Today has been one of those days where I am doubting my parenting choices. Every little choice, decision, point, etc has been called into question but probably none more so than our decision to put Princess into Junior Kindergarten. To put it bluntly, our Princess is not adjusting very well and we have seen backward steps in almost all areas of her development; behaviour, sleeping, eating as well as using the potty. We had been under the assumption that these issues were contained to home as her teacher and ECE said nothing to alarm us of the contrary. I had spoken to them prior to orientation night and everything was jovial. “She is so popular, she is such a character, oh she plays with everyone” and so on and so forth was what we were told at Orientation night. However, literally the next day, I picked our Princess up from the Principal’s office. Never in a million years did I think that would happen. Upon talking to her teacher, she’s been having behavioural problems at school since the very beginning. The teacher thinks the behaviour is out of jealousy but we have until the end of October to correct it our they will be removing her from school.
I listened attentively, taking in all that was said and pondering how this had been happening and nothing was said to us. We asked our daughter everyday how she was liking school and everyday it was the same “I like it, my day was good.” Hubby was upset for two reasons; 1)that Princess was getting into trouble and 2) that over the numerous times that we spoke to her teacher, nothing was said until that Friday. If something was a consistent, ongoing problem, why not bring it to us sooner so that we could have nipped it in the bud earlier? Now we are seeing the repercussions of her actions. Hubby and I do not condone poor behaviour so Princess had to accept and deal with the consequences of her actions. She was grounded from TV, all her toys were taken away, she is going to be earlier and no special treats. We had a big conversation about respecting personal boundaries. We also set up a reward system for good behaviour. For each day she behaved, she would get to pick one of her toys back. So far, we have only had good days and her teacher telling me that she has been improving. But while she has been having good days, I have noticed a change in her and I’m not liking it. Her confidence and out-going personality has taken a back burner and I now have a very subdued and insecure little girl.
I know that I am her mother and of course I think she is truly amazing, but many other people have said how much they adore her too. She will talk with anyone, regardless of religion, colour or creed, loves to play with all children regardless of age or sex, and loves to help people. Her teachers at daycare cried when she left and her friends there had their parents call us to set up playdates because their children missed her too much. A friend of mine hates children, but she adores the Princess for her outgoing personality. She is a good girl, I swear, but school has changed her. Today I witnessed how alone she really is. Today we were waiting in line to go into school when another little girl came up behind her. The Princess said good morning and politely asked her mother if said little girl could come over to our home to play. Perhaps it was because I was standing back that the mother felt compelled to say what she really thought, thinking I was not in earshot. The mother matter-of-factly said “No, she doesn’t like you.” I gasped. I couldn’t believe it. A simple “maybe another day” would have sufficed, but was it necessary to point out to a 3-year-old that your daughter doesn’t like her? As more children lined up, my Princess sat quietly in the corner and spoke to no one, her hands holding up her sad face. I cried all the way home. My little girl has gone from having lots of friends to none. She has gone from being vivacious and witty, to sullen and withdrawn. I have seen her apologize to her family that calls to speak with her and having her ask me over and over again “Mommy, am I going to be kicked out of school?”
And now the question that is wracking my brain is “Did I make the right decision by putting her in school? I have been weighing the pro’s and con’s to said decision and whether or not pulling her out is a good idea either.
KEEPING HER IN SCHOOL
- She will learn that even if something is hard and tough, she has the inner strength to stick it out and flourish
- Her education is very important
- Even though she isn’t making friends right now, she will make them soon enough
- Low self-esteem and self-worth are a possibility
- She’s unhappy
- She is lonely
PULLING HER OUT OF SCHOOL
- She will be able to start fresh in one more year
- She will be more mature and better prepared
- She will get one more year at home with me
- She will think that quitting will solve her problems
- They will expect more from her next year and the pressure will be greater
- She will miss out on all the things she will get to experience this year
I feel a tremendous amount of guilt for putting her in school in the first place. I really thought she was ready. She is potty trained, had 2 1/2 years of socialization with children her age and teachers, she met all her milestones and was ecstatic about going. I tell her every night how beautiful, special, kind and nice person she is and that even though things are tough right now, they won’t always be this way, and that things will get better. Right now, I just have to figure out what is best for my Princess.