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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, things generally do come full circle, I guess. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br>
After spending much of my son's toddlerhood guiding him AWAY from hitting, we just had a situation on a family vacation where I actually guided him TOWARD hitting! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/dizzy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Dizzy">:<br><br>
There are 2 very un-attached siblings in my husband's family, and they act out in rather mean and inappropriate ways. We just spent a week in a beach house with these and several other kids (like 10-15 kids all under the age of 10).<br><br>
So the younger sibling (almost 4) had apparantly cornered my son upstairs and was shoving him in the stomach at the top of a flight of stairs!<br><br>
Bless his heart, he did the things we have worked on for so long: telling the other person, "Please STOP!" and attempting to call for an adult. Well, the other child wouldn't stop, her older sibling didn't step in, and we couldn't hear them from downstairs. I guess he finally got away from her, b/c I found him sobbing and cowering in our bedroom.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/gloomy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Gloomy">:<br><br>
So, I told him that if that happened again, and he couldn't get her to stop, or get an adult, that it was OK to push or hit her back to make it stop. NEVER thought I'd have that conversation!<br><br>
And his response was amazing, "Mommy, I don't want to do that to my friends."<br><br>
So we talked a bit about self-defense and how "friends" treat each other. And then I spent the rest of the week *never* letting them out of my sight.<br><br>
Anyway, it was just wild in light of how much hitting this kid did during toddlerhood. He's now 4.5.<br><br>
(I'm still trying to process the parenting I saw on this vacation. And the undeniable negative effects on the kids. WOW!!!)
 

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I remember those conversations too. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> Sometimes the reasons for GD become clear in a whole new way eh?
 

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Ugh, what a tough situation for your little one to be in. That's great that he didn't want to have to resort to physical means to get out of that type of situation and that you two could talk about self defence... I think you handled it great <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">
 

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wow! poor boy, must have been so scared! UGH to the meanie kids, and I think you handled it well.
 

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First, teach him the fine art of blocking. A block can, if necessary, hurt like a punch, but it is, by its very nature, defensive.<br><br>
Second, I would reconsider putting him in a similar situation with wild unsupervised children. Sorry to come off harsh, but it is our job as parents to provide a safe environment.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>DebraBaker</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">First, teach him the fine art of blocking. A block can, if necessary, hurt like a punch, but it is, by its very nature, defensive.<br><br>
Second, I would reconsider putting him in a similar situation with wild unsupervised children. Sorry to come off harsh, but it is our job as parents to provide a safe environment.</div>
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I'm sure I'm not the only one here who has no idea what a "block" is not to mention knowing how to "teach" it. Second the OP stated it was a family vacation and that she spent the rest of the week keeping an extra close eye on him. I'm sure if she would have know what was going to happend she would have taken all steps necessary to prevent it.
 

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Thats a complicated and confusing situation for a little guy to be in. I probably would have apologized for not being within earshot, and promised to look after him better in the future.<br><br>
There was a situation with my younger son in gymnastics class, when he was 4 and among the youngest kids in the class at that time. I was watching through a window, but the door was locked to keep the kids safetly in the room. A kid started beating up on my little boy off in a corner, but the teachers were too distracted to notice. I could see my son mouthing the teachers names, and trying to push his way out. He was looking to me too, and I was banging on the window, etc. I ran to bang on the door, and as I go there, I saw my son make a fist and deliver one strong punch to the kids belly. Don't know how he knew exactly how to do that and where to make it land. The other kids doubled over for about 20 seconds, and then straightened up and walked away. My son looked at me sheepishly, red in the face, and shrugged. Then dusted off and went back to the assigned activity. I tried to process it with him after -- but really, I couldn't think of what to say about it! Other than, <i>"I saw what happend. Tough situation, huh? Are you okay?"</i>
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for all the feedback. Like I said, I'm still trying to process a lot of the vacation. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/dizzy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Dizzy">:<br><br>
A few points:<br><br>
I have severly limited contact with these children--mostly b/c of history with the older child--she seemed to relish getting my son upset, refused to share HIS toys with him, sneakily tried to encourage him to do things like wander off, etc. But NEVER physical violence.<br><br>
So before this vacation I tried to prep him for dealing with this previous sort of "bullying" behavior. How to negotiate sharing, how to call for an adult, how to say, "I don't want to play if you're not sharing." or "That's mean. Please stop."<br><br>
It just never occurred to me that things would have progressed to physical violence with these children. There were several other instances where the older sibling (7.5) became violent with other younger children there, too. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br><br>
We are NEVER going on this family vacation again.<br><br>
I did apologize to him for not hearing him. He was very upset about that. I feel sick about that. We had just had a wonderful weekend with 2 other children in the family where the kids went upstairs and played beautifully together (making sure to include a toddler and helping her and giving her turns, etc.). I think I got lulled into a false sense of security about my child's ability to play unsupervised.<br><br>
Anyway, thanks for all the feedback. It's been a stressful situation. And I'm sure it's not over--when my MIL asks why on EARTH we aren't going back. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">: UGH.
 

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Try to get your husband on your team and let *him* fight with *his* family.<br><br>
I would bet real money that he "enjoyed" similar experiences to your son's when he was a boy.
 

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Were we on the same family vacation together? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br>
This same type of scenario just happened with dd. My nephew who is the same age punched her squarely in the chest out of frustration. My initial reaction was less than inspiring as I yelled at him to "get back here now!" as he ran away as fast as possible. I did apologize to him for yelling and told his dad (my brother) that he did not have to apologize for the punch if he did not want to (my brother was trying to force an apology). Somehow that little situation proved to be a bonding experience and the two of them played nicely for the rest of the time. However I had decided that if it was going to continue to be violent I would have to talk her into hitting back since there was really no way I could hover over her constantly (camping trip with 23 people total). Luckily it never came to that, but I can totally empathize with your situation. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">
 

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Oh my gosh I know how tough this is! We have all boys and so does my husband's family and my family, but our boys are the ONLY ones who aren't violent.<br>
We're teaching our boys that while it's not ok to hit people, you do have to stand up for yourself if someone else is picking on you. I think if you don't teach them that their self esteem will really suffer.<br>
And unfortunately it just is a fact that in the real world we just can't always be there to defend them, so they need to know they are able to defend themselves.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>DebraBaker</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">First, teach him the fine art of blocking. A block can, if necessary, hurt like a punch, but it is, by its very nature, defensive.<br>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"> My DS was in martial arts when he was little (from 5 to 7) And he would come and share his experiences with me and tell me how he was successfull at blocking and dodging the punches.<br><br>
I (my views changes since) asked him "why don't you just hit him/them back?"<br><br>
His answer was just as educational to me as your DS's answer was: "But if I hit him/them back, they are going to hurt MORE. It's not fair"
 

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I feel for you. My oldest dd had a similar experience at a playgroup when she was pushed in a closet, covered with playclothes, and sat on by another child (the little girl doing the sitting was not doing it in good fun--it seemed to be a mean-spirited action). DD was very upset but hardly cried out at all. In fact,I heard nothing-- my SIL happened to walk past the room and saw the whole thing. DD was not quite three at the time and was very, very passive when it came to defending herself. At that point in time, I urged her to tell the person to stop, yell for help, and if I didn't hear her, to hit whoever it was until they quit.<br><br>
Normally I would <i>never</i> condone physical violence. But it seemed to be just what dd needed--almost like she needed my ok that she did not have to let herself be bullied. Now she is almost 5 and is confident in social situations with other children. As far as I know, she has not hit another child (except for her little sister--that's a whole other post) and she can stand up for herself and others without using physical violence.<br><br>
Now, my 2nd dd is such a firecracker that I have to remind her not to hit, so I don't think I can see myself telling her to hit anyone else. It depends on the child and the situation.
 

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I agree with the person who suggested blocking.<br><br>
As an adult, you should be able to learn a bit about blocking and self defense in one or two classes, then pass the lessons on to your kid. Or you can enroll your kid in a few lessons and then practice with him. You can even find self defense info on videos. But blocking and otherwise defending yourself against an attacker are great skills for non-violent kids to have. You don't have to take classes geared towards developing fighting skills. The types of classes women take to evade rapists will do.
 

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Funny,<br><br>
When you have taken those classes, people seem to simply leave you alone because you carry yourself differently.<br><br>
My son (8 at the time,) was being bullied in the playground.<br><br>
The bully was considerably larger than him and was threatening him. The bully went after my son with a punch and my son stepped aside as the last second and said bully plowed his fist into the brick wall that was behind my son.<br><br>
Yes, I'm inordinately proud of him for that one.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>edswife</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I'm sure I'm not the only one here who has no idea what a "block" is not to mention knowing how to "teach" it.</div>
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Short answer--pushing the attacker's arm rather than the attacker.<br><br>
Longer answer, try this blocking technique:<br><br>
You extend your arm towards your child<br>
Your child puts his palm on your wrist and pushes your hand aside<br>
Do that a few times, then you deflect your child's hand, then it's her turn again, and so forth.<br><br>
A good word to keep in mind for this technique is "deflect".<br><br>
That's the most basic version and can just be a fun game. If you want to make it more of a self-defense maneuver, have your child say "Don't hit me" as they deflect your hand.<br><br>
As your DC gets better at the game, you can gradually increase the speed.<br><br>
For my own convience I'm using the words such as "attacker" to mean the person extending their arm and other more violent sounding terms, but the following can be used as variants in the game above in a gentle and playful manner:<br><br>
A more advanced technique is to twist the body away as you deflect the hand. For this you'll turn your upper torso so that your blocking hand is closer to the attacker and your non-active hand is away from the attacker. This makes it so that you don't have to deflect the attack as far to allow it to miss your body.<br><br>
Even more advanced, stepping with the block to help put you in a sideways position to the attacker. Say that you're blocking with your right hand, then you can either step back with your left foot, or you can step forward with your right foot to put yourself in a better position to deflect the attack.<br><br>
Turning to a sideways postion also makes it easier to run away after you make the block. A fun variant of the "extend-push" game would be to play the game in the yard or something and have your DC run to a tree or other goal every three deflections or something. In the situation described by the OP, this could have made it easier for her son to run downstairs to where the adults were.<br><br>
For children's self-defense, moreso even than for adult self-defense the goal should be to get to a safe adult.
 

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By the way, Monkey's mom, it sounds like your DS has an excellent grasp of how to play well with others <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love">. Makes me a bit <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> that he won't be old enough for babysitting duties by the time I have my kids.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">
 
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