July 19, 2007,
K.E. asks from Cleveland, OH on July 18, 2007
4 Year Old Acting Strange! Whats Going On?
My son just turned 4 in June. He was in 3 yr old preschool this whole past school year. He went 3 days a week and never complained once about going to school. He would actually want to go even when he was sick! He has slept at his friends house a few times, he went to the eagles nest all the time and he would look forward to go with anyone just to get out of the house. Well school ended in May and ever since things have gone wacky. The church where he goes to preschool offered a sports camp in june and a vacation bible school in july. I tried to drop him off at the sports camp and all he did was cry and say that he wanted me to stay. Then I tried to take him to the vacation bible school that took place right in the rooms where he goes to preschool, he cried and went histerical saying he didnt want to stay there. He won't go to the eagle nest any more, he won't go over his friend house, basically he won't go anywhere unless I am going to stay. He has already told me over and over that he is not going to preschool this year. Has this happend to anyone else?
K.M. answers from Columbus on July 18, 2007
I haven't experienced this first-hand, but I've read several articles about preschoolers and seperation anxiety. It apparently can come and go throughout the first 6 years. It sounds pretty normal to me and the best way to deal with it, they say, is to show your child you're comfortable with the situation and say your quick "goodbyes" just as you would with a baby.
It should pass quickly, but may return again.
M.D. answers from Columbus on July 19, 2007
Absolutely this has happened to us!! My son didn't want to go to preschool either after he turned 4 in Feb. I chalked it up to the long winter break then lots of snow days off of school!! He did mention once that another boy had hit him at school but, I think that wasn't the whole issue. Preschool wasn't an option to not go to but, anything else I took his lead. We carpool with a neighbor and her son but, he wouldn't go with them. So, I ended up taking the boys most mornings. Eventually it passed. Then.... the friend turned 4 in May and yep, you guessed it, he started going through the same thing. Maybe they realized they're growing up and not sure they want to quite yet? I've read of the struggle little ones can have because of getting older. Hopefully, this will pass soon and do the best you can to encourage him for preschool and letting him know that it's not an option. Good luck!!
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J. answers from Cincinnati on July 19, 2007
my 5 and a half just did the same thing at VBS. It was in the same room but none of the same people as his preschool. The next day his older sister was volunteering in the room and he was fine. I think it is an age and personality thing, my son clings one day and is Mr Independent the next.
M.V. answers from Cleveland on July 19, 2007
I hate to even ask this but it is the first thing that came to mind....Could he have been abused? It could be just a funk he's going through lord knows kids go through changes so fast and so many it's hard to keep up. I just hate to think that parents think "it couldn't happen to us", so they just drop that out of the possiblites! I hope it's just a funk cause school ended and he'll be back on track when the school year starts again!! M.
C.M. answers from Dayton on July 18, 2007
I would ask him a few questions just to see if something is going on at one of these places. My now 17 year old daughter told me at one of her babysitters when she was 3 that one of the boys was really mean to her. When the babysitter would have him go wake my daughter from her nap, he would pull her off the bed by her hair. She would be crying but scared to tell the babysitter. All I knew was I dropped her off she clung to me and did not want to go which was so unusual for her. She did not tell me this information until years later. So if you can get him to maybe talk to you about why without putting something in his head it might help.
W.S. answers from Cleveland on July 19, 2007
I haven't had this exact thing happen to me, as my 5 yo has ALWAYS been pretty clingy, but she did go to gymnastics at age 3 without a protest--and now, she wants me to stay in the room when she takes a 2 hour jewelry class at JoAnn's...If you have the inclination, the book "Touchpoints 3-6" by T. Berry Brazelton is awesome, as it describes the stages they go through. There was another book I read about age 5, and it also described how they "cycle" back and forth between independent/dependent, etc. so it's probably very normal. But I would talk to him about it and make sure nothing in particular happened to spark this off--did something or someone scare him, for example. It also sounds like he just wants you to listen to him and believe him.
At any rate, it may sound crazy but I say enjoy the extra time you'll get with him, because he'll be a teenager before you know it and pushing you away!