This forum is plagued with this type of thread lately---‘tis the season!
But I'm learning so much from the responses that I can't help but post my own dilemma.
I go weekly to the park with DD (3) and DS (baby). I meet with some fellow SAHMs, and we all sit within eye-shot (but not always earshot) of the playground.
One week, a little girl (about age 6) approached and informed me that DD had pushed her and punched her in the stomach. She said this all in a calm voice without any crying or signs of injury. I overreacted in this little girls favor and promptly removed DD from the playground equipment. She had to sit with the adults until she calmed down.
I overreacted because it later occurred to me that there are always two sides to every story, and DD is not old enough or verbally developed enough to articulate her side. In fact, if I ask, “Did you push her?” she just clams up and stares at me.
Fast forward to this week. A couple of boys—one about 5, and the other at least 8 (!) came to tattle that DD was “being mean”—pushing them, following them, throwing bark at them. I responded with, “Oh dear, how did that happen?” Well, kids being kids, I get a story that they were 100% innocent and she aggressed upon them out of the blue. I responded that they should do everything they could to stay away from her. Ten minutes later, I watched DD push one of the kids. I’m not sure what provoked it. Again, I yanked her out of the situation and scolded her. Twenty minutes later, I watched one the younger twerp sneak up behind her and then rub a bunch of bark into her hair.
So onto the questions. And remember, I’m a novice parent, so expect some ignorance and naivete.
1. I am determined not to become a helicopter parent and micromanage how my children play. Besides, with an active baby to look after, I have better things to do than stand in the playground and monitor a bunch of kid drama. So how do I handle the tattling?
In both of these cases, none of these kids’ parents were present, so it was as if the onus was on me to solve everybody’s problems. And unlike these kids, DD is THREE. YEARS. OLD. My gut tells me not to indulge tattling. This seems like a stupid trap to get stuck in, so what’s the best way out?
2. DD wasn’t guilty in every case, but she’s obviously been exerting some aggression. How do I handle that? Do I just pack up and leave at the first offense as a logical consequence? Or is that overdoing it? If you have or have had an aggressive three-year-old, what’s worked for you?
3. I hate forced apologies (they’re mostly for show, IMHO, and she doesn’t really get the concept) but value basic courtesy. So how, if at all, should ammends be made?
Oh, and FWIW, none of the moms I hang out with have reported any problems between my DD and their kids, and I like to think that they’re honest people.
TIA. I feel so foolish even posting this.
There's soooo much I don't know about parenting.