sticky situation with my friend's daughter - Mothering Forums

 
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#1 of 6 Old 11-16-2010, 06:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have a very good friend who is a single mom to a 3 year old girl.  My friend is very like-minded and we get along great, but her daughter, who has a speech delay, is downright violent towards my daughter.  She has grabbed her by the neck, hit her in the face, and grabbed her shirt and pulled her to the ground several times.  My daughter (also 3 but much smaller than my friend's daughter) is not a fighter.  In fact, she will come to me crying and say "Jenna is sad and angry!"  more concerned about the friend being upset.

 

The issue for me is, my friend will say "STOP IT!" at the daughter and then grab her and tickle her.  There is no time out, no consequences, etc.  I am sure the daughter takes it as a game. I spoke to my friend about how I worry about my daughter's safety and that if it continues I will continue to be her friend but I can't allow my daughter to play with hers.  Her response was "well, she never hurt anyone- well, not BAD anyways- it is because of her speech delay".  I just don't know what to do.  My daughter's safety is my first priority but since our kids are always with us, it seems like there is no option but to stop hanging out altogether, or come up with another solution.  No matter whose turf they are on, her daughter won't share.  Even my daughter's toys!  I just don't know how to handle this.  Should I teach my daughter to fight back?  I want her to stick up for herself but not in a violent way.  I practice gentle discipline but there are consequences for naughtiness.  Time out, etc.  I don't brush it off like it is nothing.  Especially violence!  Also even if we are at the playground, she pushes my daughter off the swing, etc.  It is not just toys that they can't seem to share.  My daughter is not totally innocent, if this girl tries to take a toy out of my daughter's hand, my daughter will hold tight and say NO!  But she does not get physical. 

 

Sorry- I am getting way off on a tangent.  I just wondered how you all would handle it. 


Kerri, mom to Doran  angel2.gif  (born still 7/6/05 at 33 weeks), Mairaed (11/16/07),  angel1.gif 11/15/08 at 10 weeks,  Kieran (11/2/09).   angel1.gif 1/11/11 at 15 weeks
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#2 of 6 Old 11-16-2010, 06:30 AM
 
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It's very common for toddlers to have issues with aggression for a period of time before they're able to verbally handle things they feel.  My dd got through this stage pretty quickly, but she was advanced with speech, and I imagine your friend's dd's delay is going to make this harder to get through.  But it's something that most toddlers have to some extent or another (some worse than others) and it's something they simply outgrow as they learn to talk about how they feel.

 

I don't think it's fair to expect her to punish for this, as it's something her dd will almost certainly outgrow as her speech improves, but it is fair to expect her to play closer attention to her dd during play until she outgrows this.  While my dd was going through her hitting and pushing phase, I tailed her and was absolutely right on her to protect others from her, and every time told her to be gentle.  It's about consistency and repitition, not punishment, and even then the bigger issue is damage control so other kids don't get hurt.  I don't know why your friend is tickling, but it might be a playful parenting technique to try to distract her dd.  IMO it would be better to be right on top of her and catch her before she does anything.

 

So you could either suggest she tail her dd during this phase, though I know parents don't always like to do that because it's a lot of work and it makes playdates not really worth the effort, and she might not like you making the suggestion.  Or you could be right on your daughter protecting her until this phase is past, but again it makes playdates a lot of work, and it's IMO her responsibility since it's her dd going through the phase.  Or you could wait it out and just not do playdates with until her dd gets past this aggressive phase.  Unfortunately there's no fast fix.  :hug  I know it's frustrating watching someone go after your dd.  I remember a friend's son's toddler aggression was centered around biting, and he bit my dd really hard several times.  He outgrow it pretty quickly too, it was just a few months, but again it could hang on longer with your friend's dd because of her delay.

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#3 of 6 Old 11-16-2010, 06:31 AM
 
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My son has a speech disorder, and at 2 and 3 years of age, he was a really frustrated little guy. He had so much in his head that he wanted to say and no one could understand him. This expressed itself in biting, pushing, hitting, kicking, throwing, grabbing, and outright raging when he hit his threshold. I would often attempt to defuse the situation with playful parenting when the opportunity arose. HOWEVER, that opportunity was always before someone got hurt, when I saw him heading toward that point of frustration. Once someone gets hurt, either physically or emotionally, it's time to take a break, regroup, redirect him toward a safer way to express his feelings, and figure out together how to apologize and help the other kiddo feel better.

 

We did this over and over for quite some time, while seeking help to let him express himself in words the way he wanted to. It took a lot of patience and a lot of repetition. And we did take breaks from certain play situations for a while, as needed. As the parent of "that" child, I wouldn't at all be offended if you made that decision, if you did it with an open heart and mind -- willing to try again at a later date rather than writing my child off as a "bad" kid. (And it doesn't at all sound like you're writing this little girl off.) Your child's safety comes first, and if she's not having fun at these playdates, then what's the point? She and this little girl might become best of friends in another year or two, who knows? But right now, it sounds like they're not at a good stage for playing together on a regular basis.

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#4 of 6 Old 11-16-2010, 06:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Earthmama.  I am definitely not writing her off- I feel that the issue is my friend. I think a break is a great idea.  Hopefully soon her speech gets a bit better and she can express herself in a way that is not frustrating for her... I just found out that she bit 2 kids at my daughter's birthday party, unbeknownst to me till a half hour ago. 


Kerri, mom to Doran  angel2.gif  (born still 7/6/05 at 33 weeks), Mairaed (11/16/07),  angel1.gif 11/15/08 at 10 weeks,  Kieran (11/2/09).   angel1.gif 1/11/11 at 15 weeks
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#5 of 6 Old 11-16-2010, 09:47 AM
 
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My nephew is about 6 months older than my son, but they are about the same size, and on the same level developmentally. (My son is a bit ahead of the curve, his cousin is a bit behind.) Usually they are best friends, but they have gone through some times.  My nephew went through a biting phase, and since SIL and I trade babysitting frequently, they were together a lot, and I was not okay with letting my child get bit. She and I talked, and were able to work out some discipline methods that seemed to help some. I didn't want to push my discipline methods on her son, for sure, but I also explained to her that I couldn't keep allowing my son to get hurt. What we did was to take away they object that was the center of the biting. For example, if he had bitten my son to get my son to let go of a toy he wanted, we would make his give us the toy, which we would give back to my son, and he was not allowed to play with it. Between than and being right on top of them the whole time they were together, the biting happened less frequently. He has now outgrown this biting phase, thank goodness, but it was tough for a time. DS was 2, and DN was 2.5 when this was all happening. DS is now 2.5, and DN is 3.

 

I would always comfort my son, and try to make sure he knew that he hadn't done anything wrong, and that he didn't deserve to get hurt. We did take a break for about 3 weeks, though, in the middle of it after my son got bitten hard enough to leave bruises twice in one day. Good-luck with everything.

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#6 of 6 Old 11-17-2010, 03:07 AM
 
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My niece when she was three was this way towards my son (6 months older) and her older sisters and my SIL just said "kids will be kids.  R. is just a very strong minded little girl, and she gets what she wants."

 

I tried to keep a closer eye on them worried about what DS might do in reaction to her bullying ways. The truth is DS is much bigger and stronger and always has been but is not violent by nature and was truly flummoxed the first three biting and scratching visits and like your DD was concerned there was something wrong with her, but by the fourth visit he'd had enough and nearly took a piece of her cheek off.  I knew then I was going to have to be the more vigilant parent to make sure that my kid didn't get mauled at visits and didn't retaliate with his full force and seriously hurt her.  I basically directed my son away from her when I could see the steam rising, encouraged him to find his own space at family gatherings when she was in a mood, and did as much preventive distraction with her as I could to prempt her violent swings. Everytime we visit them, I feel like a pre-school teacher.  At nearly 6 she is still a biter and a scratcher and her mom still doesn't do much about it. Luckily we live too far away to have frequent visits, but her poor sisters have to put up with it constantly.


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