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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 17 (almost 18) month old daughter and I were at the park this evening and a group of 3 girls came and were playing in the sandbox. My daughter had her sand toys there and the girls appropriated them and were playing "cooking" with somebody else's big sand tower toy and our toys (none of them had their own.)<br><br>
They were playing and my daughter stood near them watching for the longest time. She didn't do anything, she just watched. They did not engage her at all. These were older girls, btw -- probably around age 7 or 8. Finally, she grew fascinated by the way the sand was sinking into the tower toy and put her hand in the sand to feel the sand rushing down.<br><br>
"NO NOOOOO NOOOOO!!!" they shrieked and looked at me like I'm supposed to make her stop. I smiled and said "She wants to play, too." When it became obvious I wasn't going to stop my daughter from "interfering" in their play (really, truly... she wasn't hurting anything.) They picked up the toys and said "let's move away."<br><br>
My daughter made a move as if to follow them and was told, "We don't want to play with YOU."<br><br>
Now, I know I have my own issues. No one wanted to play with me either - I spent most of my school career playing alone during recess. But I don't want my girl to hear that! It's awful. I understand older girls not wanting to play with babies, but can't they be nice?<br><br>
I didn't really respond to it. It was late in our park day, anyway, so I just went over to them and quietly said "Since you don't want to play with us, I think we're going to take our toys and go home." So I took the toys away from them and we went home.<br><br>
But I wanted to cry. I wanted to say something like "You were a baby girl not very long ago. I hope the big girls were nicer to you then you are choosing to be now." But they wouldn't understand that anyway and what would be the point.<br><br>
I know I'm going to have to handle this kind of thing, but I am fighting an impulse to NEVER go to the park or anyplace there might be a child who will reject her. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/bag.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Bag">:<br><br>
Could I have handled it better? What can I say to my girl? I know she likely didn't understand what happened, but she will. What do I say then?
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/hug2.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Hug2"> to you and your little girl. I think you handled it perfectly.
 

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Hugs, mama. I know that’s really hard to see. It’s happening more and more to us now that DC is 3…it seems to be a common thing to experiment with at this age.<br><br>
What I do is try very hard to see it as ‘normal’. I try to remind myself that my child may experiment with this as well one day.<br><br>
If DC didn’t really care or didn’t notice, I think I would be really casual about it. When she starts to get hurt it can help to give her words for what she’s feeling and talk about it with her.
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/hug2.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Hug2"> N2theWoods, I feel for you. When kids act like, I think it makes one (or at least it makes me) rather peeved and quite protective of our DC. This is just my two cents obviously but I do think this behaviour is within the range of normal behaviour. I have been taking my 24 month old son to all sorts of play groups, library groups, drop-in centre, museums and playgrounds for the past year and inevitably I encounter children - ranging from 3-10 years of age - who want my son to "leave them alone" while they play. My reaction or non-reaction depends on the particular situation. To me, it all seems normal. I distinctly remember older kids in school who wanted nothing to do with us younger children. Older siblings often get tired of their younger siblings trying to join in when they are playing. Yes, of course, we'd like all the kids to play together but I think it's normal. I've seen kids that are really generous and take the time to play with DS and other ones that simply are rude or aggressive towards him. I really was steamed this Christmas - all my in-laws' kids (DS's cousins) were playing together. None of them wanted to play with DS (he is the "baby" of the cousins) and in fact they created a game to run away from DS. He was chasing them everywhere thinking he was having fun and they were trying to hide from him and complaining about him constantly. I guess the other adults thought it was normal and I am sure it was but I started to feel a little protective and angry. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">: How I respond is generally to hang back and only gently intervene or I just steer DS away from the situation. If it was me, I'd have done exactly what you did - just remove the toys and explain why. I guess I don't get too fussed about this behaviour because I remember older school children shunning us "kindergarten babies" too. Of course, I do think it's wrong - and I don't like when kids exhibit the behaviour you describe - but I'm convinced lots of kids do this. I've seen it too many times. I guess gentle intervention where appropriate is the ticket.
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"><br><br>
I can sympathize with feeling rejected.I think it happens to everyone from time to time.<br><br>
I do think this behavior was normal though.We have had kids do this to us, and dd even does it to her brother alot.Young children also go through phases where they need to be in control, and they see the world very differently than us adults.<br><br>
I do not think that going over to them and saying what you did about how you were going to go home since they didn't want to play was appropriate. I think that guilt tripping is unnesecary. They were just playing and they have a right to play with whoever they want/don't want.<br>
I wouldn't get offended at it.Next time, bring toys of your own, or a friend she can play with<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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I wanted to send you a <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"><br><br>
I think you handled it fine.<br><br>
And as far as rejection, your emotional reaction to rejection based on your history, and going to the park again-<br>
Just recognize that you are there to be an advocate for your very young daughter. You are teaching her how to respond to these situations. Right now, she can not advocate for herself. Your strong, firm, and rational reactions will help her learn how she can and should react when she is able to, and needs to, advocate for herself.<br><br>
If you are in counseling, then maybe this would be a good topic of exploration for you. If you are not in counseling, then maybe now is the time to outline a plan of attack for the future, by going to counseling, doing some reading, going to some workshops.<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/Rainbow.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="rainbow peace">
 

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Boy, your post made me react in a very visceral way. I too was a "play alone" kid, and not usually by choice. With DS there would be times when other kids wouldn't want to play with him, but things just roll off his back much more than they do mine...LOL. And now at 15, he's one of those guys who's friends with everyone, so I think having that kind of experience can actually help a child become more empathetic towards others, kwim?<br><br>
Now, I know I'm going to have more problems about it with DD, who's only 7 months old, and I think it's because if I don't make a conscious effort, I'm going to relive all my childhood "issues" through her. So, like you, I'm going to try and remain calm and rational, modelling appropriate response.<br><br>
Like other posters said, I don't think it's that uncommon for kids that age (7-8ish) to "shun" a baby......but it doesn't make it feel any better for the mama watching <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br><br>
Hugs,<br>
Lisa
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Leilalu</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I do not think that going over to them and saying what you did about how you were going to go home since they didn't want to play was appropriate. I think that guilt tripping is unnesecary. They were just playing and they have a right to play with whoever they want/don't want.<br>
I wouldn't get offended at it.Next time, bring toys of your own, or a friend she can play with<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"></div>
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The OP's daughter <i>did</i> bring her own toys...the older kids were playing with them. In this case, I think it was the perfect situation for the "taking our toys and going home" statement. She wasn't nasty to the older kids, but I'm sure they got the idea that actions = consequences.
 

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Having been rejected in elementary school myself my heart goes out to you. I find myself hoping dd isn't like I was and also isn't like the people who taunted me. Just somewhere in between and everyone wants to be her friend. I'm just as worried about her having the cooties as being a prom queen.<br><br>
I do think it's normal behaviour for children that age. They could have younger siblings that are always interfering in their play. I personally would have stopped dd from putting her hand on the tower b/c it was destroying what they built. I also don't think that an 18 month old is ready for anything other than parallel play so I wouldn't have been upset that she hadn't been asked to join in their play. I also wouldn't have just taken the toys and said if you aren't going to play with dd we're taking our toys and going home. It sort of brings you to their level.<br><br>
However, to be fair to you I think they were unecessarily rude in a couple of ways. If they had appropriated dd's toys, I would have taken them back and showed dd how to play with them. Did they ask you if they could use her toys? Maybe if dd wasn't playing with them and they asked I would have felt differently. And they didn't have to be so rude at the end saying "NOT YOU." Makes me wonder where their parents were.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Leilalu</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I do not think that going over to them and saying what you did about how you were going to go home since they didn't want to play was appropriate. I think that guilt tripping is unnesecary. They were just playing and they have a right to play with whoever they want/don't want.<br>
I wouldn't get offended at it.Next time, bring toys of your own, or a friend she can play with<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"></div>
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Leilalu: I just wanted to add here that the girls were playing with OUR toys. I would not have said anything to them at all if they were excluding us and playing with their own toys. But they took OUR toys and then wouldn't play with us!<br><br>
I guess it was guilt-tripping a little bit -- but it's also teaching the consequences of actions. When you exclude people, it hurts their feelings and they stop wanting to be with you.<br><br>
EDITED TO ADD:<br><br>
Nonny - LOL, I posted this before I read your response :LOL<br><br>
Lisa - Their parents were having a BBQ outside of the park. And littering EVERYWHERE, I might add. I picked up tin foil, soda cans, styrafoam cups all around the park periphery from their picnic. Not that that's relevant, but...<br><br>
She didn't actually destroy anything -- the tower was not a child-creation, it was a big plastic toy of the kind that you dump sand in and the sand all swirls down the toy. She was just putting her hand on the sand as it swirled down, to feel what it was like. I would absolutely have stopped her from touching a sand-tower they had built themselves!!<br><br>
I was not snotty about taking my toys and going home. I swear! I wasn't mean about it. I was very matter-of-fact and smiled at them. One of the girls independently actually didn't say anthing during this and had been playing nicely with my girl earlier in the day and I'd enjoyed her company. So, I said goodbye to her nicely.<br><br>
I'm just worried about how to handle this kind of thing in the future. I know it's normal, I just think it's awful. And honestly, I think public schools foster and encourage it and it turns into cliquism (is that a word? :LOL ) Iwant to figure out how to handle it because I want to handle it, and not tolerate it.<br><br>
DH came home and I had a big sob on his shoulder, made me feel better. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment">
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"><br><br>
i have lots of baggage in this area, too. i think what you did was very appropriate. sometimes i feel like grabbing the bully kids by the shirt and screaming <i>"YOU PLAY WITH MY CHILD, INGRATE!"</i> but of course *that* would be inappropriate.<br><br>
i do not think this behavior is always normal. i think it is often symptomatic of a culture that divides, rather than unites, children. we divide them by age from birth. when a second sibling comes along, the first is celebrated for his/her "bigness". public school children learn to make friends only with kids in their 'grade'.<br><br>
reality, naturally, is that older and younger are all equal. older should be expected to play with, learn with, and take care of younger. in a village situation there would be no 'first' child, no child raised alone. of course that isnt to say some of this play isnt normal. like other mentioned, sometimes it is experimental. but the name calling/ classification/ "baby" side of it is not normal. empathy and love are developmentally appropriate even in the very young.<br><br>
love, tabitha
 

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I think that you handled this situation very well, I'm not sure that I would have handled it as well as you. I too, was a child who played by myself in the playground and had difficulty in making friends and being part of general school life. Tabitha has very eloquently put in words that which I would have struggled to say to you.<br>
Big hugs and I think you did brilliantly - quite honestly in the park the other day I had a problem with a 'granny' who was being mean to my dd because she thought that there was a language barrier - she heard me speaking english to Freya, when I took Freya away from the situation she said to her that I was cross with her too, and i responded - in not very good french because I was so upset that I wasn't angry with my dd I was angry with her! She didn't respond - but then why should I take dd away from playing just because some granny took a dislike to her?<br>
Life is full of complications<br>
I think you handled the situation perfectly.
 

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I felt kind of sad when I read your post. I sometimes struggle with kids not wanting to play with my 18-month-old girl, especially when she is so eager to share and be around them. I think those kids were just plain being rude - taking toys from a baby and then refusing to let her play with her own toys. I know that it's part of a normal phase that kids go through, but then again, some children know more about how to manage those emotions, and they behave appropriately. I wish that more parents would take the time to try to instill their kids with a sense of respect for others. I support your decision to take the toys away and leave.<br><br>
Does your baby have a playgroup with kids her own age? She's more likely to find a receptive crowd with younger kids.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I'm trying to find a new playgroup. We used to have a playgroup but almost everyone is moving out of the area this summer, and the few that are left don't like me very much. So... I'm on a playgroup-hunt this summer <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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You could start your own group too.<br><br>
I felt bad reading your post. Its hard to watch our kids be excluded. Although to me this was normal behavior. Older kids, especially the 6,7 & 8 year olds seem to not want to play with toddler age kids, lest they be thought a "baby" themselves.<br><br>
I don't think this is any sort of reflection on your daughter nor insight as to whats to come in the future. She was just little, they think they are "big" and thats that. At least imnsho :LOL
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Leilalu</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"><br><br>
I can sympathize with feeling rejected.I think it happens to everyone from time to time.<br><br>
I do think this behavior was normal though.We have had kids do this to us, and dd even does it to her brother alot.Young children also go through phases where they need to be in control, and they see the world very differently than us adults.<br><br>
I do not think that going over to them and saying what you did about how you were going to go home since they didn't want to play was appropriate. I think that guilt tripping is unnesecary. They were just playing and they have a right to play with whoever they want/don't want.<br>
I wouldn't get offended at it.Next time, bring toys of your own, or a friend she can play with<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"></div>
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They DID bring their own toys. The older girls weren't letting the child play with her own toys, they were even taking the little one's toys with them as they moved away. I don't think the OP was guilt tripping the kids. It's a very natural consequence for them to experience.....you don't want to play with a child, you aren't going to get to take off with her toys either.<br><br><br>
-Heather
 

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It breaks your heart doesn't it?!<br><br>
It happens to dd at the indoor park we go to all the time. It makes me feel better that she does it too though.<br>
Usually its a few kids who are involved in a pretend play and don't want her to join. Its such a hard lesson and I make even more of an effort to let her know how special she is and then suggest another kid she might want to play with instead.
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/hug2.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Hug2"> It is really hard to watch this happen to your own child. A similar thing happened with my dd a few weeks ago. She wanted to have a pretend picnic at the picnic table at playgroup, but two 4-year-old girls were sitting there. I didn't see exactly what happened, but my daughter had a very hurt look on her face and another mom told me the older girls had made it clear to dd that they didn't want her sitting at the table with them. More than likely their words were not kind, as most 4 year olds don't have the linguistic capabilities to make that point kindly! I just explained to dd that they were using the table then and she could have her picnic on the floor. Had I heard the words the girls used, I might have offered them a more polite way, such as, "Please have your picnic on the floor. We're using the table now." or something like that. Personally, I think it is good for adults to teach children how to be polite and kind. I don't think it's ok to make a decision for them, though (like trying to get them to allow dd to sit at the table with them).<br><br>
I think that children, like adults, should be allowed to choose who they want to play with. People have different personalities, and some get along better than others. But children can learn to be kind to everyone, even if they don't want to play together. In your situation, I don't think it was kind of these girls to play with your baby's toys while excluding her, unless you told them they could. Their comment of not wanting to play with her was not kind, either, but they probably have not yet learned a nice way to get that point across. I think you handled the situation perfectly. I might have offered them a kinder way to tell the little one they wanted to play alone (not that the little one would care, but it is a skill these girls need to learn). I probably also would have intervened to preserve at least some of the toys for my daughter. In general, I stay out of kid affairs unless someone is being dangerous or unkind, at which point I offer adult guidance to the child that needs it (my own or another). If you are worried about your daughter making friends in the future (as she is a bit young for true friends yet), you might try to set up some one-on-one playdates so she can build relationships with other individual children instead of having to break into a group of kids. I know that was always difficult for me; I connect much better to individuals or small groups...large groups still tend to freak me out!
 

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in my opinion (i was a first grade teacher for years)<br>
7-8 years are fully capable of having manners<br>
and can know that they are not playing with their own toys<br>
and<br>
if i were having a bad day, i might have slipped and not have been half as understanding as you!<br><br>
i have observed 100's of children of that age group<br>
some rude and some not<br>
but unless there is some disorder (like autism) then there is no reason for them to be rude to your baby and shout at her, they would not have talked to YOU like that if you had done what your baby had done.<br><br>
and if you had responded by saying something more firm to them, then they might have had a good learning exp.<br><br>
manners are important and they need to learn that<br>
but then again, i had a thread closed down here for saying something snappy to a kid at the park when he yelled at my baby (so maybe my opinion doesn't count! LOL)
 

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From what you said about the parents of those children, it is understandable (but not acceptable) that they acted so rudely. With my dd, I've learned to watch the other kids and if they are not playing nicely with her and there is no other area to take dd, then we leave. I am especially paranoid about the bigger little kids who run and jump really fast and ride their bikes around the playgrounds without paying any attention to others. And, of course, their caregivers are not really watching them real well either.<br><br>
I've learned to avoid the small playgrounds, especially after school hours. The big ones that are not near private schools in the morning, when most of the big kids are at school, is our favorite time.<br><br>
The playgroups sound a like a great idea. What about co-op preschool? We do that and love the organized playgroup and automatic friends aspect of it.
 
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