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Help, any ideas appreciated

Its a bit complicated. We are only a small unit but still have several children with issues

Child A-came in anxious,clingy ,poor speech

Child B =poor spatial awareness and poor social understanding

Child C- parents gone through messy divorce and mum gone back to education

Child D -Challenged boundaries when came in but very settled now. He has a younger sibling who is challenging mum now,

Child A for a good year has really improved but is having real problems with anxiety at specific times at school. He tried to bite his mum last week,

WE suspect problems with father because the parents argued over the top of child A's head at the nativity!

Child B has gone home and reported child A has pushed scissors into his face, What really happened was child A looked round quickly with scissors in the air but he was the other side of the table from anyone and the class teacher at the time spoke to child A to remind him to think about what his scissors were doing . Child B's mum went with her child to child A's birthday party where Child A misbehaved and said to the mum that he had been badly behaved at school too with the scissor incident.

Meanwhile Child C,who comes to us Mon and Fri only and a child minder every other day, is being badly behaved at home, but an angel at school.

Mum A and Mum C have been talking and they are trying to lay the blame for all their ills on Child D. They see Child D's mum struggling with youngest son. They are saying the children have been telling them all sorts that just can't be true.

I am very concerned that this gets sorted as it could do the name of the place serious harm.

I have listened very carefully and said we would monitor all the children concerned closely. I have strongly pointed out the scissor incident was based on a misconception, I will also suggest they can come and visit us My hands feel tied after that though because I am sure that its the home circumstances are causing this.

Has anyone any ideas with dealing with potentially harmful gossip, or experienced anything like this and what happened e.t.c ?


Thanks lynda

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Nothing constructive off the top of my head, other than they are all just children, not criminals! but I will really think about this for you.


Chin up, I know it must be very difficult!



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The best way that I have found to "unlabel" children is to point out their positives VERY LOUDLY during sessions. This does transfer to the other childrens' perception of individual others. :(

I think every setting has this problem, to the point that "Harry hit me today" when Harry wasn't even at school. :oxD


I can see why you are concerned about gossip, it is always negative. I would also tell the parents when the collect all about the positives of their child and when they have got along with or played a game with any of the other children, all be it for just 5 minutes.


Child A - I would note changes of emotional behaviour, talk to parents and ask if you can work together on building small confidence building, self esteem, independent skills together, that can be achieved very quickly at school and followed up at home, thus praising the childs small but for him/her significant steps. Give the child little jobs that help the teacher, think of some for helping mum and reward and praise this help.


How do you know about the incident at the party with Child A & B, how do you know Mum A & mum B are blaming child D ? Have they all been discussing this with you? I may be entirly out of order here but if it is through discussions with parents, then is that not gossiping too?


If a parent starts to talk to me about other children, I politely say that I am happy to talk about their child but I am not at liberty to talk about any other children about events that happen outside of preschool. I would not talk negatively about any incidents that happen in preschool, just the facts ie: Harry argued with another boy today, but they soon sorted it out / or it was soon sorted out / or they were encouraged to give each other some space for a little while ( whicher is the fact). It is our role to role model to parents the importance of maintaining confidentiality and not to participate in gossip, and even to challenge anyone that tries to gossip to us. This way parents learn that we are not discussing their child with others as well as modelling appropriate communication which follows our policies.


All the children sound very much like all the children in my preschool, they are dealing with the ups and downs of life, which is affected by all the adults they come into contact with at home or otherwise.


Let all parents know that you are there to discuss any concerns they may have about their child, that you will discuss any concerns with them that you have about their child and you will work together with regard to your positive behaviour management and confidentiality policies.


We have to work with facts, not assumptions, the main source of fact is your own observations and records and your relationship with individual parents.


I hope the gossip all dies down soon because the main people that will suffer are the children, adults unfortunately will just make a moutain out of a molehill if the gossip is allowed to flare up or once the cinders have died down they will just move on to the next topic of gossip, without concidering the consequences.


I always try to remember that childrens comments are mainly an echo of adults and we have a very responsible part to play in being good role models.



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Hi Lynda

I agree with Peggy. It is very difficult to not to get caught up in gossip. I have a particularly gossippy bunch this year, who are always trying to find out what the others are doing. I do what Peggy says and say that we can't discuss other children. I always say to other parents if they start saying that children at parties and outings have been bad that we have no problems and that the children are all angels. they usually don't argue with that. I would try and have a talk to both parents of child A

You might be able to get emphasize that they have to be agreed on there outlook to child care and if they are not to discuss it when the child is in bed. I also try to make them understand that if you kneel at 3foot high you can still hear things that are being said at 5ft or 6ft high. some time it just needs to be pointed out, subtley.

i think most of your problems need some sort of kind discussion with the parents, either together or on their own. I have parents that hardly talk to one another so I do the same chat to each of them, that way you know that they can't argue they didn't know what was going on.

Goood luck, just remember to be patient with them, (the parents that is) :D you probably know a bit more of the child care manual than they do. (Remember thats the manual that all children are born with that you read for the 9 months of your pregnancy) :o:D

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Thanks for replies,

I have not got caught up in the gossip myself, both parents asked to speak to me and both told me they had been talking to each other. and feel they have got to the bottom of their problems and that is blaming Child D. That is how I know what is going on. I will go back to them after monitoring their child, and how their child is interacting. I have discussed with my head about the possibility of the school nurse supporting these parents. It does not alter the fact that it is potentially very damaging regardless of how professionally I may deal with it,

Steph,I do support my parents about the 'manual, about childcare as you call it, But this parent is extremely anxious, and there may be a home situation that is very delicate, I have to be extremely cautious. As Peggy says, in the unit the children's issues are part of what is often in everyone's settings and as a unit we just get on with things, I posted this in case anyone had any creative ways of dealing with the parents of this ilk.

I too am concerned for the childen. I think it is the nature of the school being so small that is making it seem magnified.

Thanks again Peggy and Steph

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From what you say, small school etc, you are handling the situation well and refering to others for support as well. Sometimes we have to accept that other peoples behaviour is out of our control ( ie gossiping) and that all we can do is our best for the families we work with. As for creative ideas, again I think you are handling the situation professionaly, getting to know and building up positive, trusting relationships with the parents on an individual basis.

I had an experience of a malicious gossiper a few years ago, to the point that I wanted to get some legal redress through suing for slander / defamation of character. I calmed down and with hubbys support realised that most people who knew this person would also know her personality / characteristics and take what she was saying with a pinch of salt ( so to speak). It did make me feel vulnerable and totally out of control, in my case ignoring the gossip was the best course of action ( as I now know in hindsight :o ) but at the time I wanted to challenge it, which would only have provoked the fire.

The situations will turn around, and hopefully all the children and families involved will get through this phase and move forward to more confident and better times.



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