Mean Girl

Her first real bad report card. Not fun. Not fun for me and Hubby or DayCareista or Grace. And now I have a ton of work to do with Miss Diva herself.

Afghani pulled me aside yesterday afternoon at pickup time to discuss Grace's behavior. Apparently, she is kicking and pushing and hitting her friends. Once in awhile, she gets a bite or scratch in there too. A parent of another child mentioned to Afgahni (and I am quoting her!), "What are you going to do about Grace?". From what I understand, Grace scratched this little girl last week (the same girl who bit my daughter twice a few months ago, leaving bruises on Grace's arm, by the way). I was (and still am) totally mortified to run into this mother at day care! Afghani said another parent (the mother of Grace's best friend at day care) walked in during the conversation and agreed with the other mother about the hitting and pushing.

Afghani asked me how we handle it at home (we do the Naughty Step). There is no time-out at day care, per Afghani's policy. Afghani corrects her and distracts her when she hits. Hitting and pushing is not only in response to the sharing problems of all 2 year olds, but intentional most of the time. Seriously...Afghani said Grace will stand next to her friends, smile, push them, and walk away. As soon as she is corrected, she gives that sweet little innocent look and says sorry.

Bottom line: She is the mean kid at day care right now and I am mortified.

Afghani wants to try discipline techniques we havent used before with Grace (taking away her favorite toy temporarily, telling her she has to play alone when she is hitting, distraction to a completely different activity) and to do away with time-outs at home. Maybe there is something going on with Grace that we havent noticed (can a 2 year old be stressed or upset or any of that!?). My diagnosis is that she is having issues with not being the center of attention all the time. At home, she hits and all this when we are not paying absolute attention to her (we are cooking dinner and she is in the room but not the center of our conversation, etc). Its a bigger problem when we are not at our house and there are other kids/dogs/people/who and what ever around that she has to share attention with. Could it be as simple as that?!

What the heck has gotten into my sweet little girl!? What would I say to these moms next time I see them? Do I mention it or let it lay and deal only with Afghani when it comes to this issue? Should I expose her to times when I know she will do these things so I can correct her immediately? Should I not allow her to play with other kids for awhile until I can figure out what is going on?

I always thought I was on top of this parenting thing---that I was doing a decent job. But now, when my daughter is having a problem, I am clueless on how to fix this!! HELP!


Bri said...

Honestly, I'll probably be bludgened to death on the internet for this. BUT. My parents used the naughty step until it didn't work anymore. Then I got a spanking. Three times in my life. But the fear was there. I knew if I didn't curb the attitude, etc., that I could end up on the naughty step and if I still persisted I'd get spanked. Might want to step up your game if Gracie seems to have conquered the naughty step...

How's that for contraversial advice?!?!

So-Called Supermom said...

Hey---controversary makes the world go round, my friend!!! Seriously though---so embarassing to stand there and be told your daughter is beating up the other kids and other parents are noticing. What a way to make a mom feel like shit!

A said...

So obviously I don't have kids but I'd assume a few things. First, it's a stage-a sucky one but one I think 99% of kids go through. Of course, that doesn't mean you should ignore it. She is the center of attention at home, so maybe like you used to do when she was an infant force her to have time to herself, to understand that she can't always have all of the attention. And maybe when she is bad don't JUST make her apologize (I've seen that sweet looking you're talking about) but have her apologize and still make her be quiet or take a toy for a bit-just so she knows that smiling sweetly will not be her get out of jail free card. And of course, I'd talk to the daycarista--she's got lots of experience and you'll be reinforcing whatever she's doing there. As for the other parents-head held high girly. You're a great mom who's got a daughter with...God Forbid...a will of her own! :) And if it's REALLY wierd (which I doubt it'll be) go straight to them and say "I understand that there was some concern about Gracie pushing (much like your biting btw), thanks for having the daycarista bring it to my attention". Smile sweetly, and keep on moving so as to not get in a huge discussion. They'll know you know and you're working on it. No one can ask more. And I have to agree w/ Bri-I got spanked a few times in my life, and I'm none the worse for wear.

Colleen said...

I SO completely feel your pain. My daugher (17 months old) is going through this same thing right now. It makes me feel awful. She's been doing it off and on since around 10 months old. It started with scratching and now she's pulling hair and sometimes pushing or pinching. It's terrible! The daycare at my gym hinted yesterday that if I can't get this under control they may not allow her back. She is the sweetest, most wonderful girl, but she has this streak in her too. And, she does it at home when we're not making her the center of attention (just like you said your daughter does too).

I wrote in to Ask Moxie for help and here is what she and her commenters had to say:


I've read books, talked to our pediatrician and asked family and friends for solutions. I'm doing everything they are saying short of using timeouts (I thought she was too young...maybe not!).

I don't know if any of this helps you with your problem but I hope it helps to know you're not alone in dealing with this. I feel the shame of the daycare workers eyes on me every time I pick her up. I don't know what else to do other than what I'm doing (see Ask Moxie link above to see all that we're doing about this). If I'm with her, I hover around her to keep her from acting out. But, when I'm not there I obviously can't do that and I have to rely on others (daycare staff) to help out.

I know it's very distressing. If you hear of any ideas I'm not trying that work for you could you email me on my blog to let me know? I hope things get better soon for both of us! This parenting stuff is tough.

Mary P. said...

Poor you!

I have a couple of quick responses to this. First, in my daycare it's the rare child who will continue biting for more than three weeks. Hitting is, for whatever reason, harder to eliminate - but months and months? Very few kids persist that long. Let's do what we can to see what we can do to prevent THAT! :-)

Second, it is my policy NOT to tell the other parents which child was the aggressor. Now, if the victim can speak, the parents will find out anyway, but I don't name names. How does it help the other parent to know whose kid bopped their kid? It just creates awkward situations like the one you're in. Moreoever, if the parents don't know who it is, they're less likely to talk about that parent amongst them. It's just good policy to be discreet.

However, if the problem is persistent, continuing more than a month, or if the same child seems to be being victimized and is going home with marks, that changes things.

Okay. All that's policy and practice for the daycare. Discretion is a professional skill, and a daycare person learns when and how to implement it.

The rest? I'll email you, okay?

KatieJoeandGrace said...

First of all, MOST kids go through that stage, so it is not about YOU being a decent parent or not. You are a GREAT mother- I can tell even from just the pictures, so I can imagine people who know you in person can verify that 10X over!
Secondly, there are so many ways to discipline children, but I don't think there is a right or wrong way- it's just finding the right way that works for her that is the trick. Maybe call her pediatrician and see what they recommend?! I know that I was spanked as a child and it worked, so maybe it is time for that. Or some of the other things that the daycare provider suggests. I think the main thing is to be consistent in your choice of discipline so she will know what will happen if she does these things.
Finally, I would address the other mothers. Not to defend yourself or your daughter, but to get ideas on discipline. Maybe they are doing something that works... And rest assured, they will probably have to do the same things with their children eventually too- since it seems like kids all hit that stage at different times.
God help me when my Grace does it! :-)
You'll be fine!