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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I need to just bounce some thoughts around and get some advice. Over the past 4-5 months my 4-yo has hit/pushed her "best friend" on about 5 or 6 occasions. DD has a hard time handling being teased by other kids and her friend really knows how to push her buttons. DD has a tendency in the past to burst into tears or shout at whomever is teasing her. The vast majority of the times, she will cry and come to me for solace. With this friend, however, she strikes back physically.<br><br>
I have talked to DD and told her that there is never anything that justifies hitting. I know she was hurt and frustrated, but she needs to use her words and seek a parent or teacher or sitter to help handle these situations. I also know I need to be more on top of things when the teasing starts up and when she is tired. These incidents always happen at the end of the day and there is some build-up towards them. It hadn't happened in a while so I was taken by surprise the other day when she reacted to her friend's taunts by hitting.<br><br><br>
And while there is no excuse for physical aggression ever, I do find it frustrating that no one ever tells this other little girl that she shouldn't be taunting my daughter. I also believe that there is no excuse for preying on someone else's emotional state or continuing to tease someone who has made it clear that they are upset and wish to be left alone for a bit. The mom is a friend , but I have a hard time talking with her about this. She gets really angered by my daughter's behaviour which I totally understand, and she closes up and I feel that I can't really talk to her. She says things like "I just picture my daughter in an abusive relationship when she's 18 and feeling that it is her fault". But when other kids have been aggressive to my daughter (i.e., when the tables have been turned), I've empathized with the age/phase/circumstances. I know our children are learning and that they are exposed to a variety of influences and that, like all of us, they are not infallible. It is a learning process for us all. I've never held it against the other child or his/her parents.
 

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I can't believe that your friend said that to you. It's normal for your dd to react like that at that age. We have a lot of kids in our neighborhood, and when one kid hits another, we all get that it's their age. Some kids hit more than others, because each kid is different. Now that most of the kids are older, it doesn't happen very often. I'm sorry that she's making you feel that way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Abi & Ben's mom, Thank you for your empathy!<br><br>
Does anyone have any tips for helping young children deal with anger and other difficult emotions? I've been searching around and I'm always disappointed to see people advocating time-outs. DH also thinks we need a clear punishment if she hits her friend again - like no TV for 2 weeks or something. Rather than focusing on punishments, naturally I'd like to help her find better ways of accepting and acting on her emotions.<br><br>
Many thanks!
 

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Honestly I would keep her away from that particular kid for a while. Sounds like asking for trouble!<br><br>
Your dh's idea is common but IMO is a very bad idea. Not even going into the fact that tv has NOTHING to do with hitting (unless she's watching violent shows, which is a whole 'nuther ballgame and I'm assuming is not the case) it will set up a "you against me" dynamic in your relationship with her that may just last the rest of your lives.<br><br>
Reading the book "How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids will Talk" helps a lot of parents figure out how their kids feel when different things are said to them. For example, if you say, "You hit your friend, now you get no tv" your child may think many different things, but she is unlikely to think, "Wow, hitting is wrong, I'm not going to do that again!" She is more likely to think, "You're on her side, she's mean and you're mean, I hate all of you." Or, "I'm a bad person, I always mess things up for myself, I hate myself." Perhaps your dh would benefit from reading that book?<br><br>
Meanwhile I think you're on the right track. I'm much better at recognizing what NOT to do than what TO do (a side effect from reading Alfie Kohn I think) but perhaps something like removing her from the situation, giving her a hug, and then saying something like, "You seem very angry," and waiting for her to talk. Let her get out her frustration for as long as necessary, then ask something like, "What do you think you could have done besides hitting?" Of course, the conversation could go many ways besides the ideal way ("Oh, I suppose I could have gone to my room/came and told you about what she was saying/ignored her") and try your patience ("I don't know" or "I LIKED hitting her"). I try to say things like, "Sometimes I get so mad I just need a time-out." (I model this too... if I get really frustrated or something, I'll say to my girls, "I need a 5-minute time-out" and take a break. This will not work if you use time-out as a punishment.) Or, "When I have to deal with someone who is being really annoying, sometimes I __________." I might empathize or try to be a little bit funny: "Sometimes I wish we could put all the people who act mean on a hot-air balloon and send them off." And once she is totally reassured that she is loved and I'm on her side, I will say something like, "You know hands are not for hitting, right?" By that point I usually get a reasonable response. I'm not an expert on these techniques by any means, and maybe someone who is will reply also.<br><br>
Now, if I'm the parent on the other side, whose child has been hit, I usually say to my dd, "She's not playing nicely, you better stay away from her." Then its her choice whether she plays with that kid again or not. (I've never dealt with a stalking issue on the playground.) I leave it up to the kids if they want to make up and play (which often happens) or not.<br><br>
I believe that you can only parent your own kids in most situations, and telling this other mom how to deal with her child is not likely to go well. If her kid is consistently mean, don't force your child to play with her. You say she is her best friend, but maybe it is time for new friends? It might be the only way to salvage your relationship with the mom!
 
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