What I Learned When My Strong-Willed Kid was Kicked Out of Daycare

What I learned when my strong willed kid was kicked out of daycare


What I learned when my strong-willed kid was kicked out of daycare

As a working mom, choosing childcare is probably one of the most important, if not THE most important, decisions you make when returning to work. From nannies to mother’s day out programs, finding the situation that offers the right fit for your family can be a daunting, frustrating and exhausting search. I appreciate Metro Family Magazine‘s breakdown of childcare options for closely looking at the pros and cons for each different childcare situation.

When I returned to work last summer, we were able to put our children in an intimate, in-home childcare setting. They shared the home with two other children in the beginning (the caregiver’s children), and a third child was added a few months later. They were able to stay in their PJs if they wanted to, they had the nurture and informality of a home environment. Their caregiver read stories and made crafts with them. It was a (seemingly) perfect setup.

My strong-willed kid struggled with the new daycare situation. She experienced several changes in the span of about six months: she got a younger brother, we moved cities and mom went back to work for the first time since she was born. Not to mention, she was developmentally entering the threes – which is notoriously worse than the terrible twos. Her emotions often overwhelm her and she reacts as a strong-willed, emotionally-immature toddler normally reacts. She’s not violent or aggressive. She just has big feelings that she doesn’t always know how to process without the right hand caring for her and guiding her.

We knew she was struggling, but we didn’t think it was that bad. We would regularly get reports from our daycare provider that she had a “rough” day, she had trouble listening or didn’t play well with the other kids, but we never thought it was an expellable offense. Which is why it was like a bomb drop when we were told our childcare contract was terminated because of her strong-willed behavior.

When I had to sign the termination agreement, my heart sank. If you’ve ever had a child who’s been kicked out of anything – school, daycare or whatever – I’m sure you’ve experienced the same thoughts I did. What am I doing wrong?  What is wrong with my child? Wrong was the word that kept coming to mind. There must be something wrong with her. There must be something wrong with our parenting. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

I was an emotional wreck that night. I just knew somehow we had failed our daughter. She was only 3, but yet somehow we had already broken her irreparably because she was being kicked out of daycare at 3 years old.

Over the last month since our strong-willed kid was kicked out daycare, we’ve had lots of discussions evaluating what our priorities are and whether we are making the best decisions for our family. We even discussed that I would quit work and return to staying at home. However, we found a solution that we are confident will be a good fit for everyone. Through the recommendation of a high school friend who is also a Childcare Director, we found a church Child Development Center which actually had immediate openings for both of our kiddos.

Today, our children start their new “school.” I’m nervous and excited for them. I want them to enjoy it and to thrive. I’m praying for good things to come from this new situation. So much of the last month has been filled with doubt and fear, wondering if we’re failing at this parenting thing and if we’re doing what’s best for our family. As I’ve been praying through this situation over the last few weeks, God brought me to Psalm 56 in my quiet time, and verse 9 leaped into my heart: “This I know, that God is for me.” Realizing that God is for you is the antidote to fear. Knowing that God is for me calms my anxious thoughts. Realizing that God is for my children gives me peace about today.

That is my biggest takeaway from this parenting crisis. God is for my children, and he loves them even more than I do. He created them and he gave them each their unique personality, including my daughter’s strong will. I’m thankful for the blessing of knowing them and parenting them.

Have you ever faced a parenting crisis?




A word about perspective

Last week, I went to get a haircut at a new salon with a new stylist. The appointment was well-timed, for we had just received some difficult news and I needed some time to relax. (An aside: there are few things as relaxing to me as having someone else wash my hair, especially since my hair is unusually thick and, as a mom of two littles, I spend a good amount of time washing two little humans’ heads along with my own.)

Anyway, as my new stylist was getting to know me, I told him about how timely this appointment was because of the nature of the week I had been having. I told him about the difficult news we had received, and that it was related to my daughter’s strong-willed behavioral challenges.

His response? “Well, one day she might rule the world.”

Oh, how I needed that. Often, when I’m in the trenches of parenting a strong-willed child, I’m met with well-meaning pieces of advice or expressions of sympathy, which all have their places and for which I am grateful.

However, his comment reminded me that her strong will is a gift and God can and will do mighty things through her. His perspective breathed life into me in a moment when I needed a reminder of God’s wisdom and presence in the midst of difficulty.

So, as we continue to navigate the often murky waters of parenting a terribly terrific toddler, I’m holding fast to this: though she be but little, she is fierce, and one day she might rule the world. And I’ll be cheering her on every step of the way.