“My son just got kicked out of his 4th school…and he’s only 3 years old! What do I do?”

Hello! Welcome to Tips on Teens. My name is Kent Toussaint, licensed marriage and family therapist,
coming to you live on Facebook every Wednesday at noon on your lunch break to answer your parenting
questions. And today is less of a Tips on Teens and more of a Clues on Kids. So let's jump in today's
question. My three -year -old son has been kicked out of his fourth preschool today for how he
expresses anger. He gets mad about things and goes into Hulk mode. He's been assessed for autism
and that's been ruled out. Both my wife and I work full -time, so taking him out of preschools
isn't an option. How do we help him? So this is a very complicated question, and to be transparent,
I did talk to this dad on the phone, so I got a little more details of what's going on, and this is
a tough situation, because both parents have careers, they have their career goals, they're
not finished meeting their career goals, these careers help feed their family, pay the mortgage,
life insurance, health

insurance, all these things. These, you know, careers help with their lifestyle. And their
child, who's been in daycare since six months old, has been in daycare pretty much from, you
know, 7 -7 .30 in the morning till 6 at night. So the vast majority of the waking hours of this child,
for the vast majority of his life, has been in daycare. And that may be part of the issue. And I
understand that's a challenge because, again, these parents have bills to pay and careers
to manage. But this young boy is telling us that there are some emotional needs that are not being
met and it's difficult to ask a three -year -old to adjust. He's acting out anger. He's been kicked
out of four preschools now. He's acting out anger at home. He doesn't get his way. He's throwing
things. Again, autism has been ruled out. He's been tested. So we have to figure out what is this
child telling us with his behavior, because he doesn't have the words, he doesn't have the language
to speak it, because he's three.

And, you know, anger is a secondary emotion, which often is covering up feelings of sadness
or fear, and it's the only way that he feels that he can get his point across. So I think this needs
to be dealt with. I think it's really important. I think it's important for this family to recognize
that, you know, well, let me put it this way. This dad was telling me about a therapist who gave
him advice, which I do not agree with. I do not agree with this advice." And this is the advice
that she gave him, that when he has a tantrum, that they should hold him. So far, I'm okay with
it. This is where I diverge. And while holding him, ignore him. Don't talk to him. Talk to someone
else. Do something else. Just hold him and ignore him. And I flat -out disagree with this advice.
I think this sends the wrong message. I don't think it helps the situation. And the reason why
this therapist told these parents to do this is because her opinion was that this three -year
-old had not yet learned to self

-soothe, and by trying to be there for him, talk to him, they're robbing him of learning how to
soothe by himself, which I flat -out disagree with. I think children learn how to self -soothe
by how we as the parents soothe them. Three - year -olds do not know how to self -soothe. That is
not a trait that three -year -olds are masters of. There are adults who don't know how to self
-soothe, and how a child learns to self -soothe is through the relationship with the parent.
So instead what I would recommend is when your kid is having this big reaction at home or the grocery
store or even at daycare, which it may not work there because daycare may not be able to do this,
but you hold him in a gentle loving way and you talk to him in a calm soothing way and you let him
know that he's safe and you want to keep him safe and you keep yourself safe and that you love him
and you're gonna stay with him until he is able to be calm and you're gonna help him do that and
you're in it together. You want

to be there with him because if you're with him he eventually starts when I'm gonna be old therapist
ease so stay with me now you know where you start self -soothing by how your parents soothe you.
You start internalizing your parents and as they get older when they feel angry we have that
internalized parent who's there holding us and hugging us. I know that sounds kind of woo -woo
and therapist -y but it's based on theory and all that stuff. I don't want to bore you with all
the details. But yes, this is modern theory, and this is stuff that's been tested and studied,
and this is not just me, you know, looking at crystals. I'm not saying crystals are wrong or bad.
I'm just, you know, people, you know, this is stuff. This is stuff that we have studied. So, with
that in mind, with this child being in daycare for most of his waking hours, he gets home at 6 .30,
he's in bed by 7 .30, so there's very little time for him to really connect with his parents. I
think these parents need to readjust,

re -evaluate where their priorities are with their finances and where their career goals and
what's important for their son because you can't really ask a three -year -old to adjust. So
how do the parents adjust? Now maybe that's bringing a grandparent involved, getting that
grandparent more involved or an aunt or uncle or a cousin. Someone who can be that steady attachment
figure for this child. Now eventually this child will go to kindergarten and first grade and
then Then your child may be more ready because he'll be five. But it's helping that kid feel more
secure and safe now because he's definitely not feeling secure now. And it may be that one of
those careers need to be sacrificed to some extent for the betterment of this child. And we have
to see financially, is it worth taking the time to retreat from this promising career and take
a step back with a career so you can have more time with that child? Is that a better investment
of your money? Because, obviously, you don't crystal

ball, but if this continues to escalate as he gets older and he starts internalizing that, oh,
I'm the bad kid, I'm the angry kid, I'm the kid who never gets anything right, that can be a very
big problem as he gets older and turns into a teenager. And that's a lot of therapy, potentially
rehab, if he gets into drugs and alcohol, which, you know, raise the chances of he's feeling
that way about himself. There's always feeling of, I'm never good enough, I'm always bad. we
want to help shift that to a more positive self -image for this kid. So I think it's important
for parents to look at where is that money best spent and invested. Is it invested now helping
this kid so by the time he is going to kindergarten that he is more grounded and safe and feel secure
when he comes home there's a parent there with him or there's a grandparent or again a nanny or
something or is it better to wait and see if that money is being spent on therapy or rehab down
the line. I generally think preventive care

is better than reactive care. You get a lot more bang for your buck. But I understand this is a
really difficult choice because we don't know what the future holds. We have to just go with
our intuition. And I think these parents need to really dig down deep and think about where their
intuition is leading them and go that way. There isn't a simple answer to this question. It's
a tough question to answer. But, again, we can't expect this child to just shift to the parents'
needs. We need the parents to shift to the child's needs. Again, tough question, a lot more we
can talk about this, and the dad and I did talk about this a lot more in detail, but we only have
a few minutes here on Facebook Live. But if you have more questions about this, go ahead and email
us at tipsonteens at teentherapycenter .com. We love your questions. We'd love to answer your
question next week Wednesday at 12 on Facebook. Also, you can direct messages here on Facebook,
love to answer your questions here. And thanks

again, my name is Kent Toussaint, we are Teen Therapy Center, and I'll talk to you next week.
Bye -bye.

For many working families, preschool is the primary source of education and care for their children. But what happens if your child isn’t adjusting well to the experience? This week’s Tips On Teens question is from a working parent wondering how to help their son stay in school. Here’s the question:

“My 3 year old son has been kicked out of his 4th preschool today for how he expresses anger. He gets mad about things and goes into “Hulk” mode. He’s been assessed for autism and that’s been ruled out. Both my wife and I work full time, so taking him out of preschools isn’t an option. How do we help him?”

Tips On Teens is a vlog that our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint, hosts every Wednesday at 12:00pm on Facebook Live.  He will be answering parenting questions submitted to us by you to our email at TipsOnTeens@TeenTherapyCenter.com.  Send us any questions you might have about parenting kids and teens and Kent will be answering them every week!

Head on over to our Facebook page every Wednesday at 12:00pm to watch LIVE!  Check out our page here – https://www.facebook.com/TeenTherapyCenter/

If you have more questions or would like more information, please contact our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint at 818.697.8555.