My sweet, gentle son has picked up some unsavory habits as of late. First, he has gone from running to his classroom door with excitement to fits of tears the moment we enter the building. It breaks my heart to see him so distraught. Everyone tells me it is a phase, but how can I not be concerned? Is there something making him dread going to class? Is he just being stubborn?

Second, he has started pushing the other kids in the class. I don’t know whom nor how often because I’m not there to monitor the situation. I am told it is almost always over a toy and not done randomly or maliciously. That doesn’t really make me feel any better. He’s about to have two baby sisters, and I can’t afford to have him hit them even once while they’re little.

The teachers assure me his behavior is age appropriate and that Aiven gets his fair share of being shoved as well. But I have received two phone calls now. The first time they mentioned it to us because the kid hit something on the way down, bled, and had to be taken to the nurse. The second time, they wanted to let us know that he did it in front of the other child’s parent, the child cried, and the parent got upset. So, at least now if I’m ambushed by an angry parent, I’ll know what they’re talking about. Still, this begs the question: do the teachers only call me when a kid bleeds or a parent gets upset? How rampant is my son’s pushing every other day? Should I be worried about the other moms blackballing me for my son’s bullying?

Of course, if this behavior had been perpetrated in front of me, I would have given Aiven a time out. But I wasn’t there. I’ve never witnessed him doing it at school, so I have not had the opportunity to observe him get disciplined, much less do it myself. So how I am supposed to assist in getting this aggressive behavior under control? The one time I ever saw him hit another kid, we were at a birthday party and we immediately removed him from the room for a time out. So we have to trust the teachers to handle it, but they don’t do time outs and whatever they are doing isn’t working as fast as I’d like.

Apparently, almost every kid in his class is pushing, and I’m supposed to be heartened that Aiven is just as likely to be the victim as the instigator. Umm, no. What about no pushing whatsoever? I know these children are only two years old, but shouldn’t we be teaching them to be nonviolent starting now? Why can’t the teachers nip the children’s antisocial behavior in the bud? Please tell me if I’m just being naive! Is a zero tolerance policy for pushing a ludicrous concept for two-year olds? If so, how should I adjust my own parenting and/or expectations to keep the peace between everyone involved?

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