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3yo Hitting Parents

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  • 3yo Hitting Parents

    I have a 3yo whose parents plead, negotiate, and cajole at drop off and pick up. He's acting out more and more at those two transition points, and they're allowing him to slap them and kick at them, saying things like "Now, that's not nice!" and "Please don't hit me" over and over again. Eventually he melts down, they continue trying to verbally negotiate, and then they lose their temper and start snapping. Finally they leave when they've gotten completely fed up--either leaving him here, at drop off, or picking him up and carrying him at pick up.

    So I have two obvious concerns here: first, that the other children and parents are seeing this and learning to associate it with my daycare, and second, that even though this kid hasn't started hitting me YET, he absolutely will soon.

    How do you handle this? So far, I've said to the parents that I'm concerned about the slapping I see at drop off and pick up, and that at age three, he's not emotionally able to be talked down from his big feelings at transitions. We're doing bye-bye and pick up outside, but the journey from the car to the door and back is a struggle and I see him rolling around on the ground.

    I know it's not my job to parent for them, but it IS my job to make sure that people on my property are behaving themselves, and that's not happening. Should I give them a warning that if he slaps or kicks me, he'll need to be picked up immediately and stay out for the day? Should I set an ultimatum on the behavior that happens between the car and my house? Do you send kids home for aggression against their own parents on your property?

    And once I draw a line in the sand, they're going to ask for tips. What tips would you give them?

  • #2
    I would continue with the outside pick up/drop offs as that is the easiest and best way to not only shield the other kids from witnessing the behavior but also eliminate the audience that sometimes contributes to this behavior.

    As for tips, I'd tell the parents to get on board with the 1,2 3 method of guidance and discipline for the child.
    They need to clearly of their expectations for drop off/pick up etc...


    They need to "remind" him of the expectation (#1) when the struggles begin BEFORE the hitting starts
    Then "warn" him of the consequence (#2)
    Then stop talking/negotiating etc and just go.

    You can take it from there.....I am assuming since you didnt mention it, that you aren't having issues with him after they drop off.

    At pick up it's the same thing.

    If they practice the 1, 2, 3 Method at home for other things, they'll see a calmer, better behaved child since he will begin to know and understand the limits and boundaries of his behaviors. He will start to feel more secure and thus behave more positively for them.

    It's the negotiating and the eventual melt down the parents are displaying that is "showing" him how to behave now and it's not really working that well. lol!

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    • #3
      I would tell the parents they need to drop-offs and pick-ups outside until they get it under control. They can figure it out, it is their responsibility, not yours.

      This is a parenting issue, not a childcare issue.
      Last edited by Cat Herder; 1 week ago.

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      • #4
        I warn parents before they enroll that I do not tolerate having to witness power struggles between parent and child.
        Parents can stay and chat, but the minute the child starts acting up they need to leave, with or without their kid

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        • #5
          We had drop off outside this morning as usual, and the day was going well until he got aggressive with another child, and when I stepped in and separated them he took several swipes at me, I stepped back and made eye contact with him, and he advanced and deliberately hit me. So he has been picked up and we will try again tomorrow. Is that how you guys handle it when kids this age hit you? Immediate contact for pick up?

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          • #6
            "Is that how you guys handle it when kids this age hit you? Immediate contact for pick up?"

            If I had a three year old hitting me, I would help the parent find a center with low ratios and two teachers in the room. Then, I'd term because the kid has outgrown my services. I offer many, many services local centers don't, remediating violent behaviors is not one of them.

            If I had an 14 month old hitting me, I would come up with a behavior plan to correct the behavior before it becomes an issue. I would look for escalation patterns, triggers, and environmental issues and begin, there.
            Last edited by Cat Herder; 1 week ago.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Pestle View Post
              We had drop off outside this morning as usual, and the day was going well until he got aggressive with another child, and when I stepped in and separated them he took several swipes at me, I stepped back and made eye contact with him, and he advanced and deliberately hit me. So he has been picked up and we will try again tomorrow. Is that how you guys handle it when kids this age hit you? Immediate contact for pick up?
              I would work with a toddler, but a 3yr old? No way! He would be picked up immediately and terminated on that day

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              • #8
                Boy, this isn’t going to be good. I only have three kids in care currently, because the fourth is out of state indefinitely, and I’m pretty sure my other toddler will get pulled when this kid leaves. And the one who’s out of state has been with us because of the close relationship with the three-year-old and the other toddler—they are all in the same employer community together.

                I understand that wishful thinking or my financial needs can’t change the behaviors and needs of a growing toddler, and I understand that I need to have more experience and policies in place for when children age out with a bang.

                It’s just going to be very painful if I lose 75% of my income and the good will of this particular (and large) community here in town, so I’m gonna have to be very careful about how I manage this.

                Most of the reputable centers around here have waitlists over a year long.

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                • #9
                  If you can’t take a financial loss, I would say to keep requesting immediate pick up maybe one or two more times before I’d term. However, I would be looking to fill the spot right now. A 3YO hitting an adult is totally unacceptable.

                  With waitlists in your area that long, I would think it would be fairly easy to fill the spot if there is a high demand for childcare. I keep a running wait list and fill the spot usually within a week of a family leaving. You never know when a parent is going to lose their job or decide to be a stay at home parent.

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                  • #10
                    Also, I don’t think I’d be too worried about the other families leaving. You could be overthinking that part - trust me, I overthink too 😉

                    You’d be surprised at how many parents know kids are going to be kids. If you are fair BUT firm, many adults will understand your decision to terminate. They also might respect you more if you do term. From a parent stand point, if the child is capable and comfortable hitting an adult, the same child is more than capable/comfortable hitting my child.

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                    • #11
                      Unfortunately, the high demand is mainly for infant care. I’m not comfortable taking more infants than I can easily get out of the house in an emergency, and it won’t even be a possibility until I am licensed, and licensing is a hot mess right now. They do say that they have everything they need from me and it’s all down to their schedule.

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                      • GirlMomma
                        GirlMomma commented
                        Editing a comment
                        That’s where the demand is here, too. I don’t take infants anymore. I realized it was too much work & the risk wasn’t worth it to me. Maybe if I could charge more I might consider it 😅
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