Monday, October 18, 2010

Stage 5 Clinger

See this cute little ballerina?

Yeah...well...she got kicked out of her class today. Yep. Kicked out. Asked to leave. No sucker, no sticker, no dignity. Why you ask? it turns little peanut is a Stage 5 Clinger.

There was a spell about a year ago when Addie wanted nothing to do with me. She wanted anyone and everyone but me. I remember posting about how that made me feel. I said I was "hurt" and felt "unwanted". Oh how I wish I could take back those words and get my little Miss Independent back.

For the past 5 weeks, Addie has not wanted to go into her ballet class without me. If I stand at the door and watch her, she does great. She dances, listens, smiles, laughs and has an overall great time. Some days I can sneak out after about 15 minutes and she will stay in class the rest of the time. But other days, like today, she won't let me leave for even a second. She cries the MINUTE she doesn't see me in the doorway.

Her teacher told me the first day that if the kids start crying, we need to come into the room and calm them down so that they don't upset the other kids. I thought this was a great policy because it was better for everyone. But after 5 weeks of no progress, the teacher suggested I leave the room today and try to get Addie to "deal with it" for a minute before I walk back in. After 3 failed attempts, the teacher (in a rather frustrated tone) told me that Addie was "playing me" and that I needed to leave the room and if she cried again, I needed to take her home for the day. No sucker. No sticker. No dignity.

So that's what I did. I left the room when I could, I heard her cry almost the second I walked away, I heard the teacher yell for her to get back in line, and then I saw the doorknob turn. And out she came. The teacher said to leave and try again next week. So we left...both of us...with our tails between our legs.

I felt like a failure today. I know I wasn't doing her any favors by coming in to calm her down all those times, but what else was I suppose to do? The teacher won't let them cry in class and I don't want to drop her from the class because I feel like she will never learn to separate from me. I have decided to call the teacher this week to talk about a new strategy, but I would LOVE some advice from all of you.

Have any of you out there had to deal with a child with serious separation anxiety? How did you get them to let go? Did you pull them out and try again later? Did you keep making them go? I honestly feel like dropping the class would be a terrible idea because she will never learn to be away from me and not going to preschool next year is NOT an option. In fact, I actually just signed her up for another independent class at the park district on Fridays. She will be there 45 minutes with other kids doing crafts, reading stories, playing, etc. The class is designed for kids with separation anxiety so I PRAY this helps. But again...I am open to any suggestions or advice that any of you have on this matter.

Now...I am going to go take some Motrin before my clinger gets up from her nap :-)


  1. Maybe it's just too soon for her. Don't all kids go thru stages at different ages?

    Maybe the anxiety kids class will be better because she can be at an arts table etc and interacting with crayons and all as opposed to trying to take directions from a dance instructor.

    Maybe maybe maybe, heck I am out of my league here!

    But whatever it is, she'll out grow it and blame you for it later like we all do to our moms, so don't worry about it.

  2. I teach sunday school at my church and how we do it is take them screaming if it is going to subside it will usually do so in about 10 minutes, however in this situation the teacher seems to not give the kids anytime to adjust and that is just hard. Maybe (not sure if this is an option) have someone else take her to class like aunt, grammy, someone other then you and see if that helps. I have two little ones one clings and one doesn't so I totally understand your frustration. Also, you could try to talk with Addie before you go and offer some sort of reward for being super brave! I know that is not a long term solution, but if this is just a phase then it might help get you through it. Hope this was a little helpful.

  3. Hey Jen
    I totally agree with Angie. Try to get Grammy to take Addie to Ballet next week. See if it's the class she is having an aversion too, or actually just being away from you. I hate to be Debbie Downer, but if I had a teacher like that, I might not want to be away from my mom either... Also, what about reading her The Kissing Hand, and then doing it? Also, I know when I was super stressed about leaving my mom, she let me wear something of hers so I could touch it and feel better! I hope something helps!! Keep us updated!!

  4. Oh man, that's terrible. I don't have any advice but I'll pray that Addie moves past this little stage.


  5. Thanks for all the comments ladies!! I really do appreciate them.

    Di - You are right...she will grow out of this and TOTALLY blame me for it later. Haha!

    Angie and Kate - Thanks for the advice girls. I am rather upset by how the teacher handled this situation today. I know the dance studio has a policy that parents are not allowed in the room except for the first few days while the kids adjust. I also understand that it has been 5 weeks and Addie still wants me there to watch her. I don't think its that she doesn't like the class because when I do stand at the door, she participates and has a great time. It seems like just a security thing. She needs to know I am there. And because she is even more attached to my mom, I have decided to ask my SIL Dana to take her next week (Nia is in her class too) and maybe if the girls can walk in together with me not will workout better. But no matter what, I need to have a talk with the teacher to see if we can work something out because I will not let her kick Addie out of class every week. That is just unacceptable for a 2 year old class. Seriously.

    Thanks for the hugs Miss V! I needed them today :-)

  6. Oh no! Unfortunately I have no advice. But hang in there!!

  7. Jen- For some reason I am feeling very agitated at the teacher here. I know that she is trying to break the habit, but it does seem a bit harsh. I also don't know if I agree with you not going. I think that might be more upsetting to Addie, unless she often times goes places with your sister in law without you. Maybe to prep for the coming week you and Dana could have play dates. You could bring Addie over and drop her off by herself for an hour and see how she does. I do think that you should talk to her as well. Explain to her that being at dance class is a lot like being at home. Sometimes you are behind a door, but that doesn't mean you aren't there. I would also explain to her that if she wants to come out at dance class and get you because she is upset she can, but you will have to go directly home. I think if she really likes the class she might leave the first few times, but then hopefully get past it. If after three or four times she is still unhappy without you, maybe you need to pull her from the class. I know you don't want to do that, but if she isn't ready she isn't ready. Good luck. Just remember one day she'll be annoyed that you're hanging around, so savor this time and don't let anyone make you feel guilty that your daughter depends on you.

  8. Thanks for the advice Amy. Yesterday, I thought having Dana take Addie was a great idea. But then last night I was talking to Addie about how Aunt Dana is going to take her next week and she said "No! Mama take me". I think you (and my mom) might be right in thinking that it may make the situation worse right now. Plus, I can't exactly have Dana take her every week so even if it worked next week, what do we do every other class?? I did start researching other dance studios in the area and there is an option for me to take her to a mommy and me dance class at another studio. I may call them just to see if we can jump into the class a little late. I hate to remove her from dance completely because she really enjoys it. But working with a teacher that I don't personally think is doing right by the kids isn't worth it either. I am chatting with her Wednesday so we will see what she has to say. Thanks for the insight though honey. I appreciate it so much :-)

  9. The teacher did NOT handle that very well at all. It was uncaring and unprofessional. Just me, but I would talk to the owner or director. Not sure I'd stay at that school. No wonder your child is anxious there. She is a child and I feel for her. JMHO Bella


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