I feel so guilty....should I?

Jackie - posted on 10/22/2010 ( 27 moms have responded )

3

20

0

I stay at home with my 3 year old son. He has really bad seperation anxiety! Once a week for 2 and 1/2 hours he goes to preschool. I usaually do not warn him in the morning when he has to go because he cries at the THOUGHT of going. When i drop him off he is hysterical saying "please lets just go home, I"ll even go night night "(which means nap). The teacher sais he stops crying within minutes of me leaving, and he has fun, but I get so stressed out leading up to dropping him off because I know how upset he gets. I almost feel like pulling him out of school because of my guilt. Any one else feel like this or have advice?

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

[deleted account]

Susan, this particular post isn't about an infant. It's about a 3 year old. No, preschool is not necessary at this age, but that doesn't automatically make it harmful either. I've got 2 girls that started preschool for 25 hours a week just 2 months after turning 3. They are in the fourth grade now... extremely well adjusted, sociable, confident, and at the tops of their classes. Preschool wasn't responsible for that, but it certainly didn't harm them any.... :)

Alison - posted on 10/22/2010

2,753

20

466

No, you should not feel guilty. However, you should warn him beforehand. I made up a little song for my girls that I sing when it is time to go to daycare "It's time to go to daycare and have lots of fun!" (I usually stop and let them fill in the "fun". We talk about their friends that they are going to see and name them one by one. We talk about what we are going to do afterward. I explain to them that I would love to be with them all day every day, but I have to go to work to pay for ...

You also might want to help him to feel he has some control in the situation. Let him choose one transitional object that he can take with him. My girls often want to take a doll, a book or some crazy accessory, even though they have to give it back to me or leave it in their cubby hole once we arrive.

Stop letting yourself feel guilty. This is good for him and for you! And I would argue that he does not have "really bad separation anxiety" if it all stops within minutes of you leaving.

Varina - posted on 10/24/2010

15

51

1

I think he's picking up on your anxiety about leaving him. You need to be in a happy frame of mind when you take him there. If he calms down within minutes of you leaving then he really doesn't have an issue. Assess your feelings, get your mind in a calm, happy place .. and he will be less stressed.

JuLeah - posted on 10/25/2010

3,133

38

681

Well, and I say this as a pre-school teacher, one day a week is so hard on little ones. It is like the first day of school each time they go. Kids that go every day develop friendships, finds toys they love, get comfortable with the set up. Is there a way you can circle back and watch your son without him seeing you?
When you come to pick him up, how is he?
I knew many kids over the years who screamed at the top of their lungs and stopped the second mom walked out of the room.
It felt like the kid thought that was expected. It felt like the kid was picking up on moms' feelings and expressing them in a way she could not. Kids are amazing with this ability.
Break up the routine. Drive to school with someone and have them take him in maybe, or just have someone else drive him.

Krista - posted on 10/22/2010

12,562

16

842

I like the idea of letting him choose a transitional object to bring -- something that comforts him. You can also let him choose what outfit to wear to preschool that day. All of this will give him a bigger sense of control.



What I would recommend is when he freaks out, acknowledge it. Say, "(Name) is scared! And sad! He wants to stay with Mommy! But right now you're going to preschool to see your friends and have lots of fun, and Mommy will be back soon, soon, soon." This shows him that you understand his feelings, which should hopefully calm him down enough to hear your reassurance.



Once in awhile, pick him up early from preschool. It reassures him that you're not abandoning him there.



And as well, talk to the other parents to see how their kids are doing, to make sure that there isn't anything fishy about the preschool itself. There might not be -- a little boy at my son's daycare screams and cries every morning when his mom drops him off, but is fine 5 minutes after she leaves. I've seen it with my own eyes.



There is nothing wrong with teaching a child of that age a LITTLE bit of independence. It's all baby steps, teaching him to handle short separations, which will be easier than going from 24/7 of Mommy to suddenly being in school for 8 straight hours a day.

If you see this, leave this form field blank.
Powered by RESPECT not THUMPS

27 Comments

View replies by

Skyblue57 - posted on 10/25/2010

0

3

1

This is not at all unusual, especially for his age. Even the stopping of his tears once he knows you are gone is very normal. Comfort yourself this way -- the next time you drop him off, leave as usual, but once out of sight, get where you can hear him so you know he has stopped crying. (The center may even have a closed circuit TV in an office that they might let you watch him for a minute.) Parents are often stunned at this. I worked in children's ministries over 20 years. I've seen this happen a LOT. The mom is usually suffering way more than the child. You need confidence he is okay.

Jen - posted on 10/25/2010

9

8

0

Jackie, I know firsthand how hard it is to drop the little ones off. My daughter was diagnosed with Autism in October of 2006. She was able to start school at the age of 3, so we enrolled her in a PPCD class. I will never forgot those days. I literally had to sneak out of the room when her back was to me. She would scream and cry...but a few minutes after I left, her teacher would be able to redirect her attention to start her day. Please keep him in school and you should not feel guilty. As long as he is able to settle down after you leave and have a good time...then he is fine!!! Use the time he is away, to regroup your thoughts and find time for YOU!! My daughter is 6 years old now, in mainstream 1st grade and loves to go to school. =) Then again, it works wonders if your school has great teachers, which I hope it does!!! =D

Kay - posted on 10/25/2010

1

12

0

This reminds me of my first child she would do this to me every week like yourself I would only put her in for 2 1/2 hours while i was doing a course. She would put on such a performance they got me to watch through the window and she would jump up and run and play like nothing had happened. She is 28 and has children of her own now. She survived and is secure and happy so dont whip yourself too much you need some space occasionally too and its good for him to mix with other kids...:))

Brandi - posted on 10/24/2010

22

15

0

If i were you since he is ok when you do leave I would actually start taking him more hours a week. My aunt watches kids for a living and as soon as the parents leave the kids go straight for the toys and don't even say anything about their parents til it gets close to time to leave in the evenings. They all do it, but I would slowly increase his preschool hours a week. The teacher isn't going to lie to you s/he will tell you if he is having problems.

[deleted account]

He doesn't need to go to preschool at this age, but if he's having fun while there.... I'd leave him in... as long as you can trust the word of the teacher that he IS fine once you are gone. Do you ever leave him w/ a sitter? Does he act the same? If so, then that's your answer. If not, I'd check in to the school a bit more... Maybe drop by unannounced halfway through sometime just to check for yourself.

I would definitely prepare him for the day ahead of time though.

Sneaky - posted on 10/22/2010

1,170

33

130

Oh dear! My little monsters tried that act too! If he is calming down and doing fine (and having fun) after you leave, then it is just that 'separation' moment that is upsetting him. You do need to bite the bullet and warn him (maybe have a special toy or blankie that he can only have on pre-school days so you can be excited about it - 'look you get to take ....... to school tomorrow'.

I have two suggestions - first off, don't prolong the dropping off. If you need to enlist the help of the pre-school teacher, carry him in, a big hug and a kiss, say 'I'll see you soon', hand him to the teacher and leave. The longer you stay as his audience the longer he will be hysterical - and I know it's hard, my second daughter was the same, but I would just remind myself that leaving as quickly as possible was the best thing for her because it meant that she would calm down faster.

Secondly, you should probably have him in pre-school more than one day a week. The more often you get him there and drop him off the faster he will realise that a) the hysterics don't work and b) mum always comes back.

I know that the idea is scary - I missed my babies sooooo much when they started pre-school, and the fits they would throw would some times make me feel physically ill, but now I LOVE having some time to myself and they both love to go to pre-school (I'm lucky to get a kiss goodbye now!).

It is probably better to get him through this now, it would be a lot worse if you were trying to drop him off at elementary school everyday and he was throwing hysterical fits.

Good luck, I know it sucks, and it hurts but you ARE a good mummy and good mummies need at least 2.5 hours a week to themselves!!!!!!

[deleted account]

i don't know Jackie. Does he act like that any other time you drop him off any where else? I had my son in home-care daycare at age 2 and for months and months and months he would cry murder every morning when I would drop him off. Then my 11 year old neice came to visit during the summer and had to stay there, too. At first, I thought she was just being a brat, both of them. But I soon found out, 8 months later, that the provider had a drinking problem on top of making my son sit on the toilet to potty train for more than 2 hours at a time!!!! AND she wouldn't allow my neice to play/interact with him because she said she was smothering him.
I thought my kids needed some discilpline because this woman's children were all very upright, respectful, good students, teen pageant winners, honor roll, everything. So, it was good, right? No. Not at all. I found out from the caregivers best friend to remove my children from her care, as a word of advice. Not realizing what was really happening in there.
My son at the time had only been cared for by his grandmother before I brought him to a homecare facility. I thought it was just change. It wasn't. It was a pure and innocent cry for help. And I regret not listening.
Don't let moms bully you into that tough love crap. Use your instincts. Not your guilty feelings.

Gillian - posted on 10/22/2010

1

10

0

Hi Jackie I went through this with my. It is all for your benefit. You know that he stops when you have gone and has a good time. My son was screaming one day. I went stood outside so could not see me and with a minute he had stopped.

Kari - posted on 10/22/2010

23

0

1

Only you know your child best, so I'm going to give suggestions from both perspectives...If it's not necessary for him to go to preschool, then you might want to reconsider. Some children do better if they are eased into separation from Mom and Dad. You might want to try regular playdates first, if you haven't already. As he gets comfortable with those children and adults, you could leave for 15 minutes and then build up that time. I was a preschool teacher of 2 and 3-year-olds for several years. I had a couple of students who did the same thing. They would cry, and then be fine within a few minutes. If you need to continue with preschool, I would recommend discussing options with the teacher - be open to her suggestions. I also like the idea of a transitional item, as posted by Alison. If he has a blanket or stuffed animal, etc, that gives him a sense of security, I'm sure the teacher would be willing to work with that. At first, he might want it the whole time, but teachers are great at distraction, and she could probably ease him from the need of that item. The key is to figure out a way to make it less stressful for the child.

Avvy - posted on 10/22/2010

68

0

11

The good news is ,he settles down after you leave.Separation anxiety is very normal and with proper encouragement and a positive mommie attitude it will all be fine.

Tausha - posted on 10/22/2010

12

12

0

Jackie,
Please do ot feel guilty. He is in the conditioned behavior to cry when you leave him. You know he is going to stop shortly after you leave and have fun, right? Do you have anyone that could take him in the morning for you? When you pick him up - it will back to Mommy time. Have you tried "playing school" with him? Maybe if you do this and then tell him he is "going to school" it won't be so traumatic when he is dropped off by you becasue he will be looking forward to going to school to teach Mommy something.

Schyla - posted on 10/22/2010

644

68

104

I had no other option when I put my girls into preschool they were 18 months and 3 and half. My little one LOVED it and the older one cried at just the idea of having to leave mommy. She too would calm down and enjoy most of her day. A part of me want to tell you there is no rush in educating him and if it's just once a week it might just be good for him to stay home with you IF he was screaming the entire time. However since he's only crying for a few minutes I think you should stick it out a few more weeks. If you feel your son needs to be in preschool then let him be. If he's just there cause it's what everyone else is doing and you HIS mother and the one who knows him best don't feel like he is ready then pull him out and wait till next year and try a pre-K class or a head start program if your worried he won't be ready for Kendergarden. Once I lost my job I pulled my kids out of their preschool program and they didn't like that anymore then they liked it when I first put them there. Now My older child is in a head start program and we had like three tearful moments but she's doing wonderful and NOW I think she's ready for Kindergarten next year.

Marcy - posted on 10/22/2010

1,042

1

277

Jackie I think to some degree all kids go through this. Honestly, because you are only dropping him off once a week for a few hours it might be harder on him then if you had more of a regular routine which was the same daily...if possible. my son cried for weeks but then one day he just stopped. Here is a little trick that might help. I got him "No Crying" stickers. I went out and bought a bunch of different stickers and put them in a small photo album. When he got to school he got to pick 2 (one for each hand) I would put the sticker on his hand, kiss it and tell him that my kiss was under the sticker for him to have all day long. Perhaps the separation anxiety is on your end as well? I would really start playing up school rather than not tell him. Talk about dropping him off and picking him up and all the fun he is going to have. Its tough.....good luck!

Susan - posted on 10/22/2010

35

11

2

Just to add to my last post, I'm surprised at reading how many people think it is 'good' to leave a small infant and let them cry. They are crying for mommy and need a MOTHERS nuturing and love. They won't get that from hired help at a day-care or preschool. They are going to have plenty of time to be with other kids. What is the rush nowadays? Studies show that kids that don't go to pre-school or day care have better self esteem and self awareness than those who do, do better academically. Also that they are better adjusted adults. I think the only reason you feel guilty is because your motherly instinct is telling you this isn't the best thing, but society tells you it is. Good luck with whatever you choose.

Susan - posted on 10/22/2010

35

11

2

You will get a lot of different opinions, but mine is that he is too little and still needs his mommy. He has the rest of his life to be in school and 'socialized' as some people say. I'm sure he is around playmates and family and that should be sufficient for now. 2 other things to think about. 2 and a half hours isn't very long. Is there something happening there that makes him afraid? Does he act this way with a babysitter if you and your husband go out? Just food for thought.

Jane - posted on 10/22/2010

1,041

5

69

I agree 100% with what Julie says. Your guilt is your own...own it and then disguard it. He's learning to be without you and that's a GOOD thing! Do not take him out of school...he's just fine!

Julie - posted on 10/22/2010

619

35

71

No one can make you feel guilty without your consent. Take your son's teacher at her word (why would she lie?), say bye to your son and walk out the door. Remind yourself he is just being dramatic and that he is in good hands. Then, find a way to center yourself again, be it meditation, prayer, soothing music and a cup of your favorite beverage, etc ... Try not to dwell on it and talk about what fun things he does while at school.

Easier said than done, but you can do it!

Jessica - posted on 10/22/2010

477

15

66

I wouldn't feel guilty at all. It is good for him going to school. Right now is the best time because otherwise when Kindergarten comes around it is going to be so much harder and you can't pull him out of Kindergarten. He also needs that time with other children his age and children tend to learn better from someone other then their parent's...they also tend to learn better when they have peers learning along with them.

Angie - posted on 10/22/2010

2,621

0

406

I don't think this is unusual. I wouldn't pull him out - I didn't pull my daughter out when she did the same. Poor girl used to beat on the reinforced glass in the door until I was sure she'd put her fist through it. I would sit in the parking lot around the corner from her classroom and I could hear her screaming. The teacher would allow her to stay unless she carried on for more than 15 minutes. In time, she came to love going to school. I won't say it was a quick process. It really took a few months..... Keep working at it, your son will benefit from it.

Amy - posted on 10/22/2010

6,339

33

2383

I wouldn't pull him out, your little one needs to adjust unless your going to homeschool him. We enrolled our son who is 4 in preschool so he gets to socialize and gets used to leaving us because he's never been away from us other than to his grandparents. We have to call it playschool and he loves it. However there are places we have to go that he hates, like the dentist and we always tell him beforehand so he has time to adjust and we always talk about something fun we'll do together whenwe get home like paint a picture or watch a movie together!

Rebecca - posted on 10/22/2010

35

0

5

ahh hun, well my littlen is only 5 months, though i had a friend with a year old that was the same every time for about 6-8 weeks then she suddenly stopped crying as she new that it made no difference whether she cryed or not she was still going and if your littlen was crying all the time they would inform. what we used to do is tell her she was going for icecream or watch her fav cartoon after play school if she was good and did not cry, it took a while but got there in end good luck xx

If you see this, leave this form field blank.
Powered by RESPECT not THUMPS

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms