A toddler asked me an odd question


#1

So I'm not really sure what to make of this question a toddler asked me and wanted everyone's thoughts.

I worked as a substitute pre school teacher for a little while. One day one of the little boys, a three year old, was being very difficult. We got everyone sat down for snack time and he kept finding something to get mad about. At first he was mad that his dad hadn't packed him a sandwich, after we convinced him that he actually had, he was mad that it wasn't the kind he wanted, when we made him a new sandwich, he was mad that it wasn't cut the right shape. Periodically, no matter how many times we told him not to, he would yell at us really loud for one reason or another. Finally when I was fed up I took him by the arm and led him into the next room, kneeled down to his level, and held him there while sternly explaining that his behavior was unaccepable. I let him go back in after getting him to acknowledge that he understood what he was doing was not okay.

Later on at story time he started acting up again. The "lead" teacher asked me to read with him seperate from the group. That did the trick and he calmed down once it was just the two of us reading together.

Now, we were looking at a book about different jobs people have and came to the page about teachers. I pointed to a picture of a teacher reading to a bunch of kids and said, "Look, they're having storytime just like us."

He stared at the picture. "Are the being quiet?" he asked.

"Well," I replied, "it looks like they are. It looks like they're sitting and listening quietly."

His next question caught me by surprise. "Do I do that?"

I wasn't sure how to respond and settled for, "Well, sometimes you do."

He looked back down and the book and said, "But sometimes I'm loud."

Why in the world do you think he asked that question?


#2

[quote="apromisemade, post:1, topic:244469"]
So I'm not really sure what to make of this question a toddler asked me and wanted everyone's thoughts.

I worked as a substitute pre school teacher for a little while. One day one of the little boys, a three year old, was being very difficult. We got everyone sat down for snack time and he kept finding something to get mad about. At first he was mad that his dad hadn't packed him a sandwich, after we convinced him that he actually had, he was mad that it wasn't the kind he wanted, when we made him a new sandwich, he was mad that it wasn't cut the right shape. Periodically, no matter how many times we told him not to, he would yell at us really loud for one reason or another. Finally when I was fed up I took him by the arm and led him into the next room, kneeled down to his level, and held him there while sternly explaining that his behavior was unaccepable. I let him go back in after getting him to acknowledge that he understood what he was doing was not okay.

Later on at story time he started acting up again. The "lead" teacher asked me to read with him seperate from the group. That did the trick and he calmed down once it was just the two of us reading together.

Now, we were looking at a book about different jobs people have and came to the page about teachers. I pointed to a picture of a teacher reading to a bunch of kids and said, "Look, they're having storytime just like us."

He stared at the picture. "Are the being quiet?" he asked.

"Well," I replied, "it looks like they are. It looks like they're sitting and listening quietly."

His next question caught me by surprise. "Do I do that?"

I wasn't sure how to respond and settled for, "Well, sometimes you do."

He looked back down and the book and said, "But sometimes I'm loud."

Why in the world do you think he asked that question?

[/quote]

It may be that this boy didn't understand that what he was doing was wrong until he saw the picture of all the other children who were behaving properly. Also, he may not be able to control his unruly behavior and may even be unconsciously using it as a means of getting individual attention, which he got from you when you read with him. This may or may not result in acting out again to get more of your attention. My mother was a third-grade teacher and she had a girl who would crawl on the floor pretending to have a stomach ache until my mother offered to read with her one on one. Fortunately, this behavior happened only once or twice and then disappeared when the girl knew she was being paid attention to.


#3

Because at that developmental stage they are starting to understand cause and effect.


#4

Smetimes even adults don't know how they come off to other people!


#5

[quote="1ke, post:3, topic:244469"]
Because at that developmental stage they are starting to understand cause and effect.

[/quote]

Exactly. I don't understand the OP's wonderment, to tell the truth.


#6

[quote="St_Francis, post:4, topic:244469"]
Smetimes even adults don't know how they come off to other people!

[/quote]

ain't that the truth..... including me:blush:


#7

It sounds to me, like he is internalizing what just happened to himself. He is learning from you. Cool!


#8

[quote="1ke, post:3, topic:244469"]
Because at that developmental stage they are starting to understand cause and effect.

[/quote]

Agreed.

Some learn it sooner than others and few never learn it.


#9

[quote="paperwight66, post:5, topic:244469"]
Exactly. I don't understand the OP's wonderment, to tell the truth.

[/quote]

Hey, cut me some slack. I'm only 21 and of course have never had kids before. I'm also not a trained teacher or child psychologist by any means :o


#10

[quote="apromisemade, post:9, topic:244469"]
Hey, cut me some slack. I'm only 21 and of course have never had kids before. I'm also not a trained teacher or child psychologist by any means :o

[/quote]

It sounds like he was looking for a boundary and wasn't finding it. Everyone was trying to pacify him, mollify him, convince him that everything was fine, instead of telling him the dreaded "N" word - NO! No, you can't act like that, no, it is not OK to yell at people, NO your behavior was not acceptable.

I am glad that you drew a line for him that he could understand. If you run into this situation again, tell everyone not to give attention to the misbehavior and address it right away. And then when he does behave, he can have attention such as reading one on one. You could say, "And we try to save our loud voices for OUTSIDE, on the playground. Inside, we are respectful to each other and we behave nicely." To drive the lesson home.

It sounds like being loud and a little obnoxious gets him what he wants at both home and school.


#11

[quote="apromisemade, post:9, topic:244469"]
Hey, cut me some slack. I'm only 21 and of course have never had kids before. I'm also not a trained teacher or child psychologist by any means :o

[/quote]

It sounds like you did just fine. I would suggest however, that you let the lead teacher or the school counselor know about the conversation.

It sounds like he is a very bright young child who is self-aware about his less than perfect impulse control. For most kids, that's a perfectly fine stage of development. But for some very smart kids, the fact that what they know is at a higher level than what they can control can be frustrating. He may need a little extra encouragement in the impulse control area. I am not trying to give psych advice but only relaying a personal experience with one of my own kids. :o


#12

His behaviour is very normal. Kids don't know the rules and when they complain that they don't have a sandwich even when they do, they are testing you. They want to know if you will tell the truth. I remember, I had a toy that you could pull apart and put back together. I pulled in apart and ran crying to my mommy 'My toy is broken', I knew at the time it was a total act. I wanted to know HER reaction.

So when he says 'I don't like the sandwich my dad made me', he probably knows he requested that sandwich from daddy (and if in his mind he knows it, perhaps you should know it too), so when you make him a new sandwhich in his mind he is thinking 'How stupid of them'. He is desperately searching for the truth.

So when you finally tell him the truth ie sometimes you sit quietly (which he interprets as 'Yes there are times you are loud'), there is actually a relief that he finally got some honesty (and your choice of words made it non-threatening to him so he feels safe)

So then he says 'But sometimes I am loud' because he is desperatly trying to learn appropriate behaviour. I have been around a lot of kids, and it is amazing the ones that REALLY want to be brought up properly

So that is my take on it

CM


#13

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