Little Boy Cries & Begs Mom Not to Take Him to Daycare until She Storms into Facility – Story of the Day

My three-year-old threw tantrums and begged me not to take him to daycare. Worried, I went in unannounced, and what I saw there left me shocked and feeling terrible for my child.

“No, mommy, no!” Johnny threw himself on the floor and started screaming. I sighed. This couldn’t be happening again. I looked at my watch. If he threw a full tantrum, I would be late yet again.

I gazed at my three-year-old with exasperation.

Johnny had been going to daycare for two years and always loved it. Since the past week, out of the blue, he’d been making a scene, begging me not to take him.

I’d spoken to my pediatrician, and the doctor had told me that toddlers often went through the ‘terrible threes.’

“Stop it!” I heard myself scream, and then I saw the look of fear in my son’s eyes. Something wasn’t right.

I sat down on the floor next to Johnny and coaxed him into my lap. He sobbed, pressing his little face against mine. I decided this was more than a tantrum, but what could be wrong?

“Honey,” I said gently. “I’m sorry. Mommy didn’t mean to snap.”

I rocked him until he stopped crying and asked gently, “Why don’t you like daycare anymore?”

Johnny shivered in my arms and whispered, “I don’t like it!”

“But why, sweetie?” I asked. “Are the other kids mean?”

But Johnny wouldn’t answer.

I sighed. “Baby, mommy needs to go to work, but I tell you what… I’m going to come and get you from daycare early today, OK?”

Johnny sat up in my lap. “No lunch?” He looked up at me anxiously. “No lunch, mommy?”

Lunch? I frowned. What was happening with my son?

I dropped Johnny off after promising I’d fetch him before lunch. He walked into the daycare quietly but threw me a pleading look that left me heartbroken.

I went to work and asked my boss for the afternoon off to deal with a personal issue. Thankfully, my boss was a mom, too, and understood.

I was determined to get to the bottom of Johnny’s reluctance to go to daycare. I decided to drop in — not before lunchtime as I promised Johnny — but during the meal.

Johnny’s daycare didn’t allow the parents into the children’s playrooms or the dining room, but each door of the facility had a large, clear glass window. Hopefully, I would be able to see what, if anything, was going on.

When I arrived, the receptionist told me the children were having lunch. I walked to the dining room and peered in. The kids were all sitting at their tables, eating.

A teacher or an assistant supervised each table. I quickly spotted Johnny. There was a woman I didn’t recognize sitting next to him.

As I watched, the woman picked up Johnny’s spoon, scooped up a portion of mashed potatoes, and pressed it against his lips.

“Eat!” she cried.

Johnny shook his head violently, his mouth firmly closed, tears running down his cheeks.

“Open your mouth and eat!” the woman said angrily.

Johnny was looking deeply distressed. The woman cried, “You are going to sit here until you clean your plate!”

I saw a small portion of mince, mash, and vegetables left on Johnny’s plate. I knew my son was not a big eater; I never pushed it when he told me he’d had enough.

Johnny opened his mouth to protest, and the teacher quickly pushed the spoon in. I saw my son choke and sputter. I’d had enough! I opened the door and stormed in.

“Get away from my son!” I cried in anger.

The woman looked up, and her mouth hung open. “Parents aren’t allowed in the dining room!” she cried.

“Then they should be,” I said, yelling at the top of my voice. “Can’t you see Johnny’s had enough? He’s a healthy boy, but he is not a big eater. As an educator, you should know how traumatic force-feeding a child can be.

“Being forced to clean up the plate is an old-fashioned notion. You should be aware of the statistics and the causes of obesity and eating disorders in children.

“And one of them is making food an issue! My little boy is an active child, and if he feels he’s had enough, you need to respect that and not force him to eat,” I went on, seeing the woman go pale at my stern words.

I didn’t stop. She deserved this. My little boy had gone through so much; I was not letting this woman off the hook so easily.

“As for shoving food into a child’s mouth in that way, it is reprehensible! You should certainly know better. These children are not puppets for you to manipulate at will!” I said.

“They are little people with needs and a will of their own. If you don’t respect their boundaries, you teach them they don’t deserve respect. I don’t think that is a message you want to pass on!”

The teacher flushed a bright red and got to her feet. “I never…” she cried.

“That’s a pity,” I said crisply. “Because if this happens again, I will ensure you are out of a job! I’m not sending my son to daycare to be brutalized!”

I walked over to Johnny and tenderly wiped his mouth. “Come on, honey,” I said gently. “Mommy promised you a treat this afternoon!”

I had a long talk with Johnny, and there was no tantrum the next morning. Over the next few weeks, I popped into the daycare at lunchtime just to keep an eye on things.

The teacher never forced Johnny to eat again, and the boy recovered his good humor and enthusiasm.

Raising a child is all about respecting boundaries — theirs and ours. Johnny’s teacher was teaching him that adults had the right to impose their will on children against their welfare. That was wrong.

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