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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>Discipline Problems - How Do You Handle??
Now_what 07:16 AM 09-14-2010
I have a very frustrating problem that I hope someone can help me out with. I have a young boy (he'll be 5 soon) enrolled in my daycare who has attended since he was an infant. For the most part he's always been pretty well behaved....until about the last four or five months. In this time, he's really become a problem -- and massive thorn in my side. He's extremely bright, but has no discipline at home. The staff and I were really hoping he'd go to preschool this year, but his mother has no intention of doing that.

This boy (I'll call him "Seth,") just flat-out refuses to listen or abide by the rules; he's disruptive, ignores instruction and pouts/cries if he doesn't get his way. He's extremely sensitive and will burst into tears and bawl for 20 minutes if, say, another child got to wash their hands before he did.
He's always been a follower, and immediately joins in if another child starts acting up; however, lately he seems to be taking the initiative. He won't stay seated for mealtimes; he's up and out of his seat constantly. I've gone so far as to put him in a high chair, but nothing seems to faze him.

He refuses to cooperate or do his work, and in the last few days he's been very disrespectful and defiant. Yesterday, he flat-out told me "NO!" when I told him he was going to sit down and do his work. He did eventually do it, only after I'd called his mother as a last resort. I hate to do that, as it makes me look ineffective as a caregiver, but short of administering a well-deserved smack on the behind (which of course, I cannot do, no matter how tempting), I honestly don't know what to do with him.

He's very manipulative; he'll defy authority until he realizes he's not going to get his way, at which point he starts bawling as if he's the victim. This works with his mother, she immediately starts babying him/rocking him and gives in to what he wants; it does not work with me. This is where he and I have problems. As for the mother, I get nowhere with her. She acts disappointed when I tell her how awful he was all day, but either babies him "Seth, my love, what happened? Hmmmm? Why were you being bad? You know Mommy doesn't like to hear that," or blames it on some other child who influenced her little angel to misbehave.

It's become very clear to myself and the staff that this little boy rules the roost at his house. The mother seems to be second-in-command, and never follows through on any threats of discipline, and the father just seems checked out emotionally (or prohibited from administering any discipline).

I'm about at the end of my rope at this point, but my situation is tricky because it's a church-run daycare and I have a board to answer to. They're not going to allow me to teminate this child's enrollment because he's been attending our daycare since he was a baby, and now his younger sibling attends as well. The consensus is that because the mother has been so "loyal" to the daycare, cutting the older child loose isn't an option.

Honestly, before I flip out or just quit altogether, can anyone give me any advice on how to handle this child? Time out does NOT work with him; all he does is pester me, "Can I get up now? Can I get up now? Can I get up now?"

Any help is greatly appreciated!!!!

momofsix 11:28 AM 09-14-2010
Has something in his life (either at home or at daycare) changed in the past 4-5 months, at the same time this behavior started? It seems odd to me that since he has been with you for so long that he would suddenly act like this. He should know you and your rules and how you stick by them by now.
I would definately discuss this with mom, especially since it is fairly new behavior. More than just informing her or dailly problems, but working to discover the cause and a solution that can be reinforced at home.
Good luck!
MommyMuffin 12:54 PM 09-14-2010
Have you talked to the board about the problem? Maybe you could make an observation sheet and document things that happen, then have a conference with mom and explain how you are concerned because this is a new development. Maybe like momofsix said, something may be going on at home that is stressful for him, or perhaps he has a social/developmental problem that has become more aware as of recently.
GretasLittleFriends 04:39 PM 09-14-2010
Of course, you need to praise him for the good he does.

Perhaps some redirection?

Our church did a vacation bible school and I heard the preschool teacher (who is a special ed teacher at the elementary school) say something wonderful to the kids. I now use it at my dchome.

(In a whining voice) Is it time for ........... Can I........... How much longer..... Why does s/he get to go first -- you get the idea.

The answer is "Seth, right now is your waiting time. This is what it feels like to wait. Another time you won't have to wait and it will be Johnny's turn to wait." That's actually made a few of my dckids stop in their tracks and really think about it.
Now_what 01:54 AM 09-17-2010
Thanks, everyone, for the input. I have determined that nothing has changed in this child's life/surroundings in the last few months. His mother has admitted that he's been acting this way at home, too. While it's obvious that there is no discipline in the home, I can't have him talking back, being disrespectful and getting the other kids stirred up when he's in my care.

I guess I'm not so much looking for the reason for his misbehavior (I know what it is) as I'm looking for input on how you guys handle a back-talking, defiant child. (I'm almost to the point of scheduling my days off on the days he's supposed to attend!!!)

Thanks for any help!!!
Tags:discipline, misbehavior, uncooperative parents
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