Just when you think you’ve seen everything, a poorly trained day care worker goes and does this: A handwritten letter was sent home to the mother of a 9-month-old girl, questioning the baby’s aggressive playtime behavior.
Now, there are a few things to consider before we dive into the story. I have a great respect for teachers and day care workers because I understand that their jobs are much, much harder than they are given credit for. I also think it is important for these people to reach out to parents when they see a problem in a young child’s life — to intervene before it gets worse.
But a 9-month-old girl is still a baby. The day care worker’s letter sent to a mom named Vero on Feb. 13 shows that this staff member has very little understanding of what babies actually do. The letter (which may or may not have been written in crayon) read:
“Samantha has been playing roughly and aggressively with the other babies; they will be crying and upset but she is smiling and enjoying herself — even our using firm voices to tell her it’s not OK to hurt her friends and remove her from area, she is smiling and going right back. Can you help us out by maybe discouraging her to not play roughly with her friends and her dog. Thanks.”
— ABC7 News (@abc7newsbayarea) February 24, 2015
This note would be hilarious if it wasn’t sincere. Somewhere out there, there is a day care worker who truly believes that a 9-month-old baby took pleasure in playing aggressively with other babies and just would not listen to reason. Sweet little Samantha is painted as a budding sociopath in this note, especially with the insinuation that she may hurt an animal at home.
As psychologist Dr. Adelle Cadieux of the Grand Rapids Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital confirmed to Babble, it is perfectly normal for young children to go through experimental stages of aggression to learn cause and effect. Dr. Cadieux explained that research points to normal aggression beginning as early as six to eight months, when babies express through action instead of language.
There is definitely a right and a wrong way to approach a parent about a potential problem at day care or school. This passive-aggressive note is a perfect “wrong” example. If I received a note like this about either of my sons from day care, both known to be aggressive little toddler monsters at times, I wouldn’t know whether to laugh or rage. Implying that a 9-month-old baby needs anger management is the craziest thing I’ve heard all week.