How My 'Aggressive' Son Went from Daycare Biter to Most Popular in Pre-K

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Marie Martin Nope, you got a problem kid on your hands and it’s ok, really, if other children don’t have to deal with that life experience.

Christina Cortellese McGinty And her child will be the school bully, but she will blame someone else.

Jennifer Robbins Hansen So her son bit kids and now pushes kids and she is the one that is a victim? Both my kids were biters, but only ever bit me. My daughter was bit once at daycare but it was taken care of and she was never bit again. Had the biter continued to bite, we’d have been out of there. My kids aren’t another child’s chew toy.

Jacquie Ramirez Spearman Are you kidding me? What parent in their right mind pays money for their child to encounter aggressive children? That’s her final thought after admitting her child is now “pushing.” Unacceptable

These were the comments that awaited me when I admitted that I was the mom of a biter in a post about how a daycare wouldn’t enroll my toddler because he was chomping on other children. I ended the piece confessing that, at 3, Jeremy’s biting had subsided, but he occasionally pushed other kids.

Having been a preschool teacher, myself, I knew his behavior, horrible as it was, wasn’t a surefire path to becoming a serial killer. Still, reading the above from other moms made me feel like a terrible mother—and that I was raising a bully.

Gradually, as Jeremy approached 4, the teachers sent us fewer notes about his acting out (although there was one about him licking a book). And then we welcomed his baby brother, Zachary. My husband and I feared he’d regress and return to hurting his sweet classmates. Instead, having a newborn in the house had the opposite effect. A kinder, gentler Jeremy emerged. At a recent parent-teacher conference, a twice-yearly meeting we formerly dreaded, we heard all about how bright and beloved Jeremy is. My heart swelled.

A few days later, there was an end-of-year ceremony for the pre-K class. I took a summer Friday to see the 3, 4 and 5-year-olds sing, dance and share their artwork in person. As the event wound down, the students moving onto kindergarten received awards, like “Best Dancer,” “Most Helpful” and “Valedictorian.” Next came awards for the younger kids. wondered and worried what my biter-turned-pusher-turned-book-licker would be named. I was sure it would be something oddly specific, like “Most Likely to Turn to the Dark Side” because of his love of Darth Vader … and his past cruelty. When his wonderful teacher announced that my little chatterbox had been crowned “Most Popular,” my heart swelled even more than it had at the parent-teacher conference.

This child, vilified by random internet commenters, had grown to be beloved by his teachers and classmates who spend every weekday with him. Of course, that didn’t mean he understood what popular meant. Once I explained that his classmates really liked him, he was thrilled (see his big smile above). I shouldn’t have been that surprised by the award. End-of-day pickups take forever because all the kids want to hug him goodbye.

Who knows if Mr. Popularity will keep that title next year or once he gets to elementary school? For now, though, I’m relishing his progress and reminding him that popularity is great, but being kind is more important.

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