while things around her are changing. Is the baby going to bring her a present ?, I found that went a long way in making the baby popular. When the baby arrives , try and give her little jobs to do , like getting the nappy for you etc so that she is involved. Hope everything goes well for you .

MrsPixieMoo Sat 12-Jul-14 19:24:13

Thank you x

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