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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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Additional Answers (7)

lynellen
lynellen writes:
It may be helpful for the teacher to keep a journal to see what maybe triggering the behaviour.  Children who over react to certain things in their environment such as too much light, too much noise, too much texture may be more reactive at school than at home because they are exposed to more of it.  You may want to consult an occupational therapist to see if there are sensory issues triggering some of her behaviour.  A good book discussing sensory issues is Sensational Kids by Lucy Jane Miller.
> 60 days ago

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jenufa62
jenufa62 writes:
You can try some positive reinforcement by telling her she can earn something special. For example, for each day she gets a good report from her teacher, give her a star on a board (you can make one up at home).  Once she receives a certain amount of stars, let her choose something special for herself (a trip to the ice cream shop, an extra snack or something simple you think she can earn). She can lose a star only if she gets a really bad report, otherwise she just doesn't earn one if she goes to time out in class.  The teacher can try a version of this in class too, or you can work together, the teacher can tell you whether or not she earned a star.  I tried this with my rambunctious niece, and after about 2 weeks she started to improve.  Believe it or not I got the idea from watching that show with the english nanny.  She has some good suggestions.  And you're right, theyre not going to tolerate it in school, they might even suspend her, I've seen it happen!
> 60 days ago

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idocatmom
idocatmom writes:
I have worked in several daycares and have notice that some kids act out and misbehavior because they don't get attention or rewarded for their good behavior. I had works with a few boys on this same issue they were good at home but in preschool they would act out. I went out of my way to come up with special "jobs" for them to do and gave them positive feed back and the jobs were simple and they never had to do them but it gave them some special attention and they felt more part of the group. Perhaps go and observe her for a day or two and try to be a fly on the wall and perhaps you may be able to see when the behavior starts and what is causing it as you know your daughter best. She may need to switch preschools. Some preschools are not for every child they all operate differently and its about finding the right fit.
> 60 days ago

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patward
patward writes:
My son, 5yr old, had this same kind of issue once he went from headstrt program, where he was allowed to go off an do his own thing when he didnt want to join the class. Once he got to public school,kindergarten, he wasnt allowed to do this anymore, and lost control. So much so that, long story short, i had him transferred to another class 3 times, the second teacher received a "HAIRCUT"! Third teacher, broke it up. He found out what my childs interest were and went with educating him through those interest. No more phone calls to mom for the rest of the school yr was great! I also had a school counselor see him. Now we know how to get him going and stay focused. Talk to the school principle and counselor and request a meeting with the two together and divise a Classroom Plan for your child. Oh yea, and my teachers all have my number so when things are out of hand, she/he calls me so I can speak to my child.Hearing moms words when not on right track can help the teacher and child. Good Luck.~ A mom of two sets of twins & a lil man=5 sons.~
> 60 days ago

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arthurfrazier
arthurfrazier writes:
As a retired middle school teacher, I don't have enough experience or training in early childhood education to give you expert advice; nevertheless, I am a parent. I remember every stage of my daughter's educational process, especially her pre-school years. But, as a father, I was protected (probably overprotected) of her. More specifically, if I wanted to know why my child was unhappy at her pre-school, first, I would visit her school unannounced (spooky but sometimes necessary). Whether you should visit your child's school unannounced, only a parent knows for sure. Moreover, we parents tend to have an instinct about matters pertaining to our children. With a visit to the school, parents are among administrators, teachers and staff. I remember going into one my daughter's classrooms. I left her classroom with an appreciation for Early Childhood teachers. Containing, disciplining and teaching so many prepubescents would overwhelm me (and I am a teacher). Most importantly, when we visit our child's classroom periodically; yet, being careful not to interrupt their educational process, the parent sees interactions between his child and other classmates, and, he sees interactions between the teacher and his child. There are any number of reasons why a child is not happy at school. So, as parents, if we ask the right questions, we usually get the right answers. For example, Do my child need glasses, do my child need hearing aids, is my child being bullied, does my child read at grade level or does the teacher like my child? The number of questions a parent can ask is endless. Interactions among administrators, school psychologists, counselors, teachers, support staff and even other parents sometimes provide answers. I hope this this provides a framework or at least a springboard for you to begin a process of helping your school help your child.
> 60 days ago

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Vwindman
Vwindman , Teacher writes:
Hi! Have you had the chance to speak to your daughter's teacher? Do they have rules or ways to deal with behavioral issues. Does your daughter's school have a psychologist on staff?

You may want to gave your daughter evaluated. Children between the ages of 3-5 are usually evaluated through the pre-school committee of special education.

If you believe there may be a history early intervention is the best thing you can do for you daughter.

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JackieVaughn
JackieVaughn writes:
I was reading what the expert was saying, I think you should go to the Daycare Preschool and sit in one hold day and see how they operate, while your child is there. And the expert is right about you getting to know the people there. It could be a very new thing to your child being away from her Mother in a new place. She might not have a problem since you said she don't act out at home. Only when she there. Ask your child why she acting out in class. And try to be very understanding to her feeling. When she tell you. Because children have feeling just like Adults. You can't yell at them at all and you how to respect them as well. You can't talk to children any kind away. So I think you need to sit in the class sometime and see for your self what the problem could be. If your child won't tell you. And she keep on acting out. You how to tell your child. I want you to be good, Tell her that all the time. Every day if you how to. So she will remember and want forget what you told her. She only three and they don't remember everything all the time. You how to keep telling them.  PS. I hope I could be some help.
> 60 days ago

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