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#31 of 45 Old 01-20-2013, 01:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It has been my experience that "kids hitting, pushing, roughhousing" is a normal phase during childhood. With hitting, or any other rough play where someone is upset by it we redirect them, using time out if they can't stop themselves after receiving verbal redirection.

 

I wonder what kind of message this sends to the child who was hit without provocation. Not to be dramatic but ... If you were sitting at your desk at work and a coworker just walked over and punched you in the face and your boss handled it by saying to the other person they should go sit and reflect on it a minute and told you this is a normal part of work that isn't fair but you should accept anyway - how would you feel?

In GD and hopefully just in life, we respect our children as intelligent, precious and individual people. The argument has been made by everyone in this thread that children are capable of maturely handling and processing even the most violent and disturbing images in media. So why wouldn't they also be capable of having mature feelings about being physically harmed in the way an adult does? I would dismiss someone as a lunatic for telling me that being harmed is a normal part of being around people and I should just accept it.

I guess I just really don't understand this line of thinking. If someone attacked me while I was out for a walk or shopping or something, they would be arrested for assault. Regardless of if I was terribly harmed or not. Regardless of if they were angry about something or having a bad day. That doesn't justify an action like that. Other than self defense, we live in a society where it is completely socially unacceptable to hurt other people. Why should we wait to teach our kids that until adulthood? I just cannot fathom why we have such a different set of standards for children.


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#32 of 45 Old 01-20-2013, 01:44 PM
 
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We're talking about toddlers, aren't we? The answer is: Because they lack impulse control. It seems unfair to me to expect a toddler to behave like an adult in an office. We all teach our kids to control impulses, but it doesn't happen instantly. They shouldn't be treated like adults who should know how to control their impulses if they are still learning.
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#33 of 45 Old 01-20-2013, 02:12 PM
 
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It seems that there are three very different kinds of situations here:

 

1. toddlers deliberately hitting other kids

 

2. roughhousing, where both parties enjoy kicking and hitting but not (in my experience) with the intent of harming the other

 

3. what some consider *violent* sports (martial arts, hockey etc.)

 

I think all are normal, but only the first one in unacceptable. I can't imagine not roughhousing with my kids.


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#34 of 45 Old 01-20-2013, 02:29 PM
 
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The argument has been made by everyone in this thread that children are capable of maturely handling and processing even the most violent and disturbing images in media. 

Am I misunderstanding this or taking this out of context? I know I certainly have not read anything of the sort on this thread. I do think that a case can be made that fairy tale type violence can be an important and valuable way for some kids to process their thoughts and feelings but I do not think ANYONE thinks children should be exposed to violence in the media without adult support (if at all and certainly measured carefully to the child's age and temperament).  

 

How old is your child? 

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#35 of 45 Old 01-20-2013, 02:35 PM
 
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Also, I'm not sure if Pathiu5 was talking about redirecting after a round of pretend fighting became undesirable for one child and a parent having to redirect to help them move past that kind of play of if that is her general approach to young children hitting. I can say that in general I think you will find that parents addressing hitting children to be complicated for a lot of parents. We want to be firm but understanding. We want to model compassion and sometimes figuring a way to be somewhat "outraged" if our children hit is a as complicated as it gets, IMO. This is a tough thing and one that I think maybe you don't "get" till you've been there. 

 

But I really can't stress enough that I think pretend fighting is very different from how we approach a young child hitting out of frustration or even "play" in a less developed way.  

 

I predict a day in your future where your daughter and your twins are joyfully running outside playing a game that is active and deeply engaging to them that you are fondly watching...until you realize that they are doing a form of pretend fighting. At which point your will probably realize is perfectly innocent and not damaging or the result of poor parenting. 

 

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#36 of 45 Old 01-20-2013, 02:38 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ilovemygirl View Post

 

I wonder what kind of message this sends to the child who was hit without provocation. Not to be dramatic but ... If you were sitting at your desk at work and a coworker just walked over and punched you in the face and your boss handled it by saying to the other person they should go sit and reflect on it a minute and told you this is a normal part of work that isn't fair but you should accept anyway - how would you feel?

In GD and hopefully just in life, we respect our children as intelligent, precious and individual people. The argument has been made by everyone in this thread that children are capable of maturely handling and processing even the most violent and disturbing images in media. So why wouldn't they also be capable of having mature feelings about being physically harmed in the way an adult does? I would dismiss someone as a lunatic for telling me that being harmed is a normal part of being around people and I should just accept it.

I guess I just really don't understand this line of thinking. If someone attacked me while I was out for a walk or shopping or something, they would be arrested for assault. Regardless of if I was terribly harmed or not. Regardless of if they were angry about something or having a bad day. That doesn't justify an action like that. Other than self defense, we live in a society where it is completely socially unacceptable to hurt other people. Why should we wait to teach our kids that until adulthood? I just cannot fathom why we have such a different set of standards for children.

I don't think anybody here suggested the kid getting hit should have their feelings dismissed.  I've met parents who dismissed the feelings of the kids their kid hit, but while they claimed to practice GD, those particular parents didn't practice any discipline.  The way it's normally handled among my GD friends is to separate the kids and diffuse the situation, but also make sure that the child who was hit is apologised to, and validated, so something like "I"m sorry my child hit you.  My child shouldn't have done that.  Would you like a hug?" or if the other child is remorseful, the apology would be direct. 

 

There are jobs where getting hit is an unfortunate reality.  Nurses who care for people with dementia get hit sometimes. Daycare workers get hit sometimes.  Staff at rehab clinics get hit sometimes.  If a kid hits me, I don't like it, and I make that clear, but I don't hold it against them.  Why don't I hold it against them?  Because I'm mature enough to understand that they are struggling with self control.  And the emotionally mature kids I know seem to also understand that.  Knowing when to forgive and move on is a valuable skill.

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#37 of 45 Old 01-20-2013, 03:36 PM
 
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We're talking about toddlers, aren't we? The answer is: Because they lack impulse control. It seems unfair to me to expect a toddler to behave like an adult in an office. We all teach our kids to control impulses, but it doesn't happen instantly. They shouldn't be treated like adults who should know how to control their impulses if they are still learning.

 

I agree with the above wholeheartedly - and would only add that small children are also still learning to take others' viewpoints into account.  They literally cannot understand how that would make the other party feel - they only understand their own feelings.  They can't put themselves in the other kid's shoes.  Impulse control, empathy and logical reasoning all take time (and parenting) to develop.

 

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I don't think anybody here suggested the kid getting hit should have their feelings dismissed.  I've met parents who dismissed the feelings of the kids their kid hit, but while they claimed to practice GD, those particular parents didn't practice any discipline.  The way it's normally handled among my GD friends is to separate the kids and diffuse the situation, but also make sure that the child who was hit is apologised to, and validated, so something like "I"m sorry my child hit you.  My child shouldn't have done that.  Would you like a hug?" or if the other child is remorseful, the apology would be direct. 

 

Again, I absolutely agree.  I haven't seen a dismissal advocated - I think there is a world of difference between acknowledging that kids hit (as many posters have done) and saying, "...so just expect it and deal with it."  It has been said before on this thread, too, that you may not SEE the discipline - that to avoid shaming, to allow for calm reflection, etc. it may largely take place in private at a later time.  I think everyone has agreed that if an adult tells your kid to just "toughen up" (as you mentioned in an example) - that is unacceptable, and decidedly not GD.

 

Because here is where I think GD is coming from - it's coming from a place of recognizing emotions and helping kids find better means of expressing them.  Helping them understand WHY they hit, label those feelings, pave a better path for the future, etc.  There are two kids involved, after all - the emotions of the kid who hit another are as valid and deserve as much understanding as the emotions of the kid who was the victim.  The kid who was injured needs to feel like an adult is handling the situation and trying to improve it - like the wrong is acknowledged (as you said, someone in an adult scenario would be arrested - kids at least need a parent apology).  The kid who hit another needs his emotions understood - he needs help finding a better outlet, or a work around so that he doesn't get to the hitting point in the first place - he needs the root cause addressed.

 

I think the parallel to adults only takes you so far because kids are learning, and this is how we teach them - through trial and error and getting better at understanding and dealing with their emotions.  That's why a similar offense in adults might have harsher societal consequences - because by the time you are an adult, you're supposed to have figured this out better.


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#38 of 45 Old 01-20-2013, 03:51 PM
 
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I wonder what kind of message this sends to the child who was hit without provocation. Not to be dramatic but ... If you were sitting at your desk at work and a coworker just walked over and punched you in the face and your boss handled it by saying to the other person they should go sit and reflect on it a minute and told you this is a normal part of work that isn't fair but you should accept anyway - how would you feel?
I don't think it's fair to compare toddlers who are still learning to adults who (should have) learned how to act a long time ago. And I guess I am curious how you want other parents to react. What is the "punishment" or "discipline" that would signify to you that the parents are making a big enough deal out of it?
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In GD and hopefully just in life, we respect our children as intelligent, precious and individual people. The argument has been made by everyone in this thread that children are capable of maturely handling and processing even the most violent and disturbing images in media. So why wouldn't they also be capable of having mature feelings about being physically harmed in the way an adult does? I would dismiss someone as a lunatic for telling me that being harmed is a normal part of being around people and I should just accept it.
I think only one poster said that children can maturely handle violent media. I'd say the majority here don't agree and many of us very actively limit or even eliminate violent/disturbing media from our children's environment.
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I guess I just really don't understand this line of thinking. If someone attacked me while I was out for a walk or shopping or something, they would be arrested for assault. Regardless of if I was terribly harmed or not. Regardless of if they were angry about something or having a bad day. That doesn't justify an action like that. Other than self defense, we live in a society where it is completely socially unacceptable to hurt other people. Why should we wait to teach our kids that until adulthood? I just cannot fathom why we have such a different set of standards for children.
So do you want children to get arrested for assault if they hit someone for stealing their blocks? I guess I just don't understand where your line of thinking leads. I don't think that anyone is saying it's acceptable for children to deliberately hurt each other. But we aren't in the habit of arresting 3 year olds.

You can & should teach your children that it's not OK for anyone to hurt them. This is definitely a lesson better learned now than in adulthood. But we can also teach our children this in a way that is more compassionate & non-judgemental. DS has a friend who sometimes bites him... literally out of nowhere, no provocation or obvious reason. He asks me why Jane bites him, and I have explained to him that some little kids are still learning how to be gentle... same way I would explain if he asked why a new puppy bites him. I do also tell him that it's not OK for anyone to hurt him, and if someone is hurting him or scaring him that he should call for me or come get me right away and I will help him. But I don't tell him Jane is a bad kid or should be arrested or anything!
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#39 of 45 Old 01-20-2013, 05:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't think it's fair to compare toddlers who are still learning to adults who (should have) learned how to act a long time ago. And I guess I am curious how you want other parents to react. What is the "punishment" or "discipline" that would signify to you that the parents are making a big enough deal out of it?

So do you want children to get arrested for assault if they hit someone for stealing their blocks? 
 

 

I'm not comparing toddlers. I realized it wasn't in my original post so I wrote a second post where I made very clear that I am talking about older children. And yes, I feel a school age child who has reached the age of reason (which is seven) should be capable of knowing it's wrong to harm another and never doing so. Barring a medical issue or impairment this should not just be known by the child but I believe it should be expected of them. My frustration is coming from finding this not to be the case. In real life, I know many people who justify this kind of behavior away the same you would with a one year old, i.e. they are still learning and can't help themselves. I don't find this acceptable.


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#40 of 45 Old 01-20-2013, 06:48 PM
 
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I'm not comparing toddlers. I realized it wasn't in my original post so I wrote a second post where I made very clear that I am talking about older children. And yes, I feel a school age child who has reached the age of reason (which is seven) should be capable of knowing it's wrong to harm another and never doing so. Barring a medical issue or impairment this should not just be known by the child but I believe it should be expected of them. My frustration is coming from finding this not to be the case. In real life, I know many people who justify this kind of behavior away the same you would with a one year old, i.e. they are still learning and can't help themselves. I don't find this acceptable.

Sorry for misunderstanding the age issue. I think that if a 7-year-old is routinely hitting others, there very well may be some kind of emotional or medical issue going on, or home life issues... From my (admittedly limited!) experience, most kids are able to stay in control most of the time once they reach school age. And you wouldn't always know whether a child has any special needs. I definitely don't go around telling people IRL that DS has special needs & only a few of my very closest friends have any idea what's going on with him.

However, after re-reading your second post, I think what you're referring to is not so much outright acts of violence, but rather, violent play? Am I correct here? There is a spectrum of "violence" I guess, from outright hitting out of anger etc., to rough play/gun play/etc., to peaceful play. It sounds like you are more comfortable staying on the peaceful end of the spectrum (and I don't blame you!) but there is a fine line regarding when play becomes too rough and different parents have different thresholds here. My personal threshold is when someone is saying, "NO" or "STOP" or is clearly in pain/distress.. then the other child needs to stop, no matter how violent or peaceful his actions may have been. So hugging can be just as inappropriate as hitting in my view. I have a friend who's less focused on the other kid's reaction and more focused on the play themes themselves -- she's not comfortable with any violent play themes, even if the "victim" is enjoying it too. I have another friend who doesn't care what the kids play, and doesn't always notice or jump in quickly if someone is getting hurt or scared. It's not so much that she doesn't care if her kid is hurting someone but it seems more like she has just given up or feels helpless. With her, I find I just have to supervise the kids' play more than I normally would, and help DS assert himself (or speak for him). If the kid keeps shooting at him or scaring him, I just tell her, "Jane, that's hurting DS, you need to stop." And make sure she stops, physically remove my kid to safety if necessary (if the other mom doesn't remove her kid). I will be honest that sometimes I am not up for that level of play supervision/intervention so we do tend to get together less with that family. I would also say that although her mom seems to consider herself GD, what I witness of her discipline is a little harsher than I am comfortable with and I wouldn't exactly classify it as fully GD. Most of the GD parents I know do have a much lower tolerance for any violence.

I think people on this thread are agreeing with you more than you realize, it's just that there are so many issues (toddlers vs. 7yo's, hitting vs. fun roughhousing) that the conversation is getting confused.

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#41 of 45 Old 01-20-2013, 06:50 PM
 
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My frustration is coming from finding this not to be the case. In real life, I know many people who justify this kind of behavior away the same you would with a one year old, i.e. they are still learning and can't help themselves. I don't find this acceptable.

It sounds like you are coming from a place of being frustrated by the way some (many?) families in your life are handling discipline, especially in regard to older children (7?) acting out in an aggressive way. That maybe you are looking for some explanations in our greater culture as well as within GD (do these families identify with GD?). 

 

In my experience acting out aggressively at age 7 is rare, which I think is why some of us were picturing a much younger child. I've never seen a 7 year old hit. I imagine there have been the occasional "intense" argument at my DC's school but I have never heard of a child hitting another. 

 

Do you feel your community identifies with GD and within this community you are seeing a lot of justification and excuses made for aggressive behavior? In young children as well as older children? I can see why that would be super frustrating.  

 

Because your post kind of started out in a general way and now seems to be moving towards some specific situations that are worrying, I wonder if maybe it wouldn't help you to try to get some feedback about those things specifically.  

 

I know you are frustrated and working out some really difficult relationship challenges. I do not consider the people who are disciplining their kids this way or treating you this way to be practicing GD. 


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#42 of 45 Old 01-20-2013, 10:39 PM
 
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The argument has been made by everyone in this thread that children are capable of maturely handling and processing even the most violent and disturbing images in media. 

 

I certainly haven't said that.


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#43 of 45 Old 01-21-2013, 05:18 AM
 
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I'm not comparing toddlers. I realized it wasn't in my original post so I wrote a second post where I made very clear that I am talking about older children. And yes, I feel a school age child who has reached the age of reason (which is seven) should be capable of knowing it's wrong to harm another and never doing so. Barring a medical issue or impairment this should not just be known by the child but I believe it should be expected of them. My frustration is coming from finding this not to be the case. In real life, I know many people who justify this kind of behavior away the same you would with a one year old, i.e. they are still learning and can't help themselves. I don't find this acceptable.

This is hard for me because I don't personally know children of that age who are violent and harm other children, though I know there are bullies so I know they exist. I don't know anyone who says that they shouldn't know by that age that violence is wrong, though.

I agree it is a serious problem if a child that age is harming other children and the adults around the child are acting like it is natural and should be accepted. I don't agree that it is caused by rough-housing and the tv/games most children that age typically watch/use, or that it's caused by rough-housing.
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#44 of 45 Old 01-21-2013, 09:29 AM
 
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I'm not comparing toddlers. I realized it wasn't in my original post so I wrote a second post where I made very clear that I am talking about older children. And yes, I feel a school age child who has reached the age of reason (which is seven) should be capable of knowing it's wrong to harm another and never doing so. Barring a medical issue or impairment this should not just be known by the child but I believe it should be expected of them. My frustration is coming from finding this not to be the case. In real life, I know many people who justify this kind of behavior away the same you would with a one year old, i.e. they are still learning and can't help themselves. I don't find this acceptable.

I agree that children without developmental delays or issues (pardon any insensitive wording here) should by the age of 7 understand that hitting as a resolution is wrong.  But impulse control at that age still varies wildly, even within the "normal" range.  True, I don't approach the issue the same way I did when my kids were tiny, but I also understand that they are not adults, either.  

 

So, they are still learning impulse control, and some struggle with it more than others.  I'm sorry, but 7 is not suddenly a magical age that it is made out to be in some philosophies.  I'm not excusing parents that refuse to engage children on this issue, either by dismissing it or feeling overwhelmed by it, it simply comes from knowing an awful lot of kids in some wonderful families that still have deal with impulse control issues long past the toddler years.  It does not suddenly appear at any particular age.  It is a learning process, and every child is different.  

 

*If* parents are doing what they can to help their children (unlike some unfortunate examples mentioned in this thread), then I think both children and parent deserve some understanding with this.  It is not only the result of inattentive or apathetic parenting.


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#45 of 45 Old 01-31-2013, 06:56 AM
 
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Well we don't allow toy guns. Toy swords were a compromise. Our son had a year with mandatory visitation at another home where they played with toy guns a lot, so he developed a desire to play that way too. We have gently steered him away from guns onto swords.

We haven't enrolled our son in karate or anything like that at this age (3) because we are worried he will get confused and think hitting and kicking are ok. But we're not ruling it out entirely, just waiting til he's older to see where his interests lie. Right now he's more interested in soccer and basketball.

I think for me it's partially just an acceptance of child development and mainstream culture that lets me be flexible on this issue. But also I'm not exactly 100% GD. For example, I don't spank or hit but I do time outs etc. I will do whatever works to develop good habits.
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