Yesterday I got a call from the daycare saying that Bug had spit at her teacher. This of course is not acceptable behavior and I was horrified. I had to think of something quick to nip that issue in the bud!
I thought about the fact that she adores her movies and often likes to watch a bit of one after school, sort of in the same way I want some time out to wind down. I decided that taking her movies away would be the most effective way of dealing with this at home. Even better would be to make her pack them up herself. My original idea was that they needed to be put away for a week.
I called my mom, who asked me to remember that she is 3, and this was very 3 yr old behavior, and that she wasn’t likely to understand the concept of a week or that it is too long for a first offense. I took that into account.
I went up to daycare and got the full story. She had been perfectly obstinate all morning. She was asked to pick up her toys. She refused. She then decided she needed to use the potty. After she was done she played in the water at the sink. She was asked twice to turn it off, and when she did not, her teacher went over and shut off the water. She was again asked to join the group and put things away. She screamed at the top of her lungs “NO!!!” and spit at the teacher. The teacher, having never encountered such behavior in my bug before, told her that if she kept this up, she would be taken to the office. Bug told her “FINE!” and so teacher thought she better follow through with what she said she would do. Which is when I was called.
So I got the Bug in the car and we talked about it on the way home. I told her that she would have to pack up her movies for the evening. She, of course, cried telling me that she would not spit anymore if she can just have her movies. I told her that the punishment for spitting stands and that she would have to pack them up for the evening. We got home, I gave her a box, and even though she cried the whole time, she packed those movies up with no argument. We ended up having a pleasant evening. We talked about this being the punishment if she spit or hit. She made lists about spitting and hitting.
“If I spit at my teachers, I have to put my movies away”
“If I spit at my friends, I have to put my movies away”
“If I spit at Mommy, I have to put my movies away”
“If I hit Mommy, I have to put my movies away”
and so on.
This morning in the car, we talked about how she would need to apologize to her teacher. I told her that she may have already apologized but that I needed to hear her do it. I also tried to explain that when she is so naughty it affects other people, so the people in the office had to take time out to call me because she was naughty. So she also needed to apologize to the office workers. She told me she would do all this, and she did so with no trouble at all.
Her teacher wanted to tell me it was ok, that she apologized already, but I asked her to please help me enforce this lesson. She was happy to do so. The teacher explained that she was actually a bit concerned how I would react to her punishment of my daughter! That some parents really take issue with such things. I told her that appropriate punishment is necessary, and parents who don’t think so take away the power from the teachers, making the environment poor for the teachers and the other students. I told her that I thought parents like this should have to stay home with their own monsters! I asked her PLEASE to tell me if she was ever spitting or hitting, because I feel that it needs to be dealt with immediately.
Also, the teacher was concerned because it is such strange behavior for my Bug. But, she recognized that there were only 4 students in the class that day so even though they were in their normal routine, they were playing with different friends and so on than usual. I told her that I have long known that my Bug needs structure and routine and reacts poorly when things are different than she is expecting. It made me happy that her teacher seems to recognize this tendency in her as well. Maybe we will be able to alleviate some of Bug’s fears when such situations arise.