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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ds is nearly 4. He can be a challenging child in that he is clingy and demands constant attention. He is prone to huge crying fits and can be very whinny which is a severe strain on my patience. He is quite intelligent and very verbal (he is bi-lingual). We have our issues. His aggression, however is not really an issue. He never went through the biting, kicking, hitting stage of toddlerhood. He has a 16 month old sister who he has very rarely intentionally hurt and only hurt when she has ruined his game or taken his toy. He does take things from her and make her cry. IMO he dispalys a normal amount of aggressive behaviour for his age.<br><br>
We sometimes have playdates with another family whose mother is a good friend of mine. As we don't have a lot of things in our lives for ourselves this is a good chance to have a chat and the kids are often left to their own devices. Naturally incidents of hitting, crying and fighting occur. For sometime now, I've been feeling that my friend feels that my child is somehow to blame for the incidents. When we talk about things, she says things like 'Well, it's interesting that X would never say that, he only does that when your son is around'. Most recently, an incident happened that I just can't stop thinking about.<br><br>
The boys were playing and we were having coffee, not knowing what the kids were doing. Turns out they were playing with bricks! We found out because her son ran over in tears because a brick had apparently fallen on his finger. I guess he was in a lot of pain and cried a lot. After some time, he said to my son, 'I don't want to play with you anymore'. My son being the needy soul that he is started crying. I assumed that the brick had been in my son's hands and had fallen onto the other boy's hand so in his mind my son was to blame. Anyway eventually they calmed down and went onto play together happily again.<br><br>
I didn't give it a second thought until the next time I saw my friend which was 2 weeks later and so difficult to discuss with my ds as it happened too long ago in his memory. We were discussing the challenges I'm facing with ds at the moment when she said 'you know that brick incident was really serious'. She said that her son had continued to complain about his finger so she'd referred to the doctor who'd said it was some kind or fracture. Basically she was saying that my son had caused this to happen to her son and then cried to save himself from admonision when her son had said he wouldn't play with ds. I also felt that she was somehow annoyed with me for not admonishing my child, even though we hadn't seen what had happened.<br><br>
Even if we admit the worse case scenario, my son deliberately hit another child with an object (which I find hard to believe, I mean how could he lift the brick and aim the throw accurately enough!?), the seriousness of the incident hinges on the gravity of the injury which was as a result of the weight of the object. The kids shouldn't have been playing with bricks so we as mothers have to take responsibilty for that.<br><br>
I admit my son is no angel and I cannot guarantee that he will never hit the other child again. I think that's part and parcel of kids growing up and learning how to interact.<br><br>
Now part of me doesn't want to have anymore playdates with them. On the other hand we are good friends and the boys are good friends too. We live overseas and it's difficult to meet like-minded people whose company you enjoy. So I don't really want to foresake these relationships but likewise I don't want to be made to feel that my son has behavioural problems and that my parenting style is inadequate.<br><br>
Any thougts on the incident, how it was handled and where to go from here?
 

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Did you ask them what happened when they came in and attempt to find out whether it was an accident or did you just assume that the crying meant that he had done it and was sorry? Breaking someones finger with a brick is serious even if it was an accident and an apology is definitely necessary as well as closer supervision since both kids were playing with bricks. I don't think you should throw away a friendship with someone who is willing to have you over after finding out that your child fractured her sons finger, especially since she seems to think your kid may not be a good influence on hers. If I thought someone was a bad influence and then they threw a brick at my kid the friendship would end immediately.<br><br>
It may be that the mom thought that since there seems to be trouble when your son comes over and since you didn't try to find out what your son had done to make her son cry that you knew that your son did it on purpose and you didn't do anything effective to deal with that. Just giving the appearance of being more on top of things may help your friendship last. Asking more questions about what happened and making sure the kids don't play in areas where they can get hurt will probably help her feel that you take her children's safety seriously while still being fair to your kids. It will also let her hear that what happened was an accident or that her kids were doing the same thing to him and he thought it was okay. By not addressing the situation though you send the message that her sons well being isn't as important as your son always being happy, even when he has badly hurt another child.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks One girl. You've made some good points. At the time of the incident we asked the boys what had happened but didn't get anything from either child (they're still both 3). Also when the mother brought up the incident I said I was sorry that the accident happened and asked her how the boy was. I do regret the incident and realise that we as mothers are responsible for it as we should have been supervising them.<br><br>
The problem for me is that my son didn't fracture her son's finger. That I do not know for sure but I am pretty sure that he could not have picked up a brick and aimed it and thrown it. He does not have the physical ability nor the malice to commit something that would have had to have been premeditated. We have playdates with a number of kids and ds is in preschool every morning. There has never been a problem with him being aggressive with other kids. However with this boy, I think it's because they are direct peers, they have a lot of big blow-ups. When the other boy's mother says that her son only acts like that around my kid I want to say likewise. I was totally willing to go on with the playdates because I think that they'll learn from experience how to behave together and resolve issues. However I do not want to feel that my son is the bad influence, big bully and the one responsible for any aggressive episode.<br><br>
We ended up meeting the whole family yesterday and had a meal together. For the most part the boys had a great time together but there were 2 incidents where the other boy hit my son unprovoked, then my son retaliated. The other boy's mother ONLY sees the retaliation! It's really frustrating.<br><br>
I've been feeling depressed and overwhelmed recently and this friend has been one of my saving graces but now this has come up. Am I being over-sensitive? Any comments much appreciated. I need to get some perspective on this
 

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Some parents are only able to see other kids as the aggressor or instigator. Their kid is never at fault or even sharing fault in any social situation. I have talked out loud to my DD in a few cases, for example "I don't care if x hit you first, we don't hit people. We use our words". I know it's abit passive aggressive. Usually I avoid situations with people who act like this. The problem is the two boys can't learn to get along if an adult is always blaming every incident on just one kid. You could try to just have time with the mom without the boys along or talk to your friend about how you feel, if you are close enough friends. 3 and even 4 year olds hit each other, it's how they deal with things. It's normal behavior. You can teach them to say "Stop!!" and use words instead but it takes awhile. Your friend is overreacting. If the object had been a toy there wouldn't have been an injury.
 

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It sounds likely that your son accidently dropped the brick on the boys finger without having any intent to hurt him, I have seen four year olds pick up really heavy things then drop them again very quickly without being able to control where the brick lands. After reading your update I think that you might need to consider having less playdates for a while. It sounds like the boys are maybe with each other too much and are having a hard time getting along. I think you handled the situation well from what you said in your update. I have found that breaks work very well when dd is bickering a lot with a friend. Even adults need breaks from friends sometimes because when you are with another person a lot they start to rub on your nerves.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks Ssh and One Girl. Getting a few comments from neutral outsiders really helps and you've both given some great advice. We usually meet on Thursdays - still undecided about this Thursday though <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">
 

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I'm assuming you apologized for the injury, even if you didn't know what happened?<br><br>
How about approaching her: "Hey, I'm feeling really bad about what happened to your son's finger. I still haven't been able to get out of ds what happened, but I'm pretty sure it was an accident. I really want the kids to be able to play together, but maybe for the next couple of playdates we should give them a little closer supervision. Clearly they shouldn't have been playing with those heavy bricks and I feel bad that it happened."<br><br>
Sometimes the other mom just needs to know that you feel guilty.
 

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Well, they were playing with bricks. I doubt your son wanted to hurt anyone. They were having fun doing something they shouldn't do. One child go hurt, the other one didn't.<br><br>
So, lets say two kids are jumping off a roof. One child breaks a leg, the other one doesn't. Should there be a consequence for the child who didn't get hurt, but was jumping off the roof too?<br><br>
When both boys are doing something they shouldn't be doing, there should be a consequense of some kind. Your son should have at least been admonished and reminded of how that was dangerous. Should he have been punished????? No, I don't think so. But, he could have done something nice to help his friend out. You and he could have gotten ice, or a cold rag, or a drink for him or something. Instead, he got to have hurt feelings, and now he's the victim. He could have been the hero instead. He needs to own up to things, even if it was a complete accident, and equally the other boy's fault.<br><br>
He's only four. I don't mean he should "man up" at four. It's a lifelong practice. But, it's something that wouldn't hurt to work on.<br><br>
See? My ex is the way your son is. (but, he's 48) If HE does something wrong to our daughter.. (once, he left her alone in a hotel room for six hours with no food... she was eight, and hadn't eaten since the day before) I was furious when I found out. He put his lip out, got pouty, and said our daughter really hurt his feelings by telling me about that. He pouted about that for a long time, until we eventually just dropped it. To this day, you can't even bring up the hotel room incident without him pouting again. His "sensitive needy" side is very annoying in a grown man.
 

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This was a supervision problem and not an aggression problem or behavior problem. A brick could have just as easily fallen on your son. Bricks are heavy and these things happen when little kids play with really heavy things. I would certainly have apologized anyway because it's awful when a child is hurt during play regardless of fault. It sounds like maybe she doesn't think you think it was serious? If she thinks that your son was at fault, then that might be an issue that is harder to get past, because really it sounds like it was just bad luck as to who got hurt and that they were both at fault for playing with bricks, or really you and she were both at fault for not thinking of the bricks as a hazard. Or maybe no one was at fault because kids sometimes get hurt. But if she thinks you just didn't take the issue seriously enough, you could aplogize by saying you weren't sure how to respond at the time but you feel very badly that he was hurt.
 

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Oh, another thing. It's easy for the inner mama bear to come out when your kid gets hurt. It's really hard to be objective and see that it really wasn't anyone's fault, or not that person's fault. She's just upset because he was hurt. So I wouldn't be too hard on her.
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">I think that's part and parcel of kids growing up and learning how to interact.</td>
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I just wanted to say that you never hear the mom of the kid who was hit (or bitten, or pushed over) say this. It's easy to say oh, sometimes they hit, when it's not your kid BEING hit. I'm not saying that your child intentionally hit the other kid with the brick, but I am saying this is not something I'd say to the other mom if you discuss it again.<br><br>
Aside from that, I agree with:<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">This was a supervision problem and not an aggression problem or behavior problem.</td>
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Almost four is still three and three is pretty little. Even at four, I tend to be pretty close by when my daughter is playing with other children (especially if the other kid is one who tends to whine or tattle or the other parents is the type whose child is ALWAYS the victim, no matter what). You just never know what's going to happen - they get so excited and they're so impulsive.
 

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Yeah, a supervision issue for sure. And I would be pretty itchy about the other mama being aggressive about everything being my kid's fault too.<br><br>
For the poster who said you never hear that from the kids who are getting pushed or hit - here's one. My DD is hypotonic and not at all boisterous physically. She is not the one running, jumping, throwing things - ever. She used to get pushed over very easily because she wasn't strong enough to withstand being bumped. But honestly I don't think I would be making all that noise if I were in your friend's place.<br><br>
Don't get me wrong, the brick thing sounds bad, but that's like you said, a supervision issue. I'm not going to come down on you because I've made supervision mistakes myself, you learn from them. But I totally agree, I would think it was a stretch to say that your 3 year old purposefully did it. In fact I'm not even convinced that your 3 year old was the one holding the brick (I mean, probably he was, but not necessarily). I have seen my own kid blame another child for an incident I witnessed that the other child didn't cause, because in her head the other child was THERE. I don't blame my own kid, either, she's not trying to get anybody in trouble, she just had a three year old take on the situation.<br><br>
Probably they were both doing something, maybe your friend's kid asked for the brick or was even taking it and it got dropped in the exchange. I don't even know, I'm just saying I hear you on being miffed that it had to be all about your kid. When two kids get together, things go differently than if they are alone. Neither has to be a rabble-rouser for them to get into trouble.
 

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I would have a hard time remaining friends with someone like that.<br><br>
And I agree that it's unlikely your son threw the brick, but perhaps they were building a wall or stacking them and your son dropped one onto the other boy's finger. Live and learn. They both were doing something they shouldn't have done, and the blame is on their <i>mothers</i>, not the kids.<br><br>
I think, knowing what I know now about your friend, that if I were in that situation I would have said something like, "Oh no! How irresponsible of us not to be watching them! Did you know there were bricks back there? We'd better go back there and supervise a bit better!"<br><br>
When the two are in the beginnings of a fight, I'd also do what the PP said and be more verbal about it in a passive agressive kind of way..."I know that X hit you but you should not hit him back!" or "I know X said he doesn't want to play with you now, but he's upset and mad about things, so why don't we do something else while he cools down a bit?"<br><br>
The thing though, that REALLY ticked me off when reading your post, was this:
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<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">Basically she was saying that my son had caused this to happen to her son <i><b>and then cried to save himself from admonision</b></i> when her son had said he wouldn't play with ds.</td>
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That is haughty, rude and insulting.<br><br>
I hope you defended your son. Personally, if this attitude of hers continued much longer I wouldn't be friends with her anymore. I have no time for people who only see the "wrongs" <i>everyone else</i> does.
 

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I hate hearing "bad influence" about a child. 3 y.o.s are impulsive!!<br><br>
I agree with what the pp said, about your friend saying your DS was manipulating you with crying. Dislike!<br><br>
I probably would not make or break a friendship over this. I think, esp. with 1st children, parents get MUCH more worked up. I DO have the child that's been hit by another child, and I tell the parents . . .don't stress . . .children make mistakes, just like we do! What I look for more than anything is what the parent says. If the parent says, "I am sorry this happened!" then I know it matters to him/her, and frankly, nothing more can be done. However, in a case like yours, no one knows what happened . . .I don't think the children are lying, but people always see things differently and have their own truths. It isn't about blame anyway, but problem-solving for the future. Sounds like you already know what to do about that-- closer supervision. If she is rude about your son again, well, that would be too much for me personally.<br><br>
PS- I never force apologies. I apologize, but don't ask my kids to. I find it teaches them insincerity, and "I say these words and get off the hook."
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thank you all for your helpful comments, they really made me feel better. I've spent a week arranging playdates with other kids to prove to myself that ds does not have any aggression/behavioural issues, lol. I've had great fun and know what I knew all along anyway, ds is a normal lil boy.
 
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