how would you handle this? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 07-06-2014, 05:45 PM - Thread Starter
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how would you handle this?

My son and I are in an elevator with his best friend and his best friend's mom after a long day. My son is very tired and has already acted out a few times today. He is four years old.

My son tries to hold hands with his best friend and is rebuked. The friend does not want to hold hands. So then my son hits his friend.

What would you do?
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#2 of 8 Old 07-06-2014, 05:53 PM
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I would pick your son up and hug him, his friend just really hurt his feelings (unintentionally). Then I would explain that you understand his sadness and anger but we don't hit others and it can cause injury.
For what it's worth, my heart broke when my son has tried to hold hands, four years old also, or hug his friends and was cast off. That sweetness and innocence is really special and it's hard to watch that happen.
Don't worry there will be another play date, things will go better.
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#3 of 8 Old 07-07-2014, 02:01 AM
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I agree with Asiago, although I generally respond in a shocked tone first: "Oh, DD! Hitting is not ok!" I would probably also ask him if there was anything he wanted to say to his friend (ie "sorry"). I usually ask my DD if she wants me to say sorry for her in that case, and she always says yes. So then I say "DD isn't ready to say sorry yet but I'm very sorry she hit you. Are you ok?"
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#4 of 8 Old 07-07-2014, 07:23 AM
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I would see if the friend was ok and point out how sad he'd made his friend by hitting. If hitting is normal for him I'd remember to include the topic of friends no wanting to be. touched in play next time we are playing together and I'd have a small talk about what to do instead next time at a better time. I'd also pick him up and keep him out of reach of his friend so he doesn't lash out again and we'd get a snack and water before going home asap since he's obviously not coping well with company and shopping.
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#5 of 8 Old 07-09-2014, 05:38 AM
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Yep, I would probably go the super shocked and concerned route (especially if this is unusual behavior). I think I would make a pretty big deal of it - not in a shame/blame way but in a "Oh, my goodness, you must be VERY tired/stressed/hurt if you hit your friend." I would hold my DC and ask the other parent to check in on her child. I would let my DC hear and see us checking in on the friend too but, again, not in a shame/blame way but in a group checking in that everyone is ok from this big challenging thing that happened.
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#6 of 8 Old 07-09-2014, 04:11 PM - Thread Starter
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OK well that all sounds good. That's basically what I did. I pulled him to me and held his hands so he couldn't hit again. I knelt down and said something like "No, we don't hit. Would you like to say you're sorry?" to which he said "no" and so I apologized for him and asked his friend if it hurt. Then I rephrased it, "when you hit your friend that hurt your friend." Later in the car I asked why he hit and that's when I learned he tried to hold hands with his friend (I hadn't seen it earlier) which made sense because my son is very easily angered when he's rejected. I just asked here because I don't always trust my instincts. Other parents rarely react the way I do and that makes me wonder if I'm doing it "right."
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#7 of 8 Old 07-14-2014, 05:48 AM
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You say he is easily angered when he is rejected. So I assume it's a ongoing pattern. If it were me, and if it had been going on more than a week or two, I would assume what I have been doing to address it is not working (and might even be counter-productive) and I would change what I was doing. I the specific instance in the elevator, I would get between the kids. I might say nothing to my kid, or, at most, I would say "no hitting". I would not act shocked or get emotional toward my kid. I might express some concern toward the other kid.

Good that you asked about the incident later and got some clarification about what was going on. I might ask him if he can think of some alternatives to hitting in that situation.
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#8 of 8 Old 07-16-2014, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by tadamsmar View Post
I might ask him if he can think of some alternatives to hitting in that situation.
^ Yes. Also perhaps helping him to discern among types of rejection. Such as when you ask him to join you at the dining table, help with chores, (etc) and he rejects you. That the friend can reject certain behavior at certain times and it doesn't mean rejection of him.

Something I did with my daughter was to help her "turn around" her experiences so that she could value them as learning experiences. I would often use anecdotes such as "Once I was shopping and I saw someone push my cart aside when I was down the aisle looking for oranges! At first I thought 'Hey, don't mess with my cart' but then I realized I was blocking the whole aisle!" (Laughing) "Thank goodness I saw him, because from now on I know I will be more careful of leaving my cart all around the place so I don't cause a real traffic jam!" Or "so-and-so snapped at me last time we were together, but I think we were both tired and I was asking too many questions. Next time I plan to have a shorter visit and spend more time listening."

This helped her know that she wasn't alone in her behavior and that it was just a natural process to receive feedback and adjust behavior accordingly.
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