China, a teacher in a large, full-day child care center shares a dilemma about how to express her concerns about little Aaron, a 4-year-old boy in her class, with his father Aaron. (running time: 2 min. 12 sec.)
I’ve been teaching young children for over 3 years now and I feel like my experience has helped me understand why children act the way they do. But I am puzzled and concerned about Aaron, one of the 4-year-olds in my class. Aaron likes school and has a wonderful exuberance that he brings to everything, especially outside time and playing with other kids in the class. He is big for his age but he gets along well with everyone. He loves playing in the block area building large structures with other kids to climb in and out of. My concerns started a few weeks ago. I noticed that his play started getting too rough. Children are getting hurt and when I try to talk to him, he acts like he doesn’t hear me. At times he seems withdrawn and angry. What’s puzzling to me is that most of the time Aaron is great, but then there will be days when he doesn’t listen and won’t follow directions given by adults. What makes things harder is that Aaron’s dad is a single parent of 5 children. He is involved in his children’s lives and cares about them deeply. He values education and wants Aaron to do well. We have a friendly relationship, and I want to talk to him about my concerns, but I’m worried about how it will make him feel. He’s always kind and appreciative when I speak with him, but many days when he drops off the boys he seems very preoccupied, and at pick-up time he’s always in a hurry to leave. I don’t want to make his life more difficult but I’m concerned that if we don’t figure out how to help Aaron now, he is going to alienate other children and might have problems in kindergarten. I’m not sure what to do……. does Aaron need a hearing test? Is there something going on at home? Are his older siblings being too rough with him? Does his father have difficulty with Aaron’s behavior? Especially since Aaron’s mother is not with the family, what are the caregiving arrangements and is he getting enough attention? Most importantly, what is the best way for me to raise these concerns with his dad?