Originally Posted by Cinder
Ohh, I definitely agree that hitting is completely normal for 3...and I would NOT stop having playdates with a kid who occasionally hits, not at all, like I said, Kincaid having been in a special needs pre-school for years now has been on the receiving end of quite a few pushes and hits, but I still think that flash of wanting to do something to the kid who hurt your kid is completely normal and not a bad thing...it becomes bad if you act upon it.
with most children who go through the hitting phase (and most children do go through it) there is a time where its occasional and a time where it's increased. For me I don't continue play dates solely for the sake of the aggressor. I continue play dates for my child sake as well, if my child wants to continue the play dates. We wouldn't continue if my child didnt want to but I notice that with most children I observe, and having been a child myself once, that it would be more hurtful to not be allowed to play with a child then the "fights" or "aggressions"
A lot can be taught in these moments to the non-aggressor.
1) that they can still be gentle (do the right thing) when the other person is not. This is a lesson they can bring with them throughout the years.
2) that they can choose to walk away. They can learn they can be tolerant and compassionate without putting themselves in danger. they can learn to speak up for themselves.
I wouldn't cut out playdates but I would give my child options, and that would include the option to walk away or end a playdate early or decline a play date invitation. The same applies to their playdates with non-aggressive children though.
A child can be heartbroken over losing a playmate. Sometimes we have to consider which is more hurtful in the long run. I'm not saying the answer is always the same either, but as much as possible I think its best for me to let my children make this decision. I plan to do the same thing when they are teens. I trusted my babies cries. Now I trust their judgment in whether or not they want to continue play dates. One day I will trust their judgment about their friends. My mom tried to tell me who to be friends with and who to date as I got older. I just went behind her back, and the sad thing was I was never given any skills as a child to learn how *I* felt about things... its possible if I had that I might have chosen friends that are respectful to me. By my mom deciding who I could have play dates with, go to the movies with, date, etc, it told me she didnt trust my judgment. If she didn't trust me, the trust was broken, and I did not trust her. On top of that I couldn't trust myself.
Again, not saying to let your child be hit, but if there is no serious danger I would take the opportunity to nourish some life long skills that will help them
1) stand up for themselves
2) determine what their limits are
3) be compassionate
We can learn to live with the flaws of others without disrespecting ourselves then we plant a seed of tolerance. I believe that comes back to us - we are tolerant of others short comings and others are tolerant of us.
However, I feel very strongly that balance is important. I don't think blind tolerance is the answer nor do I think a sheltered life is the answer. I am somewhere in the middle.
Yes, its hard to see your child be hit. With my one aggressive child I find I get very very upset when they hit my other children - and that is my own child who is making me feel that way - at the same time, I can recognize there is an unmet need and skills that need to be built, for all the children involved. My non aggressors have learned what their limits are, when to ask for help, what they can do, how to stick up for themselves, etc. None of them have sustained serious injuries
I find often hurt feelings last longer then a toy being whacked on their head, at least for my children. I know it would be worse for me to say they can't play with each other anymore then for them to occasionally get pushed or hit because I wasn't fast enough to intervene.
Also, experiencing being hurt, and seeing how I respond to them when they are sends the message that they don't deserve that treatment. It reinforces it. They know mommy and daddy don't treat them that way. They also know others are expected not to treat them that way either. Additionally, and this is where sticking through it comes in, they learn that if you want to stay in a friendship you work through differences, and they also learn what they can do in these types of circumstances, and they know they are supported in their decision to either continue play dates, put them on hold for a while, a sever the friendship altogether.
Now, if I was at a play date and a child was like, trying to stab my child or something, then yes, when its severe I may have to make a decision about it for my child's safety.
but when we are talking about TYPICAL childhood aggression, it does more harm then good to stop play dates.
While yes, you should consider what its like for the other child, you must remember this effects your child just as much. You know your child best and know what decision is best for them... but consider what you wuld do if you had a second child who was an aggressor... or if you gentle child one day becomes aggressive.
Don't think it can't happen. I hope it doesn't, that would be wonderful luck, but if it does, what would you do? would you shun one of your own children? do you think it would be better for your child to see you say "we cant accept someone trying to work through a problem"
we have been through a lot in my family I guess, and we wouldn't have a family if we stopped relationships solely because someone was going THROUGH something. Learn when to walk away and when to stick around. I think people walk away in general more often then they should.
we'll I've rambled long enough. I hope everyone can find the balance or side of the fence that works for them. Just speaking from experience having 3 children of my own, 2 siblings, 4 cousins, and running several daycares as well as volunteering in school programs, and a good deal of education in the field of child psychology. In that I have learned, there is no one right answer, but that these are opportunities that we can either miss completely, or use to benefit our children for the future.