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other children hitting my child - Page 2

post #21 of 51
I work with three year olds. Sometimes, they need an adult to bring them to the offending child and to show them what to say- "tell Johnny that you didn't like when he pushed you and that it hurt you". Sometimes they need that extra confidence boost of having an adult there and showing them what to say and after a while, they'll start trying it for themselves. For a timid child, sometimes confrontation can be pretty scary, even if the "confrontation" is to tell another child you don't like him hitting you.
post #22 of 51
She can say "Don't hit me!" and as a more important life lesson that will REALLY impact her "schoolyard bully" strategey is to tell her she deserves to be treated nicely by her friends and if she feels she isn't, she can decide to say "I'm not going to play with you." She can set her own terms, walk away if she needs to. Doesn't have to be snotty, but she doesn't have to take it either. Determining someone is not treating you well and leaving is a vital life skill. And reporting it if need be is also an important component. I mean, there is a difference between standing up for yourself and being a tattletale, but telling someone who can physically maintain peace and sort out justice if you have been wronged is important. Hitting back does not do anything but raise the level of tension and the severity of the next blow and lets the original hitter set the stage and have the upper hand. Walking away gives the power to her and she asserts her own power to change the dynamic as well as reaffirms her right to peace and respect. "Don't hit me or I'm not playing." is simple, effective and true.

3 yr olds don't really see hitting the way we do. You dd may be upset about something, but most likely, even if she doesn't hit herself, she can understand it as more of a lashing out than a calculated abuse and will quickly move beyond it. Like a pp said- by school, hitting will become much more rare and not random.

I agree- if it is "not your normal toddler/preschooler stuff", then, don't hang out. If it is a playground scuffle, a toy dispute, or an emotional time and it gets a little physical, learn to explain, forgive and empower. It is normal, and it can be a learning opportunity for everyone.
post #23 of 51
I think you can understand it is normal child development stuff, and still be angry/annoyed about it. The mama-bear instinct doesn't turn off just because it is a child that is hurting your little one, at least for me.

It also doesn't necessarily mean you act on your anger... but I don't think there should be any shaming of someone who admits that this is how they feel when their child is being hurt.

I do home daycare, and I will admit that I get angry when any of the older children hit my 11mo. It doesn't mean that I react irrationally, or terminate care, or hit the child back or something, but yes, it makes me angry. I think it is a perfectly normal reaction.
post #24 of 51
I get sad when my child gets hurt but I dont get angry. I guess when you only have 1 child who hasnt gone through the hitting stage yet - or are lucky to have a child who never will - that is may be easier to get angry. When you realize its something your own child may do I think its different. Imagine having 2 kids, and the child hitting your child is one of your other children. Now imagine WHY this happens. Because the "offender" is hurting themselves. Would you feel anger towards the child? Or would you feel sad for both your children? The child who was hurt physically, and the child who was hurt enough emotionally to hurt your other child. I think understanding why children hurt others helps to ease any feelings of anger towards the "offended".
post #25 of 51
I don't know if this helps, but at a local Montessori school they do the "peace rose" thing which I really like.

If one person hurts another, you get the peace rose and you take turns holding it... first the child who got hit holds it, and they talk about how it made them feel, then the child who hit holds the peace rose, and talk about what they are feeling, and you do that a few more times. I think it helps to encourage the "I" statements... "I was really mad that you took my toy, and that's why I hit you" or "It made me feel bad and mad when you hit me". I do this kind of thing with my DS and he is able to express his emotions very well now (he's 5).

At younger ages they need a lot of prompting to "get" what you're trying to do.

As a parent, my response to the other child would be, "Don't hit (my child's name). It is NOT OK to hit."

My therapist taught me the phrase "It's not OK" and it works surprisingly well for both children and adults.

If my child was being hit, I would teach him to say that same phrase to the child and then if the child kept hitting, to come find me or an adult. My rationale is that it's OK to teach him to stand up for himself, and hitting isn't the only way to respond to hitting.

Don't know if any of this helps with your gut reaction to the event. I can understand being mad about it, you're a mama bear just like the rest of us and sometimes the mama bear makes an appearance!
post #26 of 51
Thread Starter 
Thank you, mamas! And thank you to those who understand my instincts and don't try to make me feel like a monster.

I think I found something that works: loudly telling the offender to stop. We had a talk again and I told her that I was wrong about hitting back, that it's really never ok to hit, and so on.

Yesterday we were at the park. She is playing with her 18 months old brother in the sand. Another boy comes up and starts taking the shovel out of my sons hands. My son does not let go. The boy gets frustrated and lifts his arm to swing at my son. My daughter jumps up and loudly yells in his face: "STOP! DO NOT HIT MY BROTHER! IT'S NOT OK!!!" The boy slowly puts his arms down and walks off. Daughter kisses the brother on top of his head and says "It's ok, don't worry."

Seriously, I am one proud mother. This was the first time she stood up for anyone, including herself, and just the way I would want her to.
post #27 of 51
Wow! That rocks. What a cool kid!
post #28 of 51
I understand why it makes you angry, it makes me angry when my children hit other kids. My son is almost 3 and my daughter is 15 months and both of them (even more so the younger one) hit from time to time. I try to be right there to intervene, we often go home if my son is acting up, but it is part of life, and my feelings would be really hurt if mothers didn't want to hang out with me because my kids are aggressive at times. Mind you my kids are verbal and are sweet, but if they are hungry, tired or just plain off some pushing or even hitting can come from them.
i really don't mind when my kids get hit from other kids, of course I dont want them to get hurt, and it does hurt me to see my kids cry because another kids pushed them down, but I think it is soooo important to be there in those situations in order to model empathy, forgiveness, and show them how to better express themselves.
I have a harder time with moms who are so set in stone: you hit my kids we can't play...come on really, I think that is just silly. Now if there was hitting and the mother of the hitter never stepped in, that would be different.
That said when my son started hitting his friend every time we got together I stopped letting my son hang out with him for a month or so until that stage passed.
hope you find some peace in this, it really is life and our job is to be there, intervene, help prevent it, and deal with it if it happens.
I mean just this morning at playgroup my 15 month old daughter just slapped her little friend across the face. I feel awful, I was right there and tried to stop it, but it happened so fast. I would be really hurt if those mothers marginalized me....
post #29 of 51
Originally Posted by Kimiko View Post
If you have this visceral of a reaction and you are an adult with boundaries, life experience and appropriate filters, imagine how it must feel for the "bad" child when they have a wave of emotions burst through? Three year olds are still brand new to the game. They are still learning things that we as adults obviously still struggle with.

couldn't have said it better.

i'm another mama bear, but the fact that the op wants to hurt a 3 year old is a little scary to me.
post #30 of 51
Thread Starter 
Give me a break. There is a difference between wanting to hurt someone else and actually doing it. Just because my maternal instinct kicks in and I get angry at anyone (children or adults) who hurts my child and I want to do anything to protect her, doesn't mean that I'll actually hurt the other child (but I sure as hell will make sure it doesn't happen again, as I am a mother and it's my responsibility to protect). Do you see the difference?

AGAIN. Even though my children are not aggressive, I know it's developmentally normal for children in general to try to hit. Just like it's normal to.. mm, I don't know.. to try to throw rocks. Or to say hurtful things, just to see what happens. But that doesn't mean that I'll stand around watching other children throw rocks at my child or say hurtful things to her, just because it's "developmentally normal". Come on.

If a child continuously hurts my child, well too bad, he'll have to find other playmates. Even if it hurts his mother's feelings. This is just non-trivial for me.

I am done.
post #31 of 51
yes the difference is you are mature enough to control yourself, and the child is not. I understand that. No one is saying to stand around and let it happen, but imagine if one day you have a child who DOES go through that stage - how would you feel if everyone went around protecting their child to the point no one would play with your child anymore? I can understand if its over the top ongoing aggression to say nicely to the mother (no need to hurt feelings just for the sake of it) "I love spending time with you, but I don't think our kids are a good match for playmates right now. Maybe just you and I can get together without the kids sometime" or something like that. I however, understand aggression comes with the toddler territory. My oldest NEVER hit anyone until starting school. Then he saw the aggression and started doing it occasionally too, though nothing like my aggressive child. I am glad I didn't act all high and mighty because I'd be feeling like quite the fool right now! (not saying you are, just saying its tempting to do so when you have a non-aggressive child, to think "oh I must have done something to create this non aggressive child" when really the credit just goes to the childs temperment - which is why the same parent can raise children who never aggress and children who do) Anyway, you don't have to stand around and watch, but you can try being "in the middle" of the play (this works the best for me, we play games where the adult is the center of the game, and it eliminates aggression for some reason). This way the children can learn to play together, you can prevent injury, you dont have to hurt the other child emotionally to protect your child physically, etc. It's win/win. You wouldnt want someone to hurt your child emotionally just to protect their physically either I'm sure, if the situation were reversed, which I hope for your sake that it never is, because I find its must easier to be the parent of the non-aggressor then it is to be the parent of the aggressor.

Anytime you are moved to anger like that though, it IS worth exploring. As those are human feelings, it's also human to sometimes slip a little in the control of those feelings. So I personally wouldn't just say "I have every right to be so mad I want to hurt them, because I wouldnt actually do it" to be on the safe side, I personally would say "why am I THIS mad about this? Of course I dont want to see my child be hurt, but should I feel like hurting another person, a child, even if I wouldnt act on it? What is causing such extreme emotions in me?" etc, and I'd work on it, and try to bring myself down so that eventually I could respond to the situation effectively without boiling anger and desire to hurt someone elses child. I ask myself how I could feel if the situation was reversed. I would ask myself how my child could BENEFIT from the situation. I would take the opportunity to teach my child how they can protect themselves (without hitting back) help them learn when their playmate is getting to "that point" so they can walk away etc. So many skills can be learned in these situations that will prepare them for when we wont be there. I understand some people feel a certain age is too young to learn these things, but I dont think a child is ever to young to learn how to protect themselves without hurting others, and this is something we teach to one extent or another from birth, as these situations arise natually, which they will in a playdates with children that age. Again, not saying to stand back and do nothing, but to take hold of the situation and turn it around for good. It may not be a big deal to you, non-trivial as you put it, but if you are open to think from another perspective (which is inevitably what will be offered to you on a message board) then consider if it would be a big deal if your child was the one being shunned for normal behavior. Consider if you think it would be more appropraite for the non-aggressor to learn how to play SAFELY with the aggressor while the aggressor learns to stop being aggressive. Yes, we all do have to decide what is the point we will walk away too, even as adults, so there is nothing wrong with that. At the same time, its good to teach tolerance. I hope you can find that balance, I know its hard to find. If we expect everyone to treat us perfectly (or even to just never treat us poorly) we would be lonely. We have all been hurt and we have all hurt others. Even in this own thread things you have said were hurtful to others, and you were hurt by things others said. Should we all leave this board and never return? Or never respond to eachothers posts? I think not. We can all afford to be a little tolerant. Toddlers exhibiting toddler behavior deserve some tolerance too. Yes, we can walk away if it becomes dangerous. We can also think a few foul plays will happen in the course of toddler play, and we can take measures to prevent them. What would hurt your child more, sticking around to play while her mom prevented her from hurt and helped everyone work through the problems? Or saying her playmates arent good enough for her? Only you know the answer to that. My personality leads me to be comfortable with less friends that are really valuable - perhaps you only want your child to be friends with children who are just like her in the sense they are never aggressive. Just consider the fact your child may be a late bloomer and become aggressive herself one day, and how she would feel if her playmates couldnt play with her anymore. A healthy tolerance never hurt anyone. Even I with my limited friends have high tolerance of the friends I do have. I pick onyl friends who treat me good, and I treat them good, but they have their quirks or they something say or do something that upsets me, but if I expected perfection I would be very lonely. I am sure there are things I do that they are tolerant of as well. When it comes to children the things that need to be tolerated aren't the same. It's more abou toy snatching and name calling and hitting. As adults its more about unintentionally hurtful comments, dissappointment, occasional let downs, possibly some broken promises, etc. Children are not as complicated as adults, and there is no need to complicate it this early on. Healthy Tolerance is a simple idea. Children are more forgiving then we are, and I think its not such a bad thing to let them be.

It's tough stuff, I hate seeing my children be hurt (hug to you)
post #32 of 51
i understand how you feel OP. my DD is a very gentle child and used to get very upset when playmates hit. i decided to stop playing indoors with kids who hit (outdoors it seemed to be less of a problem, i don't know why). hitting may be a phase and a learning opportunity for some kids, but i didn't feel that i needed my DD to be hit so another kid could learn self-control, KWIM? she didn't need to be cracked over the head with a toy to learn play skills. i don't hit my kids, and i don't put them in a situation when i know there's a very good chance someone else will hit them.

one time, at the playground, a little boy pulled out a LARGE clump of DD's hair. her head was bleeding. yes, i wanted very badly to hit him. of course i didn't. but i understand wanting to.

DD still knows to yell DON'T HIT ME! if someone tries to or hits her. but i didn't intentionally expose her to hitters, biters, or hair-pullers so she could learn that.

so no, i don't think you're overreacting.
post #33 of 51
Originally Posted by majormajor View Post
i don't hit my kids, and i don't put them in a situation when i know there's a very good chance someone else will hit them.
that works for me when it comes to adults, but my first child is the ONLY child we have ever come in contact with in real life who didn't go through the hitting phase, so never letting my child experience a play date because someone may try to hit them (which was nearly always preventable without canceling the play date completely) just didn't feel like the best option for my child. I understand how some parents may feel otherwise though, its just something to consider.
post #34 of 51
I've read through the posts and have seen some great ideas and responses. One thing I haven't seen addresses is the personal space issues. My now 4 yo had a hard time with hitting when he was in his 3s. He needed his personal space boundaries. He had one little girl friend in particular who never respected that. She was a passive, calm girl who was never spanked, and who never hit any other kids, however, she would not get out of his space. He would start by asking her to leave him alone, then it would escalate to a yell of "get away from me", then he'd hit her. Generally, my son was the one in trouble for yelling and hitting. I'm not trying to imply that your DD has a personal space issue, but if you do have one particular friend who seems to always get physical with your daughter, maybe there's a trigger that you're not aware of. By closely watching my DS and his little friend during play dates, I could make sure that personal space was addressed and never escalated to violence - verbal or physical. It made for them to be much better playmates. Soon DS's little friend realized the space issue - after much conversation and modeling, and now at 4 the LOs play very well together and really enjoy each other's company.
They do grow out of hitting, sometimes faster than you realize.
Teaching your kids appropriate boundaries, ie, it's not ok to hit ever, is wonderful. Ensuring that little things don't boil over in short order with immature toddlers is also key.
Even in the example you gave of your DD standing up for your DS. If the other boy had been offered a different sand toy, perhaps there would have been three happily playing children, instead of one frustrated boy, a mystified toddler and a defensive big sister.
I hope your daughter will have many good pals and playdates.
post #35 of 51
Originally Posted by elfimka View Post
I think I found something that works: loudly telling the offender to stop. We had a talk again and I told her that I was wrong about hitting back, that it's really never ok to hit, and so on.

Yesterday we were at the park. She is playing with her 18 months old brother in the sand. Another boy comes up and starts taking the shovel out of my sons hands. My son does not let go. The boy gets frustrated and lifts his arm to swing at my son. My daughter jumps up and loudly yells in his face: "STOP! DO NOT HIT MY BROTHER! IT'S NOT OK!!!" The boy slowly puts his arms down and walks off. Daughter kisses the brother on top of his head and says "It's ok, don't worry."
That is AWESOME! That is EXACTLY what I would recommend, as the mother of a sometimes hitter/pusher. My son went through a phase at about 2 1/2 where he was pushing anyone and everyone (including babies after ogling over them for a few minutes, which was so painful for me to see), apparently to see what would happen. It was very embarrassing for me as his mother, and I would talk to him about it constantly, and I felt like the message didn't really get through. Sometimes I didn't even really do anything about it when it happened several times in a row, because I was feeling so frustrated and hopeless and I felt like such a bad mama. However, when another child would tell him NO in a strong voice, I could see how it was the best thing for him and he really listened. I have encouraged some of his friends to do the same as your daughter did, and I've tried to give my son words to use if this happens to him or he has a toy grabbed away.

Another thing I would encourage you to think about is how you would feel if your child were the one hitting (which could happen sometime, it's not a factor of how good a parent you are or how gentle you are with your child), and to realize that it can be very hard to be in that position as well. When my son was pushing regularly I considered not going to play group at all, and I think that would have been a bad thing because he needed to work through this phase. I felt bad and apologized to other children who were hurt and encouraged him to do the same although most of the time he refused because he had done it on purpose and wasn't really sorry. ("How about if you say I'm sorry that she's hurt instead of I'm sorry that you pushed her?" would work sometimes) I would have been even more embarrassed if one of our friends refused to play with him because of this, although I would have understood. Some other friends of ours have gone through similar stages, and it seems that if a gentle family helps their child work through this then it is just a phase, and it can be harmful to label the child as "a hitter" or a bully, so I would definitely be careful about that.

I hope that this helps, and it sounds like you're on the right track!
post #36 of 51
There but for the grace of God...next time it could be your kid doing the hitting, or pinching, or whispering not-nice things on the playground, or ganging up on a smaller child, etc...I think a place of compassion is a good place to start.

"Don't hit me!" is a great place to start.
post #37 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 #38 of 51
My 5 year old has also never ever pushed, hit, kicked, etc another child. He's been in a pre-school setting, early intervention with me with him first then special needs pre-school since then, since he was 15 months old...I think the reality of being in a special needs class, especially an autism specific class, is your kid is going to be hit, pushed, whatever...it just happens without the other kid even knowing that what they have done is in the least bit wrong.

Anyway,my point, he has NEVER picked up on this, never. And I don't think avoiding all kids who hit is the answer...it's not possible for some of us, and I don't think a kid hitting other kids necessarily means they are a "bad" kid.

Ohh, and I don't have a good answer. The first time one of my kids was hit was at a mall play area, a kid who had to have been at least 7 slapped Janelle, who wasn't yet 2, for wearing shoes (robeez) in the play area...I stood up immediately, was nursing Kincaid nearby, and got to the girl in time to grab her hand just before she slapped Janelle again... The mom was not impressed that I grabbed her daughter, but I honestly didn't care. : Janelle DID pick up slapping from this...she slapped dh and I and her brother (6 months at the time) for probably a month before we finally got it to stop...
post #39 of 51
Originally Posted by elfimka View Post

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?

As a parent who has a child that piches and grabs. It is not fair to drop your friends. I have been hurt by many so called "friends" because my child grabs faces. Ds is very intense is not doing it out of aggression. most of the time it is the opposite and he is trying to show love or affection. Obviuosly no one wants to see their child get hurt, but remember there are two sides to every story. We are a GD family and ds still does it. It is NORMAL for children to hit,pull,pinch bite etc. When i play with certain children I stay right next them at all times and I distract ds when he gets the "look" in his eyes. I try to prevent the event. But, I do beg everyone to stop judging parents and be a friend to the parent. It makes it worse because now the child is shunned and will have more problems.
post #40 of 51
Originally Posted by sunnmama View Post

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.
I'm actually shocked it's not every mothers natural reaction to want to hurt someone (no matter who/how small) who hurt their child (again, no matter how minor)...she didn't say she acted upon it...

There was a boy in Kincaid's class this year who told him to his face while playing before school "I don't like you cause I don't know what you are saying" (Kincaid has a pretty severe articulation issue and has been in speech therapy since he was 15 months old)...my first reaction was to WANT to slap that child...I obviously didn't, but I have to admit I did cry, and I am still upset with this child...I don't think first reactions/emotions are something we can change, but we can choose to not act on them.
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