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nursefreda
nursefreda asks:
Q:

My 3 yr old daughter has been defiant in preschool. She is only bad in school, not at home. Is there way to address this that is very effective?

My 3 year old daughter has a problem with behaving in preschool. At home, she is a typical behaved little girl. At school, she is a "terror". She doesn't listen to her teachers and spends a lot of time in time out. I've done everything to address her behavior (take her toys, snacks). I've even had talks with her prior to entering the class and explained to her that if she is not good in school, she will be in trouble when she gets home. She knows what she has done because she will tell me when I ask her. She is adopted and I know her bio-mom had psych issues but I'm not sure what kind. I'm worried because she's going to be starting kindergarten soon and I know that her behavior will not be tolerated there. Is there an effective way for me address her bad behavior after the school day has past and I find out everything way after-the-fact? Is there something else the teacher can do to modify her behavior?Should I get her evaluated by a specialist? Please help...I don't know what else to do.
In Topics: Preschool, Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Boys Town National Hotline
Jul 22, 2011
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What the Expert Says:

Since her biological mother had psychological problems, then we certainly would advise getting an assessment from a specialist.  Mental health problems do tend to run in families so it's worth looking into.  Unfortunately, due to her young age, it is likely that you will not be able to get any real answers, but you may learn something helpful.  Contact a licensed child psychologist and let them know what is going on.  They will then be able to help direct you in where to turn next.  

It is great to hear that your daugther does well at home. This means that she is capable of good behavior, she just needs to be able to transfer these behaviors to other environments.  When you talk to your daughter is she able to let you know what it is about school that makes her decide to do the things that she does.  She is still very young and school is a much more chaotic environment than home, so it will be impossible to figure out what exactly it is that is the problem by only speculation.  And frankly, even if you find out why she is misbehaving, it may not change the way that you intervene.  

Consistency is key.  Work with your child's daycare providers and come up with a plan that is consistent with the plan that you child has at home for misbehaving.  You are doing something right and it will make the lives of the preschool teachers easier if you can give them the tips that you use with your daughter to correct her behavior.  You will also be able to better address the happenings at school with your daughter if you know the protocol that they are using and know the preschool teachers well.  When you meet with them also be sure to get very specific information about how she is misbehaving, when it is occuring and how they respond.  Also ask if there are times when she is good and identify the dynamics that create that behavior from yoru daugther.  This way perhaps you will be able to set up the situations for good behavior.  

We wish you all the best and call ourt hotline if you ever need additional assistance!

Counselor, Dominic
Boys Town National Hotline
1-800-448-3000
Boys Town National Hotline
A hotline for parents and teens
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