Oh, I LOVE MamaSource!
M., you have received so many good responses!!! I'm the single mom of a 5 year old and her personality has done a total 180 since Kindergarten started in the fall. I guess you can take comfort in the fact that this is something many children this age are obviously going through as I read through the responses and think....that's us!....that's us!.....that's us, too!
My daughter went from being outgoing, very vocal and social to this shy, reserved little girl who is "nervous" (her words) all the time. She does not initiate play or take the "leader" role like she used to in day care. She was at the same day care from 2 months old to 5 years old and she was the "queen bee". Kindergarten has meant that she has to find her place again.
I think, as adults, it can be so hard for us to allow children the same feelings we have. Think about how we feel when we start a new job, project or task. It can be overwhelming, we can doubt ourselves. We have the vocabulary and the social grace to deal with our feelings. Our children are still learning all of that and I truly believe that, for my daughter, this is a time of transition and new things and her behavior (she cries and whines much more now and will take 30 to 45 minutes to stop crying AT SCHOOL! I'm so worried she's going to get teased as a crybaby because she cries with very little trigger and for such a long time!)is her way of dealing with feelings she might not fully understand.
I've stopped waiting for my outgoing,demands-the-spolight daughter to come back and am just letting her know I love her no matter who she is. I, too, discipline her consistenly and keep the routine at home the same as much as I can. I know children find comfort in consistency.
Sometimes, we're doing all the right things and since we don't see changes, our "mom guilt" kicks in and we feel like we can't rest until the problem is solved. Unacceptable behavior (however that is defined in your home) should be consistently addressed (I agree so much with BETH'S response!). But, I do feel we put so much pressure on our kids: to be well-behaved, to succeed, to be all of the things we think other people's kids are. As a single mom, I've had to allow myself permission not to compare my daughter with others and just be her. I want her to feel accepted for who she is at home so that when she is away from me, she feels secure and loved.
Kindergarten has been hard for me, too. I get a LOT less communication about what she's doing and only get her version of events, which makes it hard to know how to respond. I don't think I'm a controlling mom, but it's very hard to go from knowing all about their day (most day cares are really communicative or at least send some kind of daily sheet home!)to knowing very little about what happens at school, meaning I don't know IF there's a problem, how to help, etc. We moms need to remember that our kids pick up on everything and if we're experiencing change/anxiety/anything in response to Kindergarten and the transitions for everyone involved, they are too PLUS seeing that we are.
This will get better, M.. Maybe not a lot DIFFERENT, but I think we all find ways to deal with things so that they work in our family, maybe not the cure-all perfect solution, but one Momma can live with!
Hang in there! It sounds like a lot of us are going through the same thing. Maybe we should start a Kindergarten Mom's Support Group!!!!!!
In loving understanding, through the bonds of motherhood,