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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In your mind, what is the best way to respond to your child hitting another child?

I realize that there are dozens of possible scenarios, considerations, and contexts. Were they "just rough-housing?" Was it a sibling or a stranger at the park? Was the aggressor who got caught hit first? How do you maneuver things with your DC? The victim? The angry parent? But just share your own experiences and how you handled the situation. Are you pleased with your response, or is there something you would have done instead?

Here is my first example. We were sitting at a restaurant and DS hit his cousin. His cousin hit back. It looked like playful rough-housing. The cousin looked slightly annoyed, but playfully hit him back. I pretty much ignored it and ordered more coffee. I later got reamed by the cousin's mother for "not doing anything about it." When I told her that no one was getting hurt or seemed to mind, she replied, "Well, he just doesn't know how to assert himself and set boundaries." And that's my problem . . . how? Anyway, I'd love a patient response to that one.

In a more clear-cut case, DS hit someone at a park and made the kid cry. Not cool. I apologized to the mom and had DS do the requisite forced apology. The mom didn't want to accept the apology. Was I suppose to grovel more? Put on a better performance with the scolding? (Forgive the snark. I genuinely don't know what to do). What's an alternative to the forced apology, (which I strongly doubt teaches anything meaningful)?
 

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I think in the first situation, as you reported it, it seems clear that it was more rough housing, and the cousin did 'defend' himself (if that was even necessary), so he did assert himself. But I wouldn't argue about it. As long as there is no serious injury going on I think it can be good for kids to work things out without a lot of adult intervention.

I am not sure how old your child is, so it is hard for me to know whether the 'forced apology' fits. For preschoolers maybe up to kindergarten, you are teaching skills, so if the child is not 'feeling' the apology, or is refusing, you model it and teach the skill anyway, showing 'this is what you do when you hurt someone, accidentally or otherwise.' A child about six or over usually already knows this is the social expectation, so if they are refusing to make amends, there may be other issues there.

In general, I think teaching by modeling, scripting, coaching etc, is the best way--not by doing "for" or meddling unnecessarily.

I always remember that when we were little, we went outside all day long, learned to deal with our conflicts, even learned to deal with mothers that did not accept our apologies, made us leave their houses, got in fist-fights, got bit by neighbor's dogs, dusted ourselves off and came home for dinner----all without very much adult intervention at all.
 

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I always remember that when we were little, we went outside all day long, learned to deal with our conflicts, even learned to deal with mothers that did not accept our apologies, made us leave their houses, got in fist-fights, got bit by neighbor's dogs, dusted ourselves off and came home for dinner----all without very much adult intervention at all.
This made me chuckle, my childhood honestly resembled a Peanuts cartoon where adults were known about but rarely were they actually around or so it seemed.

The hitting thing will get you on trouble, I'd keep on doing what you are doing and work on language to use instead of actions.
 

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How old are the kids?
In general I would handle both situations pretty much the same way you did. We're pretty laid back about rough-housing,though,especially between cousins and close friends. The only adult response would be "That's enough of that." if someone cried or started to tattle.
Was the hitting at the park in anger, or playing that got rough? If my kid struck in anger I would end the outing after an apology,but I think you did the right thing. Not your fault if the apology wasn't accepted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
How old are the kids?
In general I would handle both situations pretty much the same way you did. We're pretty laid back about rough-housing,though,especially between cousins and close friends. The only adult response would be "That's enough of that." if someone cried or started to tattle.
Was the hitting at the park in anger, or playing that got rough? If my kid struck in anger I would end the outing after an apology,but I think you did the right thing. Not your fault if the apology wasn't accepted.
In the first example, it's ridiculous--an age difference involving a scrawny 6-year-old initiating the rough-housing with an 11-year-old three times his weight and size. In the second, it involved kids of the same age and size, and yes, DS got angry. Yes, it's more than fair to explain that we end park dates when there's hitting.
 

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In the first example, it's ridiculous--an age difference involving a scrawny 6-year-old initiating the rough-housing with an 11-year-old three times his weight and size.
Well, that DOES seem ridiculous. Perhaps the 11-year-old cousin "never learned to assert himself" because the parent is always doing it for him? I don't want to be unfair to his parents by saying this about people I don't know, but yeah, doesn't seem like it should be your problem. I think, though, that parents are quick to come to their own children's defense, sometimes at the expense of fairness towards other people's children. When you see your DC getting hit by another child on the playground, you instinctively think, "That's my baby being beaten up by that mean kid!" and your sensitivity and objectivity may just go flying out the window. My child innocent, other kid bad, other parent bad parent. I try to be more mindful than that, but not everyone is able to be fair and nonjudgemental in the heat of the moment. I haven't had any real experiences in this, so I can only hope I wouldn't react unfairly either way, or that I'd know how to help my child do the right thing under the circumstances. But, yes, it's important not to take it personally if the other parent won't accept an apology or reams you out unfairly. I just kinda feel sorry for their kids if their parents can't model good behaviour and be a little more understanding towards other children and their parents.
 
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