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  1. #1
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    Help with a tough letter to a mom

    My questions:
    1) is this written in a way that I am not insulting the child
    2) how do I end this letter in a positive way?
    3) should I be putting in more detail about the behavioru I see?

    ____,

    I thought I should send you a detailed update on how ___ has been doing here as Iím sure youíve been wondering about the details of her day since our discussion regarding her spike in aggressive behaviour.

    _______has not put her hands on anyone since and I feel better about leaving the room for short periods of time (to prep snack, take a bathroom break, etc.) She will attempt to use her words when she feels upset but most times she will use her words in an attempt to manipulate or bully the other children, or even me, into getting her way. She will manipulate much like the way you described when she wanted ballerina music in the car. If the issue is over a toy she will do something like tell the child that she just wants to show them a new or different way to play the game. When the other child agrees to this she will simply take the toy and start playing, excluding that child from play. If the other child attempts to regain their toy ______will then yell at them and tell me that they are trying to take their toy or that no one will let her play by herself. She will bully children into getting her way by telling that she wonít be their friend and wonít play with them unless she gets to do X or be X. When she is either caught in one of these act or spoken to about how to play fair, share, etc she simply becomes upset/angry and behaviour amplifies instead of being corrected. Time-outs have the same, or worse, effect.

    The sticker program has helped for small periods of time throughout the day. Some goals have been met much more than others. Her listening has improved some and she is only a couple stickers away from getting her reward in the category. She has also earned stickers for using her words when upset (only if she has not used her words in a manipulative or bullying way). I find that when I give ______a sticker for playing nicely with her friends, the positive behaviour that I have reinforced quickly diminishes and we will soon have an issue. ______has many stickers to earn before getting her reward for letting her friends have special moments. Her need for attention in my home is extremely high and it has been an issue Iíve been attempting to deal with for quite some time, without any succcess.

    If _____is getting the amount of attention she wants she is happy, giggly, and tends to have great days here. However, I am not able to give this type of attention to her if I am to give all the children the attention they deserve. After the daycare has closed I often feel as though I did not do my job in giving other children attention. I feel like I havenít sat down with my own child all day, and that ____has suffered a big loss of the type of attention she needs at her age.

    _____receives at least twice the amount of attention, twice the praise, and double the quality one of one time as the other children and it still seems to be less than what she needs to be satisfied. We have had many talks about how I must pay attention to everyone, that she needs to let other children be praised without begging for more herself, that everyone needs a chance to talk to me, that she canít always be the first, that she is great but not better than anyone else, and that everyone else also needs some special ĎAndy timeí. After these conversations I feel like I have only bruised her ego somewhat and that nothing has really been absorbed. They behaviour only amplifies.

    The other day she told me out of the blue, during some one on one time when most of the other children were still sleeping, that there are too many children here and she doesnít like it. She told me she wished that they wouldnít come so that it would just be us dancing together and no one else. She told me that ____can come only if it is _____'s birthday and _______can come sometimes but not all the time (but only because she kinda likes her hair LOL). It got me wondering whether I am able to give ____what she needs in order to feel loved and happy.

    This is where I want to end the letter but am stuck for a good way to do it. I want to make it clear that I am close the end of my rope (but in a very nice and round about way) and that if things dont improve She will have to find other arrangement (but again, in a round about and suttle way)

  2. #2
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    what do you think about this?

    _----has always needed a bit more praise and attention. It is part of her nature. Since March this need has very quickly progressed outside of my ability to satisfy her. I feel exhausted and very stuck as you can`t consequence a child`s need for love and attention. I can consequence constant interruptions, etc. And behaviour that results from her attention seeking but the underlying issue will still be there.
    Perhaps you were right that, in certain ways, she is under stimulated here? Maybe she needs more than I can give her? Maybe a nanny can give her that attention that I can’t?

    I’m not sure.

    What do you think?

  3. #3
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    How old is this child???

    I have one like that in care for the past 5 years I empathize with how draining it can be although I have always been able to manage her to ensure that the others all get lots of attention cause initially my approach to her was to help her learn patience and independence so for the longest time she was basically always LAST to have her needs met and when she waited patiently I praised her and than she would get a chance at being first for something - she's made huge improvements but it is partially her personality and partially their lifestyle at home that results in the "me me me" behaviors.

    It is a challenge to care for so many varied personalities for sure - and when our own kids were easy going ones some of those "challenging" kids come as a schock to say the least!
    Children construct their own intelligence. The adult must provide activities and context, but most of all must be able to listen. Children need proof that adults believe in them. Their three great desires are to be listened to, to understand, and to demonstrate that they are exactly what we expect."
    Loris Malaguzzi

  4. #4
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    She is four. For a few months Ive been trying to have her practice independance. Going last, reminders, hyping up inderpendance, praising patience has done nothing.

    The behaviour is wosening and not improving so I'm at my last straw. She does not allow other children the attention they need at all anymore.

    I just wanted to know how the letter sounded

  5. #5
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    How about this:

    "...It got me wondering whether I am able to give ____what she needs in order to feel loved and happy.

    My goal, of course, is to care for all the children in my home in such a way that they all flourish. It concerns me when I feel that this is not being accomplished as is the situation in ___'s case. I will continue working with ____ and hope to see some improvement soon. I will give you another update soon and we can re-evaluate the situation then and see how best to proceed."

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  7. #6
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    Well Put Jazmic. Do you think the body of the message is ok?

  8. #7
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    From mom's perspective, the use of the terms "bullying" and "manipulative" numerous times, may put her defenses up. NOT THAT SHE ISN'T.... Because obviously there are some serious things going on. But I don't know if there are other words to use? Unless of course, mom has been using the terms herself. I just would hate for your message (which is very well worded and delivered otherwise) to get lost because mom gets a little pissy over it.
    Is this girl the oldest in care? She may need to be in a program that has older children around. I had a child like this last year, who always had to be "the best" and "the winner" and "the first". I actually think it was because mom and dad praised him TOO much. They never taught him to be a good sport, or how to let others be good at things too. Funny how you can go wrong with being too kind to a child! He is now in a school age care program, and as far as I know, does much better there.
    In general, I think that your letter, finished off with what Jazmic suggested, is well done. Fill us in on how it goes!

  9. #8
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    Great suggestion. I kept the first sentence using the words manipulative and bully and changed the words I used in the rest of the letter. Mom herself has used those words to describe her daughter but she is touchy and I want her to get the point rather than clouding over with rage

  10. #9
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    I bit of a lightbulb went off when you said that maybe she needs to be with kids her own age. I'll suggest this to mom if things do not improve and I need to ask her to find alternate care.

    She has a friend close to her age here but this other child has a younger mind set while the child im talking about is incredibly smart for her age.

  11. #10
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    Hey Cadillac,

    I thought the body was good. I made a few minor corrections and suggestions that I've highlighted in bold for you to consider.


    I thought I should send you a detailed update on how ___ has been doing here as Iím sure youíve been wondering about the details of her day since our discussion regarding her spike in aggressive behaviour.

    _______has not put her hands on anyone since and I feel better about leaving the room for short periods of time (to prep snack, take a bathroom break, etc.) She will attempt to use her words when she feels upset but most times she will use her words in an attempt to manipulate or bully the other children, or even me, into getting her way. She will manipulate much like the way you described when she wanted ballerina music in the car. If the issue is over a toy she will do something like tell the child that she just wants to show them a new or different way to play the game. When the other child agrees to this she will simply take the toy and start playing, excluding that child from play. If the other child attempts to regain their toy ______will then yell at them and tell me that they are trying to take their toy or that no one will let her play by herself. She will bully children into getting her way by telling them that she wonít be their friend and wonít play with them unless she gets to do X or be X. When she is either caught in one of these acts or spoken to about how to play fair, share, etc she simply becomes upset/angry and behaviour amplifies instead of being corrected. Time-outs have the same, or worse, effect.

    The sticker program has helped for small periods of time throughout the day. Some goals have been met much more than others. Her listening has improved some and she is only a couple stickers away from getting her reward in the category. She has also earned stickers for using her words when upset (only if she has not used her words in a manipulative or bullying way). I find that when I give ______a sticker for playing nicely with her friends, the positive behaviour that I have reinforced quickly diminishes and we will soon have an issue. ______has many stickers to earn before getting her reward for letting her friends have special moments. Her need for attention (deleted the "in my home" cos I thought it came across as angry) is extremely high and it has been an issue Iíve been attempting to deal with for quite some time, without any succcess.

    If _____is getting the amount of attention she wants she is happy, giggly, and tends to have great days here. However, I am not able to give this type of attention to her if I am to give all the children the attention they deserve. After the daycare has closed I often feel as though I did not do my job in giving other children attention. I feel like I havenít sat down with my own child all day, and that ____has suffered a big loss of the type of attention she needs at her age.

    _____receives at least twice the amount of attention, twice the praise, and double the quality one of one time as the other children and it still seems to be less than what she needs to be satisfied. We have had many talks about how I must pay attention to everyone, that she needs to let other children be praised without begging for more herself, that everyone needs a chance to talk to me, that she canít always be the first, that she is great but not better than anyone else, and that everyone else also needs some special ĎAndy timeí. After these conversations I feel like I have only bruised her ego somewhat and that nothing has really been absorbed. They behaviour only amplifies.

    The other day she told me out of the blue, during some one on one time when most of the other children were still sleeping, that there are too many children here and she doesnít like it. She told me she wished that they wouldnít come so that it would just be us dancing together and no one else. She told me that ____can come only if it is _____'s birthday and _______can come sometimes but not all the time (but only because she kinda likes her hair LOL). It got me wondering whether I am able to give ____what she needs in order to feel loved and happy.

    My goal, of course, is to care for all the children in my home in such a way that they all flourish. It concerns me when I feel that this is not being accomplished as is the situation in ___'s case. I will continue working with ____ and hope to see some improvement soon. I will give you another update soon and we can re-evaluate the situation then and see how best to proceed."

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