I have a 4-year-old daughter. She goes to a small, private preschool. It is one class, all my daughter's age.

There is no director; it consists of four women, who are partners, who take turns teaching together. We have met the teachers once, so I don't know them at all.

My daughter told my wife that the teacher slapped her today. My daughter has also mentioned before that the teacher slapped another student. There is no physical evidence. My daughter said she wanted to play with toys and the teachers wouldn't let her get any out so she started to cry and they slapped her for crying and put her in timeout.

The thing is that sometimes kids say things (mine included) that aren't true. I'm not sure how much doubt/trust should I place in the story my daughter is telling. I believe her but I'm worried that as her father I may be biased.

My daughter's description sounds like herself. I pretty much have the same interaction with her several times a week. (with out the slapping though.)

How should I broach this with the teacher?

Lack of evidence aside I'm disinclined to start a law suite. Though I could be convinced. I don't want to ruin someone's life over a slap, but I'm also feeling rather ... angry.

  • Is this a teacher you know well, or relatively new to you? Is this a preschool with one class your daughter's age, or more than one? Was there any physical evidence (such as a handprint)? What does your daughter say precipitated the slap?
    – Joe
    Oct 1, 2018 at 21:00
  • Also - I think Question 2 is on topic here, but Question 1 is more-or-less not answerable here. It's going to be largely a matter of opinion, and to the extent it's not it'll be a matter of not enough information here (given we don't know your daughter). You might ask how to determine whether to trust your daughter, but I think that is a separate question, and ultimately question 2 is the better one in any event and covers the need I suspect.
    – Joe
    Oct 1, 2018 at 21:01
  • @Joe, Your right about Question1, it's just hard to hold a 4 year old's word against an adults. I guess I was just looking for a justification to do so. I added an edit addressing your other questions. Oct 1, 2018 at 21:14
  • Contact a Lawyer, most lawyers do free initial consultations where they review your case and give you general advice on how to proceed. They can tell you whether you should file this as criminal charges with the police or whether a lawsuit is in order, or maybe if you need to take it up with the facility administration to pursue disciplinary action via that avenue. A lawyer can give you much more sound advice than anyone here, and like I said, most decent firms initial consultation is free so don't feel too scared about the price tag.
    – TCAT117
    Oct 1, 2018 at 23:19
  • I hope you are fine with my edit. I restructured it a bit so it becomes one text with the related information grouped together. I also "removed" your first question, as it's off topic as Joe noted, but kept the sentence. Oct 2, 2018 at 13:46

2 Answers 2


First off, when it involves your children being physically assaulted, always believe them. Children (especially so young) don't tend to have a strong concept of consequences. Because of this, it is unlikely that your daughter is fabricating the story to get the teacher in trouble.

In order to broach this subject with the teachers, you should ask the teachers to tell you more about their methods of discipline. You could even start the conversation with:

My daughter is sometimes unruly at home. You must have experience wrangling kids with all these little ones running around. Do you have any tips for me that could help when she seems to be absolutely out-of-control?

Although, that might be directing the conversation too much. Sometimes it's best to just ask straight out what their different stages of discipline are. The next thing I would do would be contact other parents privately and ask if they have similar stories coming home with their kids. Children are great spectators: they pick up on everything.

  • 1
    I find it unlikely that a caregiver in this day and age would admit to physical discipline, whether or not they use it. I don't see how this really resolves the problem at hand - namely, dealing with the fact that the child may have been abused.
    – Joe
    Oct 2, 2018 at 15:40
  • @Joe, the question was specifically how to broach it with the teacher, not how to enact vengeance. You don't know what someone will tell you if you don't ask. They may not tell you anything. Ask anyway. Then ask other parents about their children's reports. Oct 2, 2018 at 15:55
  • 3
    I understand that, but this method of asking is too indirect. Be direct if that’s what you want to do: tell her that your daughter said she slapped her. Asking indirectly like this won’t accomplish anything.
    – Joe
    Oct 3, 2018 at 1:39
  • Hi @Joe, thanks for your comments. You can see that I also noted that "Sometimes it's best to just ask straight out". I'm sorry I've caused you confusion. Oct 3, 2018 at 13:17

Ask the teacher about your daughter not being allowed to play or whatever she was doing. Tell her that since then your daughter is showing a "sad" face and ask the teacher "why should my daugther be sad?" So I had some experience with this and kids usually won't lie but also usually exaggerate, so if your daughter does not exaggerate in those kinds of situations, then I would say she is not lying.

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