Inappropriate e-mail from our daycare provider?

Susan - posted on 05/16/2012 ( 5 moms have responded )

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My son is 5 years old and has been going to the same in-home daycare since he was 1 (I also have a 2 1/2 year old that goes there as well.) There is an 8 year old boy that goes there as well and has been "picking" on my 5 year old. The other day, my 5 year old (Rob) had new shoes and was asking the 8 year old (Austin) if he liked them. Austin wouldn't answer him, so Rob kept asking. Austin finally, very meanly, said, "No. I don't like your shoes." This, of course, upset my son. The daycare provider told my son, "It doesn't matter." My son took it to mean that his feelings don't matter, and was almost in tears that night. We talked through it and he wanted to tell the daycare provider that his feelings were hurt. So we went the next day and he started to tell her, and she again said, "It doesn't matter" (in front of me this time). My son was almost in tears again, so I spent several minutes comforting him and holding him. After I was sure he has calmed down, I left and went to work. This is the e-mail that was waiting for me from our daycare provider:
"Hey...I know you're not one that likes to receive parenting advice but since our time is limited, I figured it wouldn't hurt. You really cannot coddle him through life like you do or he will never learn how to handle things on his own. I know you're going to tell me he's only five, but life lessons start very young and if you let kids live and learn a bit on their own, they are better set up for the many challenges life will throw at them.
This whole thing with Austin - who really cares? Would you care if someone told you they didn't like the type of shoes you wear? That is just a little thing that should not affect you at all, really. You know that, why are you making it such a big deal to Rob? He's in school now, kids will always be nasty - I promise you that. And you (as his mom) can't do anything about most of them - trust me. Our girls both came to us early on with some story of someone saying this or that to them. Do you know what we told them? 'Who cares? We love you, you are awesome - that's all that matters in life.' Now we don't hear these issues anymore...that doesn't mean they went away, it just means they (the girls) now know how to deal with them.
Austin is a boy and he's 8. If you remember, Cory did the same types of things. And guess what? Rob will to. He's already told Kota that he doesn't like something...remember that first day that happened? It happens - they ALL do it. If I hear that happen while they are in my home, I will (and have) tell them to be nice, don't say those things. I did NOT hear any conversation yesterday about Rob's shoes. Do you know what Rob does all day long? He asks everyone if they like his shoes or his shirt - over and over. Austin (being an 8 year old boy) got tired it and told him no. Oh well...who really cares, right? You shouldn't care and you shouldn't help Rob carry it on for so long. He's going to have a really tough life if you continue to make such issues out of such little things.
I know you are mad at me, I'm guessing it's because you don't think I handled that issue properly. How do you want me to handle it? Do you want me to tell Austin's mom that he told Rob he doesn't like his shoes? She will just look at me and laugh - seriously. In the big bad world, that is nothing - you will soon learn that. Your boys are still very young...just wait.
I'm not saying that I am some sort of expert on the issue of kids and parenting, but I will say that I've dealt with a lot of kids and parents and I feel that I do know a thing or two about raising kids - even boys, yes. Of all my parents, you are my first mom that over thinks EVERYTHING like you do. I am also an over thinking mom...but you are way over the top. You have to let your boys (especially Rob) live a little. It only hurts them in the end if you don't. I wish we could see the future...if something doesn't change for Rob - he's really going to have it tough. I worry about TONS of things with him. You are setting him up for that kind of life. I know that's hard to take, but that is what I (and many others) see.
Sorry about this email, but after all these years together, I feel that I needed to tell you these things. I know I won't be the last one to do so."
Is it just me or is this a totally inappropriate and unprofessional e-mail? PS - I have already given notice and we are changing daycares within a couple of days.

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Susan - posted on 05/17/2012

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Jen, I appreicate your opinion, but this is not about whether I am right or wrong. This is about my 5 year old son and whether sending an e-mail attacking me and y son was an appropriate way to handle the situation. I appreciate that she and I have differing opinions, but expressing your opinion like that via an email is unprofessional and not an appropriate way to deal with someone you have considered a friend for the last 4 years.

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OK, maybe unprofessional, If she wanted to get this out in the open she could have made an appointment for a face to face chat. But is one kid telling another kid he doesn't like the shoes after being asked a million times such a big deal? She does have a point about teaching your little one to deal with negative comments from others. Yes, I get that he is only five, my boy is also only 5 but he is also being taught that people don't always agree and don't always like the same things and that's ok. You are the boy's Mum, you can comfort him and make him feel better, but where ever he goes he will face situations like this and you can teach him how to deal with it and accept it without compromising his self esteem.
As for the day care provider, she may be a little hard, but she is doing it out of care and not out of malice.
And Austin? He was asked his opinion and he gave it, this does not make him a bully.

Krista - posted on 05/16/2012

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I would be irritated as well. That was very unprofessional. All she had to do was tell Austin that it is not nice to make negative comments on other peoples' appearance, and it would have been settled. She's making it about YOUR son being the problem, instead of Austin's rude comments being the problem. Attitudes like that are why it is so easy for bullies to get away with their behaviour.

I would simply respond by saying, "Thank you for your unsolicited advice about my parenting. I will be sure to give it the consideration it deserves. In the meantime, I have secured alternative arrangements for daycare, as I do not agree with your philosophy that when one child treats another child poorly, the onus lies upon the latter child to simply 'suck it up'. My opinion is that you not only missed an important opportunity to teach Austin how he should treat others, but you then validated his behaviour by focusing on my son and his reaction. If that is how you raised your children, then that is your prerogative, but I prefer to teach my children that they should treat others with respect and kindness, rather than teach them that they can go ahead and treat people badly, and it is up to the other person to simply deal with it."

September - posted on 05/16/2012

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Opinion and thoughts such as these should never be put in an email and should be talked about face to face imo. I would be pissed! You both obviously have two different ways of parenting and who is she to say she's right and you're wrong? A child that is upset should always be comforted and made to feel better, that's what a loving parent does.

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