How much do you intervene? - Mothering Forums
The Childhood Years > How much do you intervene?
Liz's Avatar Liz 01:58 PM 04-11-2003
My ds won't be 3 until the end of May but I thought I'd post this here because it seems like a kid issue and not a toddler issue. Just in the past couple of weeks, since it's gotten warmer and we are around new kids more I have found myself unsure of where I should be when ds is interacting with other kids. Two examples:

1. At his first soccer class I sat on the side lines and watched. DS was running around really independantly but then came up to me saying that some kid hit him and he wanted me to talk to him (the other kid). I didn't see it happen and felt awkward stepping in when I didn't know the circumstances. I'm sure it did happen, I don't doubt him at all, but I didn't know what to do or tell ds to do. Should I have said, "Go tell the teacher"? He wasn't crying so it didn't hurt, I think he just wanted some justice. Maybe I should just have verified his righteousness (Righteous, dude! hee hee) "He shouldn't have done that. If he does it again maybe you should tell him that."

2. Yesterday we were at the playground and the only other people there were a group of 3 girls all older than ds (probably 4, and two 7 year olds). Last year, I would usually follow ds pretty closely but this time he was really interested in these girls but they would kind of clam up when I was around so I hung back but then I felt I was sending a message to ds to stay away which I didn't want to do. Aaargh...

I don't know how to be a kid's Mom!

MamaMonica's Avatar MamaMonica 04:33 PM 04-11-2003
I don't know... I am not very good at this mom stuff... I think you're doing fine, though!
geekmom's Avatar geekmom 10:23 PM 04-11-2003
This is hard stuff. Both your situations will come up again and again.

As for another child hitting or bothering him or whatever I teach my child how to deal directly with the other child. Right now my oldest is 5 and has learned lots of skills so when he comes to me and tells me that "so and so" hit him. I say, "I promise not to hit you." He says, "but it wasn't you, it was him." I shrug then and say perhaps he should talk to him directly. He gets the point.

For a younger child, though, you could help coach him in figuring out what to do. Sometimes (often) a hit is not what we think of as an intentional harm, but a mistake or a tap or whatever. Maybe talk to him about what he could say to the other child, such as, "it hurt me when you hit me." Then have him listen to the other child. Often they'll say something like, "it was a mistake" or "you hit me first" or "I wanted the such and such you had". Help both children think up better ways to solve the problem the next time. With a 3 year old you kind of have to teach teach teach all the time. As he gets older he'll begin to be able to do it on his own with fewer and fewer prompts. Expect a number of years of teaching, but let the kids do it on their own with coaching.

As for playign with the girls, I agree with hanging back. If your son comes to you for advice on how to play with him, give him ideas. Tell him that he could suggest a game to them or ask them if he could play or whatever. If he in any way thinks you don't want him playing with them, encourage him to go play with them. Making new friends, even if very temporary, is a very, very important social skill.
levar's Avatar levar 01:38 AM 04-12-2003
Taylor is three next week. I am fairly "watchful" compared to others I think. I pretty much all the time know where he is and what is going on around him. I dont always "step in" though. We've worked pretty hard to get Taylor to respect the other children [older and younger] when they tell him no, stop, what ever if he is doing something they dont like. I cant think of how many times some kid has come to me and told me Taylor did something and I have said to the kid "did you ask him not to?" and they say no?!?! : I usually just say "well, ask him not to do ..." and when they do he says sorry and they move on. I have repeatedly asked him to do the same. When other kids do something he doesnt like [hit, bite, scream, scare, etc] I tell him to say "please dont ..." and most of the time he does and it works and they move on etc. On a rare occasion older boys about 5-6 dont stop their behavior. [I am sure he will get to that stage too. Sigh.] After a few minutes before tears but not much before I step between them and THEN I ask the child to stop or leave Taylor alone etc. Never had a complaint.

PS. We recently taught Taylor how to play "follow the leader" and now at playgrounds etc we often suggest to him that he ask kids if they want to play. Also, because he is a boy and big for his age yet still younger than most of his playmates etc we encourage him to let them "go first" if they want to. So far he is really liking this alot too. And the girls seem more open to playing with him that way as well.
Liz's Avatar Liz 02:56 PM 04-14-2003
Thank you, great advice!
lilyka's Avatar lilyka 07:02 PM 04-14-2003
I have a dd who will be three in a few weeks. For situations like your first I would stay out. The most I would do is say " i am sorry that happened. Are you hurt?" I wasn' prt of the argument and so long as it wasn't part of persistamnt bullying it is not my place to step in. they will do much better to work it out on thier own. Also with kids that age those things pass in a moment.
Funkeemonkey's Avatar Funkeemonkey 07:32 PM 04-21-2003 the first case I would have found it very hard but would have told ds to tell the coach or ref. Hurting is not allowed. the second case I would have left them to it but kept a distant eye on things.

Now where is that parenting handbook that came with our kids at birth, perhaps all these questions and answers are in there? LOL
lilyka's Avatar lilyka 12:25 AM 04-22-2003
I am not real clear about the second situation. If it had been my dd I would have asked her if she wanted to play with those girls. If she said yes I would have said "then go ask them if ou can play too" there is a risk opf being hurt if they reject her but then I would just hug and cudle and explain that some big kids just don't want to play with 3 year olds and that is OK because mommmy will play with you.
Liz's Avatar Liz 10:55 AM 04-22-2003
Lilyka - it was just that normally I'd be right with him playing as an equal but in this case the girls saw me as a ... wet blanket, I guess, so they definitely weren't going to play with him with me around but then ds didn't understand why I was hanging back.

ANYWAY, he is so into playing with big kids right now but he really doesn't understand why they won't play with him. It breaks my heart. He says, "Mummy, I want to be BIG!!" Yesterday he took his basketball and his scooter to the playground because that's what the big kids were playing with. But then he can't throw the ball more than 3 feet in the air so he said, "Mummy, I'm not big." And he's pretty darn good on the scooter for an almost 3 year old, if you ask me but the big kids don't notice. It doesn't help that most of them are speaking Chinese, too. Hopefully, if we keep going over there they will open up to him a little.

I didn't expect to have these issues so soon!
lilyka's Avatar lilyka 01:16 AM 04-23-2003
Poor little guy. I feel his pain. My 3 year old wants to be a big kid too. It is a difficult thing. Outside of sympathizing there isn't much that can be done. Especially when there is a language barrier becase it is hard to even ask. is there maybe an older child who could come over and play with him for a while every now and then. Just to make him feel special? Not a solution really but it might make him feel better. There is a really sweet book called "Topm and Pippo and the bike" Or something like that. Tom and Pippo is a series and they are loved by everyone who lives in my house anyway it is just a sweet story about a little boy and his toy monkey and hgow they want to be big so they can ride a big kid bike and then the big kid plays with him and thier bikes together a little. Again not helpful to the situation but since he wants to be a big kid so bad he might like it.
Liz's Avatar Liz 11:32 AM 04-23-2003
Thanks for the book suggestion! I'm looking for books to help him deal with this.

He has older cousins that he LOVES to play with but they are country girls and I think his current fixation is urban boys. You should have seen him walking to the playground with his basketball under his arm all nonchalant, trying to walk with attitude. If he says "Yo, dude" I'll die.
bestjob's Avatar bestjob 03:19 PM 04-23-2003
Lilyka's advice about the hit at soccer was right on the mark. Sometimes little ones just need to have a wrong acknowledged, but they don't necessarily need it to be set to rights.

Around here moms go to the park, but we don't really play with our kids so much as hang out with our own peer group... other parents. The adults are accessible, but the play is mostly up to the children. The kids are pretty heirarchical (nobody admires trying to learn to use a scooter, but everyone admires kids who are good at scootering) and many of them don't want adults to get too involved because often adult involvement means someone's in trouble. If your son is having a good time, let him be. Tell him where you'll be sitting and that you'll just be talking or reading and if he needs you, he can call or come to you. Stay where he can see you and keep an eye out to make sure the play is okay for him (children of many ages and skill levels can bike around a parking lot together, but heading out onto the street is a whole different story) and that the big kids are more-or-less looking out for him (watching their language, giving him room to play, whatever you think he still needs) and then enjoy your magazine, coffee, what have you.
Liz's Avatar Liz 03:56 PM 04-23-2003
I'm realising that it's this particular playground that has presented the problems. It's actually the school yard so the kids are all older (7-16) and there aren't any other parents there. Also the playground equipment is geared to older kids - big steel jungle gyms, etc. so I usually 'spot' him when he climbs and play with him because 1. there's nobody else for him to play with and 2. there's nothing else for me to do! It's right across the street from our house so he always wants to go there before dinner. At the playground in the park (we go on weekends) I sit back and talk and let him go because the kids are all around his age and the playground is safe and contained.

He was still trying to get in with the group of older kids yesterday and one boy told him to "Move it!" or something along those lines, at the top of the slide. DS seemed intrigued rather than hurt but I was pissed off. I don't think I can count on these kids to watch out for him. I'll be watching that boy in particular and if it keeps happening we'll just have to go somewhere else.

I feel I need to say, I'm not an overly protective parent. I love to have him go off and play by himself but I also want him to have a good time so if he wants me to, I get in there and play!