A creche story that raises questions about a child's tendencies

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz September 28, 2012 06:00 AM

[Ed note: creche is the word used for daycare in some European countries.This letter has been condensed.]


I'm having a problem with my boy, Liam, who turned 2 on the 4th of August. He was home with me his first year and I then needed to start working so he had to go to creche. Of course this was harder for Mommy than him and surprisingly enough he was quite happy to go to school....

All of a sudden 3 months down the line (aged 1 and 3 months), he started changing. One night, I lifted my hand as to tap him on his butt -- I wasn't going to -- as he was doing something he wasn't allowed after asking him to stop. Now I've never tapped nor smacked my child before nor has his father and I don't leave him anywhere else, he then grabbed his head, his eyes went big, he was petrified, started shaking and went and sat in the corner and blocked himself from me. I then turned to my husband and started crying and said to him, what in the world just happened! Following that, he all of a sudden didn't want to go to creche again. When I'd drop him off, he'd go stand with his face in the corner, ...and run away from them. This reaction upset me terribly. I knew something had happened and ...I needed to protect him and decided to take him out. I then kept him home for two weeks.

My boy stopped sleeping through the night from 6 months old and his sleeping has just gotten worse.... I cannot blame this on the creche incident as he only started creche 6 months after. [But] after having him home for two weeks, he went three days in a row without sleep.

[Then] I found a creche three houses from me and started with baby steps, first, every second day for an hour, then just a little while in mornings, then he went full day... [He continues to not] sleep at night ...[In the mornings,} when we turn in the direction of the creche, he screams and turns around, I literally have to drag him there. Once we get there, he's crying terribly, they say I must put him down and turn around but this kills me....The lady says once I'm gone, he stops.

I can't deal with doing this to him every morning, it's been going on for 7 months. Now I don't work, I am home so I've made the decision to take him out and keep him by me. Is this best for him? I try make all the right decisions but feel as a mother, I'm failing at everything at the moment.

From: Debbie, George (UK? France? Debbie doesn't say)


Need help with picky eaters? The French get it right

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz September 25, 2012 06:00 AM

[Ed note: the answer addresses these two similar questions]

1. In case you do any follow-up from your article in 2009, Her 4-year-old won't eat, I would want to know if having an alternative in the refrigerator defeats the whole purpose. I can't imagine my son trying something new if he knows something he likes or somewhat likes is available instead. He's stubborn to the nth degree. If he's hungry at meal time he'll make up for it at another meal or snack. If it's at night, he'll wait until breakfast. Even though he won't be happy. Nothing I read seems to work. :-(
Also, can't the child just fill up on the one food s/he likes? Or do you give a limited amount of the one food? That's what I see my son do at times.

From: Terri, Chicago.

2. My daughter is 6 months old. We've been feeding her stage one foods since she was 4 months, when she showed all the signs of being interested in food. But she seems to have regressed in the past week, pushing her food out with her tongue and generally being stubborn about eating. Is this typical behavior, and will she go back to loving to eat soon?

From: Patricia, Framingham, MA


Baby's stranger anxiety includes mom

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz September 24, 2012 06:00 AM

My 1yr. has been with my mom for 2 mos. When I went to visit her, all she did was cry. She didn't want anything to do with me. Why did she do that and what can I do to [re-establish] our relationship? My mom lives about 200 miles from me or I would visit, my mom took her because I was moving and wasn't sure when I would get a place. Now I am settled in and I want my baby back with us. What do I do?

From: Michelle, Lander, WY


Mom: Stop blaming the friend who's a "bad influence."

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz September 21, 2012 06:00 AM

Hi Barbara,

Three and a half years ago my husband had an affair with a neighbor. She and I weren't friends but we were friendly since we had children in school together. Our kids are now 13 and 16. I've since found out that she is not well-like in town. My husband and I separated and they stayed together for a few years but are now apart. My daughter never liked her daughter because she was the mean girl at school. They never played together or hung out. My daughter's friends weren't allowed to play with this girl either. After our separation when my husband had his visitation times, he would sleep at the girlfriend's house creating an environment that made my daughter have to play with her's. The girls eventually became friends since they were together so much. This girl is still the mean girl and she's rubbing off on my daughter. My daughter was never disrespectful to me, mean to other children or anything like that. She is a very good kid. She gets excellent grades and plays 2 sports. But lately she has been very disrespectful to me, talking back, gossiping about other girls, swearing and things like that. Now that my husband and this woman are no longer together, I don't want my daughter at her house. Even though I don't like that she's friends with this girl, I told her she can be friends with her but I don't want her hanging out at her house due to my feelings about this woman. This causes a huge fight everytime I find out that she's over there. My daughter always uses the excuse that the woman isn't home when they're there. I also think the girls shouldn't be in the house alone. Other parents have told me they don't let their children play there because there is no adult supervision a lot of the time. Obviously I despise this woman and don't want her near my children. Both my kids are aware of the affair. Am I wrong to not want her in that house?


Is this potty-training question a red flag about the caregiver?

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz September 20, 2012 06:00 AM

In response to your question and answer about "potty trained at daycare but not at home"... My little guy seems to be the same way. He will be 3 in two weeks and my sitter says he has been willing and able to use the big potty and wear underwear at her house. With my husband and I, however, the talk of underwear and the potty brings tears and seemed tress[ful] so we haven't pushed it and have really backed off. My sitter doesn't really seem to agree with this- she now also wants to stop since she claims I am confusing him. I had originality thought she could keep it up at her house and told her so as long as there were no tears and stress since my husband and I aren't comfortable with that. What do you think? Lay off at daycare as well and hope that training at home will come? Or keep it up at daycare and maybe this will help it happen at home too? Thanks so much for your help!!!

From: Catherine, Troy, MI


Toddler popping out of bed, with complications: twins!

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz September 19, 2012 06:00 AM

My daughter is 2 1/2 & has been getting out of bed at night for months. I have twins & they sleep in the same room. That is currently our only option. My husband & I are at wits end trying to keep her in her room. She'll scream for what seems like hours. We have pocket doors so locking them is out. We just have to stay up & take turns holding the door shut. Is there any advise you can give us?

From: Tina, Mundelein, IL


Potty-trained at daycare, not at home.

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz September 14, 2012 06:00 AM

Hi Barbara!
I am having problems potty with potty training. My daughter will be 3 in November and is completely trained at daycare. She uses underwear and asks to use the potty when she has to go. At home, it's a different story. She refuses to even sit on the potty and won't even wear pull-ups, it's diapers only. I've tried setting a timer for 30 minutes and that works until about lunch time and then she will refuse to try anymore. I've done stickers and m&m's and prizes from the dollar store and nothing seems to help. Her brother is 1 month old and everyone seems to say it's because of him, but the problem was even before he came home. I will admit now that he is here the problem is worse because she seems to purposely hold it. An example of this is the other day we sat on the potty (after a bribe) for a good 15 minutes and then when we walked into the living room she went in her pants and looked at me and said " I tell you I only go on da potty at Ms. Annie's house". My thoughts now is to totally back off. My question is do I still send her to daycare in her undies? Do I try pull-ups or just use diapers at home? Is backing off really what I should do? Any help will be appreciated. Thanks!!

From: Rachael, Marshfield, MA


Uh oh. She hates first grade already

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz September 13, 2012 06:00 AM

My 6yr old just started 1st grade and hates it. The first 3 days of school were ok. After that she cries every morning on the way to school and into the building. Daughter loved preschool and would cry if she had to miss a day. We didn't have a problem with kindergarten. My child was put into a inclusion class this yr. I am wondering if that has anything to do with her not wanting to go. Her complaint is that she doesn't have any of her friends in her class. I tell her that she has to make new friends. What should i do?

From: Jenn, VA


Should step son meet his half-sib?

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz September 11, 2012 06:00 AM

Hi, we have just been contacted by my stepson's half brother's father. My ss's brother is still an infant. We are conflicted because he and his partner want the two children to meet. The father of ss's brother is still in contact with the Bio Mother and that situation is very volatile at best. We don't trust the father's motives. Would introducing the children be wise? What ill effects can this have on the children?

From: Tilly, Australia


"Shy" first grader doesn't speak up in class

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz September 10, 2012 06:00 AM

I have a first grader who went to a private school for PreK and K but is now in a public magnet school for first grade. He is not much of a talker in class and is very shy. He has been reluctant in responding to the teachers questions in class. When the teacher asks questions in class he does not reply and tries to avoid eye contact, looks every other way except the teacher. If he does not understand the task, he will sit there instead of asking the teacher a question as how to do it. There are talkers in the class so the teacher is disciplining by telling everyone to keep quiet. He says that he is not allowed to speak in class because he will get in trouble but the teacher says she wants him to answer when she asks him something or when it is class discussion time. What should I do? Thanks

From: Natasha, Baton Rouge, LA


Why does 12-y-o pretend she's 8?

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz September 7, 2012 06:00 AM

My friend's daughter is 12 years old, but she believes she's only 8 and has behaved like a 8 year old since 1/2 year ago, by talking with [a] baby voice, refusing to go to the 7th grade because she thinks that's for older kids. Also, she thinks she's not pretty so that she asks her mom not to look at her when she's talking to her. She got her first period when she was ten, she's tall for her age for Chinese. Her grandmother, who lives with her, often tells her that it's too early for her to have her period. I wonder if that has anything to do with her acting. My question is how to help her to accept that she's 12 and why she refuses to grow up.

Thank you very much for your time.

From: Nini, Beijing China


Helping toddlers when there's a baby coming

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz September 6, 2012 06:00 AM

I'm expecting my second child in March 2013 and at that time the baby's older brother will be two. Recently I have noticed that he gets upset/jealous when I hold another baby or pay attention to another child. Which I feel is quite normal for a child his age, and being an only child at this time. But I wonder how he'll be when his brother/sister arrives next year. And is there anything I can do during my pregnancy to get him prepared? Or do I wait until the baby arrives to see how he reacts/adjusts? I would appreciate any advice you may have. Thank you.

From: Kristen, Boston, MA


This boy may be a follower. Is that so bad?

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz September 5, 2012 06:00 AM

[Ed's Note: This letter has been condensed.}
I have a wonderful son. He's healthy, happy and very smart. He's a great brother to his siblings....He's always been a rule follower, ... never one to take risks and seems to need to really think things through before going forward with anything new. We know that about him and we've allowed him to make his accomplishments in his own time.

He as well seems to consistently need acknowledgement from us and others. As a busy mother of 3 there are times when I cannot respond to his question/issue/idea right away. He seems to at times lack the understanding that just b/c I can't get to his issue right away, doesn't mean I'm not able to help in later or respond to him later.

My concern also comes from his interaction with other kids his age. Seeing him interact with other kids, we find he can take the role of the submissive. He's always being told "you have to be 'it'" during a game of tag, or other issues of the like. When I attempt to talk to him about it, he tells me, "I have to be, Mom, if I don't, the kids will just keep telling me I do."

We try to help him find other ways to respond to these situations but I'm not sure they are working or he's even using them.

We wonder in a way how do we make our son more assertive? Do we even try? Is this just who he is or is it something to do with age? In a pack mentality that I see on the school playground and in other groups, it breaks my heart to see him treated this way.

My husband and I try very hard not to interfere and allow him to find his own way, but it gets hard when you know what's going on and how other kids are treating him. In a way, I'm not sure he really sees what happening.

I guess we wonder if these issues are just being his age (7years 6 months) are more of his style/personality or a deeper issue that we need to address with his pediatrician.

Thank you-

From: LovingMom, Merrimack Valley, MA/NH


About the author

Barbara F. Meltz is a freelance writer, parenting consultant, and author of "Put Yourself in Their Shoes: Understanding How Your Children See the World." She won several awards for her weekly "Child Caring" column in the Globe, including the 2008 American Psychological Association Print Excellence award. Barbara is available as a speaker for parent groups.

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