Connecting moms in Polk County, Fla.
Our son who is in kindergarten has just begun to be very defiant. His teacher recently took a maternity leave and there's a new one. Is this a part of it? How should we handle it?
My husband and I learned the hard way that the more defiant our 6-year-old son became the harder we came down on him just made things worse. The stricter we became the more he acted out and took his time about doing anything we asked him to do. Plus, he didn't do anything like he was supposed to. Everything was done halfway. When I talked to his teacher about it she suggested we give him time-outs but they were totally different than what we expected. She suggested for us to allow him to have an area away from the family that was filled with large pillows to sit or lay on, plants and his favorite music. We soon discovered that when he was in a grumpy, defiant mood, we'd tell him to go have a little time away and come back when he was rested. This worked great because that's what she did to the students in her class and he was familiar with the system. Maybe try this with your son and see if it works. - Anne S. in San Bernardino, CA
Children this age very much like consistency in their life, including the same people, especially a teacher. They can get quite attached. When there are sudden changes in their regulated lifestyle and schedules, it can be pretty upsetting. Even though the original teacher most likely reminded the kids frequently that she would be leaving soon to have her baby but would return before they knew it, when it actually happens, it can be unsettling. You'll be amazed how much better things will get when you let him know that you're on his side by stating obvious facts, like how much you know he and the other kids liked his kindergarten teacher and will miss her. Tell him that you will also be happy when she returns. Try to keep the other things in his life positive. For example, when he does something you've asked him to do at the time when you ask, praise him. This is also an age where children are trying to be independent as well. Maybe try to let him make some choices about dinner, movies, etc, to help him feel more empowered. However, if he becomes highly defiant by testing the waters or giving unacceptable back talk, he still has to know that his behavior is unacceptable and that the same consequences will be applied.
CAN YOU HELP?
We will be having a birthday party for our boss at my house in a couple of months. I want it to be a time where the adults can have fun and relax. It's for this reason that I'm going to hand write on the invitations that it's for grown-ups only. While 90 percent of my co-workers agree, there's still a few that rolled their eyes. Is it acceptable to ask people not to bring kids or is there something wrong with doing so?
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