Have you ever had a childcare center inform you that their staff is incapable of watching, educating, and / or dealing with your child? I know this question seems unfathomable to many but this actually happens. Twice I have experienced the shrilling notification that my child was unlike the other children; that he was just unbearable and his presence was no longer wanted at the center.
The two separate incidences were a tough pill to swallow. I remember when my oldest son was two years old he had a problem with biting. As time went on I began receiving daily phone calls that my son was fighting, bullying other children, and was biting whenever he didn’t get his way. The words that really put in a knot in my stomach was when the director of the facility he attended in California stated “he is manipulative and a danger to the other children. We can’t have children scared to come to daycare.” This was about a two year old. At home my son was active and rough and tumble just as any other boy his age; but manipulative and dangerous? This seemed highly unlikely. But as a parent I still felt the pain and I stressed out over whether the director was right. Although my child didn’t portray this behavior at home, I questioned whether what she was saying about him was true. I also questioned myself as a parent and what I was doing wrong to make him behave in the manner in which the director described. I never heard of a child being kicked out of daycare and assumed that I was the one to blame. But then I thought why is it that my child’s behavior is so erratic at the center but not at home? More importantly in regards to the biting, what training had the staff received in dealing with young children who have a tendency to bite when frustrated? When I placed him in a new childcare facility he thrived and the daily phone calls and complaints ceased. So was it my parenting skills or the center’s lack of early childhood education and training?
Recently my three year old son attended daycare for one day (no more than 8 hours). By 5 o’clock I received a phone call from the director of the NY facility stating, “we had no idea he was like this, we can’t deal with him. He screams a lot and it’s hard to focus on just him.” After one day the director of the program determined that my autistic child was unbearable and she and her staff were only capable of tending to “normal” children. Although most “normal” children struggle on their first day of being separated from their parents, this didn’t matter. I had a director of a childcare center state that they were ill-equipped and overall, just unwilling to take on a child who copes differently than the rest of the children. When the director informed me of her decision, I felt that ball tighten in the pit of my stomach. I didn’t know whether to thank her for her honesty for preventing my child from regressing, or blurt out profanities mixed with furor over why her staff only dealt with one type of child. In the span of 8 hours my son was judged and delivered back to me to find another sitter.
After a few stressed out hours of this ordeal I began to slowly rejuvenate (of course after speaking with my husband who put things back into perspective). I HAVE to be the hugest advocate for my children. They depend on me to make the decisions – and in making those decisions (either right or wrong) – I need to be able to stay strong and continue to fight for their safety, progression, education, and their right to live as normal a life as anyone else in the world. If one door closes I need to find the gateway to another door and open it for them. The reality is that not every childcare center and provider is well trained to deal with all types of children. And so I pledge from this day forward to carry my armor and continue to arm myself against the verbal beating from childcare providers who feel that my child(ren) are unreachable and abnormal. The battle has just begun and I refuse to be knocked down!