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other children hitting my child

post #1 of 51
Thread Starter 
IT MAKES ME SO ANGRY.

My 3yo daughter has never ever hit anyone. EVER. She has never pushed anyone (at least on purpose). She just doesn't have it in her.

Today her friend that she plays with on a regular basis came up to her when she was laying down, and tried to pull her hair and almost dragged her.

Another time her other friend fell down, was crying, and my daughter came up and asked if she was ok. The friend pushed her.

When I see my daughter's eyes after something like this happens, it makes me SO ANGRY that I have to hold myself back to not go hurt that other child.

I stopped seeing a few friends whose kids have hit or hurt my daughter in some way, and I feel like we are running out of friends. In my head I understand that they are 3 and they are learning and it's good that these situations are happening in front of my eyes and not at a school playground where I can't discuss it with her. And on the other hand, I feel like there is no reason to take a chance of this happening and it's my job to shelter her from these negative experiences.

After those times, I talked to my daughter and told her that if something like this happens again, she needs to tell the offender to stop. And if they don't listen, to go ahead and push/hit them back.

What would you do? How do you handle this? How do you get your cool back after something like this happens?
post #2 of 51
yipes. my DD just turned three and i haven't run into this yet. blessedly.

i don't think i'd be spending much time with kids who hit either.

i can understand your feeling that you want her to hit back -- but think about it, do you really??

i'm big on avoiding these situations altogether even if it limits your friends list to a very short list.

if your daughter learns to hit and push from these other kids, then she becomes part of the problem.

i'm going to be on the lookout for this behavoir, and if i see it, i think i will take action to remove my child from the situation, rather than engage the bully.

i don't have experience with it yet, but in my niavete (sp), i guess i feel like my daughter has her whole life ahead of her, years of going to school and negotiating friends and all -- and i can still protect her since she's only three. and i want her to be sheltered from this sort of junk for as long as possible.

interested to hear what others have to say.
post #3 of 51
My DD is 4.5 and has never been hit by another child and has never hit another child. She's been in preschool, and before that, a bi-weekly playgroup since she was 18 months. There have been other issues, mostly screaming "NO! That's mine!" and the yanking of toys back and forth, that sort of thing, but for some reason, there's been no hitting. I know that hitting among that age group is pretty typical; we've just been lucky, I guess.

Does your DD want to play with other kids? If she's not all that into it, there's no reason to continue unless you find one or two kids that are a good match for her. There's also no reason to teach her to defend herself, unless you really want to, at her age. It can wait until she's older and both kids have better verbal skills and abilities. Personally I think avoiding hitting behavior is the better choice at this age, and that's what I would have done if it had been an issue for us.
post #4 of 51
Well...as a mom of three dc who does daycare, I have to say that hitting is pretty much a part of our life. The 6 & 4 year old don't hit much, but my 2yo ds and the 1 yo dc kid do. My kids don't typically hit other friends who they don't spend a lot of time with, though it has happened. I would feel really bad if a mom decided to end our dc's friendship over it, but I don't know what else to say. Except that I really, really loathe it when people label a THREE YEAR OLD a bully.

Anyway, I get that it bothers you, especially because your dd probably spends most of her time with adults. But it has been my experience that when kids spend enough time together, someone's going to get hit, though BellinghamCrunchy seems to have had a different experience. I guess you have to weigh your options, and decide how many friends you feel your dd needs.
post #5 of 51
I understand why it makes you angry but as you say, the children are only 3. Some 3 year olds are great at expressing their emotions and feelings verbally (Ie "Don't take that toy, I was playing with it!") while others can't and feel the need to express themselves physically.

My DS hasn't hit anyone is a VERY long time but he does get whacked once in a while from his friends. To be honest, as long as the other parent intercedes and explains that hitting isn't allowed, I don't get upset (and of course if my son doesn't get seriously hurt). And unless a child was continuing to hit my DS, I wouldn't end a friendship over a few mistakes a 3 yo makes.
post #6 of 51
my son was never aggressive but then my daughter is very much so. it's not really anyone's fault, so I would just try to help them work it out and try to prevent the hiting from taking place as much as possible. I understand why you get mad, I get mad when my daughter hits one of my other children, but it's a normal stage of development for most children
post #7 of 51
I remember a decent amt of hitting/pushing when dd was in (or playing with kids in) the 2-4 range--mostly age 3. My dd would hit/push back naturally (and then hit/push first the next time she interacted with that child), so I remember a LOT of heavy supervision at that age. Pretty much, I followed her around the playgrounds and kept within grabbing range to protect both her and the other kids (so a hit never landed). The kids all grew out of it.

In reference to something in your op, my dd might have pushed a child who approached her when she had fallen and was crying. I couldn't touch her when she was injured (neither could anyone else), and she would get scared if someone got too close. Or, sometimes she was embarrassed and wanted the child out of her space. Doesn't make pushing right, but it could explain why a child pushed in situation, even though your dd's intentions were sweet.

IMO, your reaction (wanting to hurt the offending child) is extreme. I understand wanting to protect our dc from harm and hurts, but these are truly small harms and hurts. They get over them very quickly, esp if we support them in resiliency and take steps (supervision) to make sure it isn't happening repeatedly. And it is a phase that the vast majority of children outgrow before school age, when your dc might be on playgrounds without your protection. Try to remember that it is normal, although undesirable, childish behavior.
post #8 of 51
I get being annoyed with a particularly aggressive kid (we have one of those in a class we do). But feeling so angry you want to hurt a 3 year old for hitting your child seems a bit excessive. At that age they are learning to control themselves. A 3 yo hitting or pushing is a completely different intention than an older child or adult hitting. They have little impulse control and often are just lashing out, not trying to be mean.

It's great that your DD doesn't hit or push. We've never yet had a problem with that either, but I think the best approach with this age kids is to be there to prevent.

I think if someone tried to drag my DD by her hair it would be time to end the playdate. If she was consistently aggressive in this way I would probably not have more playdates for a while and hope she got over this phase. But I wouldn't necessarily end the friendship. It's probably a phase, not a character flaw. She's 3.

My DD has pushed me away on occasion when she was upset like that and didn't want attention at the moment. I don't always want a hug when I am upset. I can use my words to explain that, an upset 3 yo probably cannot.

I don't think it is the best idea to tell your DD to hit back. What a confusing message. "It is wrong for that child to hit you but if she does, hit her back." That will get both of them absolutely nowhere. With my DD and the aggressive child I have told her to tell him to stop and to walk away. In this case we cannot choose not to interract with him because it is a class, so we just have to do a lot of talking about what to do before class. I wouldn't choose to interract with him if I had a choice but with other kids who occasionally hit or push, I just accept it as what they do at this age and help DD deal with it without hitting back.
post #9 of 51
This is the one situation where I will correct somebody else's child, and tell them "___, we don't hit". I do feel as a parent, that I need to protect my kids, and help them deal with a tough situation.
post #10 of 51
Quote:
And if they don't listen, to go ahead and push/hit them back.
When she gets older, this would make sense, but at three years old, that's going to add to the problem.
post #11 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyMommy2 View Post
This is the one situation where I will correct somebody else's child, and tell them "___, we don't hit". I do feel as a parent, that I need to protect my kids, and help them deal with a tough situation.
The "we don't hit" is a little weak for my taste. If I see children hitting and another adult doesn't step in, I will tell them "Do NOT hit people" in a firm voice.
post #12 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by phathui5 View Post
The "we don't hit" is a little weak for my taste. If I see children hitting and another adult doesn't step in, I will tell them "Do NOT hit people" in a firm voice.
the way that is typed if it is how it sounds I would consider very disrespectful toward the child. If I were a hurting child (which children usually are on one level or another when they are aggressive) I would not want to listen to an adult talking to me like that. If I were a highly sensitive child, I would not hear the words, only the tone of voice, and probably fall to the ground in tears thinking how mean and scary the stranger is, completely lost on the "lesson" of not hitting. And if another person who was supposed to be acting like an adult talked to my child that way I would have to take issue with that. just my 2 cents, something for others to consider if they care about that thing. I realize some people are only out to avenge their children, but being the parent of both an aggressive child and also a child who has NEVER been aggressive, I find the best way to get a child to stop hitting is to HELP them, not scold them.
post #13 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by elfimka View Post
I stopped seeing a few friends whose kids have hit or hurt my daughter in some way, and I feel like we are running out of friends. In my head I understand that they are 3 and they are learning and it's good that these situations are happening in front of my eyes and not at a school playground where I can't discuss it with her. And on the other hand, I feel like there is no reason to take a chance of this happening and it's my job to shelter her from these negative experiences.
I'm trying to say this very gently, but I think you are overreacting. I have twins, and we never ever use corporal punishment of any kind with them, but they still hit each other fairly frequently. It stinks, but hitting is a developmentally normal thing for a 3 year old child to do. Let me repeat that for emphasis: hitting is a developmentally normal thing for a 3 year old to do. Please don't judge someone's child unfairly and then cut them off without a second chance simply because the child may have hit yours while they are playing together. I understand wanting to protect your child from harm, believe me, my mama bear instinct still kicks in when one of mine hurts his sibling, but I take a deep breath, separate them, and after comforting the hurt child have a discussion with the hitter about why the behavior is hurtful and inappropriate.

Honestly, I think you can use these sorts of moments as a teaching opportunity with your daughter. Explain to her that some people have greater difficulty working through their emotions and controling their more negative ones. As long as the other parent is engaged with their own child and is responsive to the hitting situations then I really see no reason to stop letting that child play with yours. As you are already finding out, you are going to limit yourself and your daughter's opportunities for friendships and socialization quite severely if you aren't willing to be more forgiving and understanding about these sorts of situations.

Edited to add, I wouldn't encourage your daughter to hit back in these sorts of situations. At such a young age all that will do is send mixed messages to her about hitting and physical violence. What I tell my kids to do is tell the hitter to stop and come get me for help if that hitter continues after the warning.

Hope that helps!
post #14 of 51
I struggle with this weekly. My DD NEVER hits. She has a cousin who is 3 months older (28 and 31 months) and her cousin pushes/drags/hits her CONSTANTLY. Like, today, we were there less than 2 hours and DD was pushed 3 times and dragged across the carpet once.

I've had a hard time with it because DD sometimes doesn't want to see her cousin at all, then other times begs. Her cousin is almost 10 pounds heavier and several inches taller than she is and she will shove DD with all her body weight, scream at her and drag her across the floor.

My SIL does just about nothing. She says "Skylar NO". That is IT. No "we don't hit people." No time out. NOTHING.

Today I'd had enough so I started having to discipline DN. I think we're done playing for a while. I feel your pain mama. I have to admit, sometimes I want to give DN a smack, but clearly that is counterproductive.

DD just cries because she doesn't understand why her cousin is being so mean to her. I have told DD to stand up for herself and tell her cousin no, but it doesn't work.

The sad part is that they are the only cousins.

I'll be reading this thread for advice!
post #15 of 51
Seriously? Have you ever done any reading about child development, and what is normal behavior for 2-3 year olds? For those of you who have children who never hit/push/etc.- you should consider yourselves extremely lucky and rare (and, I feel the need to add, NOT superior to the parents of children who do occasionally hit, nor are you rearing children who are somehow nicer/better/etc. than children who do) My child is bright, kind, and extremely sensitive. She occasionally hits- mostly when she was younger- but still does now (3.5) very occasionally, when she has used words to express her feelings and been ignored and is overwhelmed. E.g. another child was getting into her backpack, my dd told her repeatedly to stop, the child did not, and then dd physically tried to stop that child-- not an acceptable way of dealing with the issue, but, in my opinion, understandable. I was right there and intervened when my dd showed signs of resorting to getting physical, but the other parent did nothing to help her child respond appropriately to the repeated requests of my dd to leave her things alone. I don't think that this means that my dd is mean, that I'm a crappy parent, or that other moms should keep their innocent children away from her. Little kids are trying to figure out what they can and can't control, and they're dealing with big emotions at the same time. If the other moms are truly sitting back and not intervening at all when their kids pummel yours, then, sure, hang out with someone else. If the parents are trying, then I think you should get real, cut them all some slack, and allow your child to interact with other kids her own age on occasion.
post #16 of 51

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Edited by Muminmamman - 6/25/11 at 5:57pm
post #17 of 51
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for advice, mamas. I knew I came to the right place to vent.

As it turned out, my daughter was a much bigger person than me in this situation. She got over this in less than 24 hours and said she wants to play with her friend again.

You are right, I overreact. Especially now when I am pregnant with my third, I think my hormones are all over the place and the whole world perception is messed up. That's why I wanted to ask you, mamas, I knew you'd tell me as it is.

Some of you may have misunderstood me: I do want her to be exposed to a certain degree of violence on the playground, as it will be inevitable when she goes to school anyway. The two friends that we stopped playing with were:
1. would try to hit her everytime he saw her and would try to control all her steps. If he felt she was doing something wrong, he would try to push her rather hard in an opposite direction... That kind of child... And the mother who did nothing.
2. that friend started daycare and became very verbally abusive. again, mother didn't do anything when she would say hurtful things to my daughter.

So these guys had to go. The friends who hit occasionally, we still see them. My daughter forgives fast and forgets. And as long as she is ok with all that, I am ok too. I just keep a close eye when we are there.


I feel like I offended some mothers whose kids hit and I totally didn't mean it. I know, I KNOW it's developmentally normal. I am NOT saying that all kids who hit have crappy mothers, by no means. I think very highly of most of my friends with kids and their gentle approach to discipline, even if hitting occurs. I do get angry at mothers who don't get involved at all, but none of our friends are like that.

After reading your responses, I agree that I shouldn't encourage her to hit back, as it may grow into a problem over time. I really want her to learn to stand up for herself, but now I see that she is too young to understand when hitting back may be ok, and I will just confuse her.

So... other than "we don't hit", what else can I do when something like this happens? It's only recently I started to encourage her to hit/push back. Usually I would comfort her and give her a chance to cry it out. Then we would talk about how it's not ok to hit people and that when something like that happens, she should tell that person that it's not ok and that he/she needs to stop. But then I guess I had an image of her being bullied at school where I wasn't to help her, and that's when I thought I'd tell her to push back. Now I totally see it's too early to teach her when it's ok to push back.

So what else works?

Thank you all so much for advice.
post #18 of 51
Usually the best thing to do long term is to deal with the "why" of why they hit. For example, if my Daycare girl is hitting DS because DS is trying to take a toy away, I will tell her "We don't hit. Say "mine"." And then I will make sure that DS respects her boundaries. A lot of kids in the 2-4 year range don't know what to say to make their point. I've always found that giving them the words helps. (Although it takes many run throughs before they remember in the heat of the moment.)
post #19 of 51
Sorry about my strong reaction-- can you tell this is something that I'm sensitive about as well I feel like a broken record telling my dd to "move away" from whoever is bothering her- which I think is great advice for your dd as well. Before playdates where I suspec there might be some issues, I try to remind her to first use her words (to tell someone to stop) and then move away from them and come to mommy. At home, when she gets riled up and tries to hit me, I make a big deal about moving away from her and tell her that I 'm moving so that she can't hurt me and that I hope that if anyone ever tries to hurt her, that she will go away from them- that it's not okay for anyone to hurt us. Physical space is a great thing for diffusing violence.
post #20 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by elfimka View Post
But then I guess I had an image of her being bullied at school where I wasn't to help her, and that's when I thought I'd tell her to push back. Now I totally see it's too early to teach her when it's ok to push back.

So what else works?
.
Just to reiterate, these hitting/pushing kids will almost certainly outgrow the behavior entirely by the time they are in school. You probably will never need to teach her to push back, because it won't be an issue when they are older. Borrowing trouble, and all that.

I taught dd to respond to a hit or push with a loud "Don't hit me!" or "Don't push me!" that would get the attention of an adult (because she was naturally hitting back, and the adults wouldn't nec see that someone hit first and she would often get blamed . It was helpful when she was littler, and I thought it would be a good skill for the schoolyard....but it turns out it isn't an issue on the schoolyard anyway.
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