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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
it seems many other kids are 'more playful' than mine even when they first meet her. they dont feel at all shy to hold her hand or tickle her and she doesn't like this AT ALL. My daughter just turned 2. She is very bubbly and social among people she knows well, but will cry immediately if a new person gets too close too fast.

Today a girl in the library started tickling my dd and she squirmed uncomfortably. I was about 5 yards away and as I walked towards them i tried to say in a calm voice, "I dont think she likes you to do that." and then scooped up my dd who burst into tears. The girl's mother, without getting up from the computer just called out, 'no touching.'

What should I have done? What would you do? My daughter continued crying as we left the library. I tried to distract her with magazines etc and only when outside I said, "you didn't like that girl to tickle you did you. If anyone does that you shoudl say, "dont do that"" My dd looked very happy as I explained this to her. At last I had acknowledged the real issue and given her help in dealing with it.

But in the library, was there anything I could have done or said to the other girl? I operate on the assumption that you should not criticise or scold a child, esp someone else's. In this case perhaps it was not very serious, but in another case it could be. I dont want my daughter to get the message that when other people behave inappropriately we just have to put up with it and/or escape, just to avoid creating a scene.
 

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I wonder if there is someway to sort of scold the other child by just saying dd doesn't like to be touched by people she doesn't know and then maybe have the other child introduce themself and you introduce dd and suggest something that won't get your dd upset. If your dd is just going to get upset anyway there's nothing wrong with removing her from the situation to calm down and suggest ways of her to deal with it. I think teaching her to say "don't touch me" or whatever bothers her is a good way to help her take control of the situation. And then maybe to teach her that if they won't stop to just come and find you. Sort of a balance between crying and just putting up with the situation.
 

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I think you dealt with it really well! You acknowledged her feelings, then suggested a "script" that she can use in this type of situation in the future. My toddler sounds like she has a similar personality to yours. We were hiking with a group yesterday- at one point she was lying down crying about something and all these other toddlers gathered around her and were asking why she was crying, etc., which is the exact opposite approach that she needs! They were being empathetic, so I just said "it is nice that you are worried about her, but go ahead, we'll catch up, she just needs a few minutes alone to feel better." I like how you started to give your daughter the tools she needs to solve these problems for herself! Plus you did it without labeling her for the other kids ("she's shy" or "she doesn't like new people" or whatever). I find it hard not to do this, at least with adults who insist on trying to hug or get too close to my daughter (for some reason, I always feel like I need to explain her personality!)

IMO our efforts are better directed at working on our own kids' conflict resolution skills, rather than trying to redirect the behavior of random kids that our kids don't interact with regularly. The most you can do is help other kids develop empathy, maybe saying "she doesn't look happy with you doing that" or "she said not to touch her like that."
 

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I think you handled it just right. At 2, my ds would have been taken aback by being tickled by a strange child. Now, at almost 4, he would likely be the instigator. I would never admonish a child for behavior that was well intentioned but I would clarify and label feelings. I would tell my ds to say "no, thanks" if he was on the receiving end and tell the other child that my ds didn't want to be touched now, maybe recommending a way to play that my ds would like. My using "no, thanks" stems from my encouraging that phrase when he didn't want a food that I was offering. I got tired of hearing "I don't like that!" especially when I knew it was a food he has eaten before without complaint.
 

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Coming from the mama of a little 2 year old who would be the instigator, I don't know if I'd like you scolding my child at all. She was being friendly, and trying to get to know your DD in her own 2 year old way. If I were in your shoes I would have asked the little girl to introduce herself, and then let your DD introduce herself. I think you should explain both your DDs behavior to the other child, and the other childs behavior to your DD. SOme thing like "DD, this little girl is wanting to meet you/play with you" and to the other little girl "DD is a bit shy, sometimes being around new people makes her scared." To me, this would explain both kids' behavior, and I'd tell DD it is okay to be afraid sometimes, too, but would encourage the friendly communication. Separate them before or as soon as your DD is uncomfortable, but don't completely leave, just supervise, and allow your DD to try to interact as well.

I have had to call DD down several times when in public. I always hate that people think and see my DD as aggressive, or wanting to hurt their child. MOstly, she is curious, and even more curious about thier actions. It makes her feel bad, or like she has done something wrong when all she is doing is introducing herself, and looking for someone to play with.

I know that you know your DD best, but there will come a time when you need to let her have her "say" in the little kid conversation, either by crying outright, or by saying "Don't do that to me" She needs to own her feelings. My 2 year old is very verbal, so maybe yours isn't quite to that point yet. I try to get her to say her feeling outloud alot, to encourage this. Also, if another kid expresses discomfort, she is always quick to say "I'm sorry"
 

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Your child has the right not to be touched if she doesn't want to be. Two is young, but you eventually want her to learn how to let people know this herself. I suggest, right when the unwanted touching is happening (or even better, before if you can see it coming), look at your child and coach her on what to say to the other person. Make it simple. Example: "say stop it" or "say I don't like that", etc. Then your child learns the skill of stopping unwanted touching. It is much easier to teach this kind of thing in the situation when it is actually happening.

I think when you have a situation that doesn't go well and something does happen that was uncomfortable for you dd, it is really good to talk with your daughter about it after the fact the way you did.

I understand your concern about wanting to be polite/not offend other parents, but there are plenty of grown up women walking around who put up with behavior that doesn't feel right to them because they don't want to rock the boat, so to speak. You don't want your dd to learn this. Plus, if you are coaching your dd what to say, you are not disciplining someone else's child.

If the whole coaching in the moment thing is too much for your dd right now, I might try what the pp suuggested (get the girls to introduce themselves, etc.) but I would also do something to block the other child from touching your child. You can do this pretty easily w/o it looking weird. When you see the other child coming, get down on their level and put your hand out to block her and turn it into an offer to shake hands and introduce yourself (Hi, I'm Suzi's Mama!. This is Suzi. Would you like to say hello?).

Good luck! I agree with pp that you handled the situation you were in well!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
i like the idea of getting the two girls to introduce themselves.

Freethinker suggested that i shoudl explain that

Quote:
"a bit shy, sometimes being around new people makes her scared."
but see, i feel that there is nothing lacking in my dd (shy / scared sound like she is feeling something she shouldnt be) and i should not have to explain why she does not want to be touched or tickled.

I think what i have learned from thinking it out and reading your responses is that I could simply explain to my dd in the presence of the other child and if s/he cared to listen, the caregiver as well. therefore i say nothing to them directly but my dd knows that i am standing up for her. if the other parent wants to come over and acknowledge the predicament, then i have the opportunity to be understanding and say it's all right, etc.
 

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Rumi, I agree you should not label your child as shy or scared. I have a friend with a "slow to warm" child who would always talk in her daughter's presence about how shy she was- it really became a self-fulfilling prophecy and was hard for her daughter to break out of that box.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by 2GR8KIDS
Rumi, I agree you should not label your child as shy or scared. I have a friend with a "slow to warm" child who would always talk in her daughter's presence about how shy she was- it really became a self-fulfilling prophecy and was hard for her daughter to break out of that box.
: ITA!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
yeah, what i mean is, that if someone had just come up and tickled me, i would oppose it, and not because i am shy or scared.

at the same time, i do feel that we must attribute good intentions to the other children (unlike to adults) even if we think their parents should do or should have done x or y. because we know little about their situation and overall context of the particular behvious and no doubt the same thing is going tohappen where some other parent is worried about what my kid is doing, etc.
 

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I also would hesitate (and I'm speaking mildly) to label your own daughter as shy just because she doesn't care to be touched by a stranger. Imagine, do any of us like to have a complete stranger come up and tickle us on the street? Good grief, surely nothing is *lacking* in your little girl!
Neither your DD or the other child is behaving inappropriately, so I wouldn't label EITHER negatively.

I like how you handled it, I would perhaps say what you said outside the library in the situation ~ give words to capture her feelings and give her validation.
 

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I would have given it a minute before interacting w/ the duo. I think, in my experiance, that interacting IMMEDIATLY (or even before SHE reacted- as you did) causes the moment to become more dramatic then necassary. I've seen it happen w/ my ds several times. If I just give them a minute to "work out" that first discomfort my ds (9 times out of 10) will warm up to the new playmate... and probably tickle back.

jmo.
 

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I think I would have given it a moment to work out too. Either your DD would have had enough and finally said something or whined or shrugged away from the other child or she would have smiled back or something.

Was she squirming because she was uncomfy or because she was being tickled? I think that if she was totally uncomfy with the situation, she'd have ran over towards you...of course, this is just my observation from what you describe.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by rumi
i do feel that we must attribute good intentions to the other children (unlike to adults) even if we think their parents should do or should have done x or y
I hear what you're saying, but to me letting someone know that their behavior that affects you is not okay is not the same as saying you think their intentions are bad. What I'm trying to say is that sometimes people have good intentions, but their behavior still makes us uncomfortable. So it's okay to let them know this.
 

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I think the way you acknowledged the situation to her and offered her words to use was very helpful. To me, that's the most important part: acknowledge the feelings & empower the child with words to use to advocate for herself.

Your dd sounds similar to mine, socially, and we've had many situations like what you've described. I will share one just to offer another person's way of dealing with a similar situation. This morning, another little girl was trying to kiss dd as she sat looking at a book. I could tell she didn't want to accept this kiss (she was backing away), but she wasn't getting that point across to the other girl. I was sitting right next to dd at the time, so I said, "Dd, this little girl would like to kiss you. Do you want her to do that?" Dd said no, so I told her to say, "Please don't kiss me." to the other little girl. Then I told the little girl that it was very nice that she wanted to play with dd & suggested that they read a book together.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
i really appreciate all of you taking time to offer from various perspectives. in theory i like the idea of giving the two a minute to work it out, and see how intervening could be counter productive, but from what i could see, my dd just felt cornered and helpless, as she often does when interacting with new people who make the first move (even helpfully). i should teach her to walk away from an uncomfortable situation. but at some point she should also recognise that people are being friendly/helpful whatever and it can't always be she who makes the first move ... my tendency is to just wait and assume she will figure this out with time, and just support her whenever she needs it.

secondly, i want to ask a new question, as it pertains to this and many circumstances - i speak to dd in our native language. so it would not be easy for me to say something that both kids could understand equally well, but i guess this will be an impt reason to speak more english now. she understands english very well, because she hears us speak it all the time, it is just that we havent till now used it while speaking to her.
 
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