Originally Posted by BushMama83
Can we just let actions pass without feedback, too? It's obvious that the action causes negative reactions, like crying, or like mama moving the baby away so "play" is interrupted. I guess I personally am struggling with feeling like I must "do" something, like DS will never get it if I'm not constantly reminding. What are your thoughts there?
Sometimes we can. But the line is crossed when someone else's well being is involved. I feel like I need to advocate for my younger daughter and other kids in these instances. When my girls were younger, that meant biting. Now growing up, it can mean correcting bullyish behavior.
Last year at our camp ground, a lot of the camp kids came to play at our camp and were having a lot of fun until I noticed that one boy was actually being picked on physically. I said, "Hey, we have a rule about rough play. Every body needs to be having fun or it has to stop. He's not having fun." "But.. (insert excuse here)." "If you can't follow our rules, you are not allowed to play at our campsite."
What I did and didn't do: I didn't get involved in their disagreement specifically. Sometimes I think that can be called for, but it's tricky, and I prefer just to leave their business as their business (especially since I would never see these kids again). However, I am very strict about the "everybody on board" rough play rule. I felt like I advocated for this kid without descending into the murky world of kid logic. They played well for a while and went back to their respective camps. Right after, I had to talk to my girls about the boy and that they needed to advocate for this boy if something comes up, not join in. They knew it wasn't right. (Little Lord of the Flies there!)
So, for little kids hitting and biting, the words will sink in but actions might be better. The victim needs to be advocated for if they are having difficulty doing it themselves. It will take years for the lessons to sink in far enough that What Mama Said is remembered before the fist flies. And it's hard to do that, for adults as well. It can take thousands of repetitions for it to sink in.
I've actually allowed certain behaviors that I didn't like before. Sticking out the tongue is now an acceptable comeback. It took me a while before I could let go of my feelings about the rudeness of it, but on analyzing it, I realized that it can convey a message (I'm angry and this is what I think of you) without name calling or hitting and is easy for kids who can't quite muster the right words. So, stick it out, blow a raspberry, that's fine.
I think that when we find a philosophy we like, changing our old habits takes some practice, and it can feel fake and scripted. However, sometimes that feeling is because we genuinely should be following our gut feeling. You are a part of their life. You share a house. There will be interruptions! Your child's flow is not something Sacred Never to Be Altered in a Parental Manner. Sometimes they *welcome* the interruption (and feedback, since that's what we are talking about here). Sometimes they go off to play because they don't have someone's attention and that can be interpreted as not wanting to step in when in fact it's a coping mechanism (this was my childhood! I know this!)