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Parenting--Toddlers/Infants/Pre-Schoolers/my four year old starts crying when i drop her off at school


Hi i am a mom of a four year old little girl, she has been going to the same preschool (not daycare) since she is 2 years old since winter break returning to school she crys clings to me i feel awful about it she goes 3 times a week for half days.. she is a very out going child so i have no idea on why she is doing this then i had asked her teachers this past week if she was being social with the other kids and the teacher said not so much why they never told me this is beyond me i am confused on what to do with at this point.. do i change schools?? take her out?? she is starting kindergarden this coming sept..

now when she is home she clings to either me or my husband constantly wants one of us to play with her i do feel she needs to play by herself at times because i have things to do around the house.. mostly she is a happy a kid when she is out of school if we go anywhere she will always ask me if she sees another child if she can go and say hi to them and i say of course she is very outgoing.. but this sudden change with school has me sctraching my head what do i do??

Hello Nicole,
It would seem that she is experiencing some kind of stress or has had a recent traumatic event in her life. Maybe this happened at home or at school. But since this began after the winter break, it may be related to her home or family.
Did she experience some kind of upsetting event in the past few weeks or months? Did she hear or see something that was upsetting? Are there any changes in the family? Any contemplated changes in the family? Did she see or hear something on television that might have upset her? Was she exposed to TV news or information related to the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School?
See if you can think of what might have happened and get back to me.
James Windell


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James Windell


I can answer questions related to normal child development, disturbed behavior and how to provide appropriate guidance and discipline.


I've been a clinical psychologist in a juvenile court, worked in school settings, been a child psychotherapist in a private psychiatric clinic and consulted with schools, courts, hospitals and daycare centers.

American Psychological Association
Michigan Psychological Association

I have been a columnist with the Oakland Press (Oakland County, MI) for 21 years writing a weekly column called Coping With Kids, which is also published weekly in the Staten Island Advance. I have been a mental health columnist with the Detroit Free Press and a columnist for Working Mother Magazine. In addition, I have published articles in professional journals. I have published 16 books, among them are "8 Weeks to a Well-Behaved Child" (IDG Books), "Discipline: A Sourcebook of 50 Failsafe Techniques for Parents" (IDG Books); "Children Who Say No When You Want Them to Say Yes" (IDG Books), "What You Need to Know About Ritalin" (Bantam Books) "6 Steps to an Emotionally Intelligent Teenagers" (John Wiley & Sons), "The Fatherstyle Advantage" (Stewart, Tabori & Chang) and "Defusing High Conflict Divorce" (Impact Publishers). My latest parenting book (2012) is "The Everything Child Psychology and Development Book." Articles about my work with parents has appeared in the New York Times, the Chicago Sun Times, the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press. My website at includes more information about me, my books and includes many columns I've written.

B.A. in Psychology from Wayne State University
M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Oakland University

Awards and Honors
Best Educational Program by Juvenile and Family Court Judges Association (National award for the development of a parent training program for parents of delinquent teenagers. Beth Clark Service Award from the Michigan Psychological Association.

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