to think hitting is not 'to be expected' at playgroup.

(39 Posts)
OhWhatAPalaver Tue 10-Sep-13 09:01:26

Yesterday I took my 20 mo dd to a new playgroup, it would have been lovely if it wasn't for the fact that one boy was being v aggressive towards all the other children. He and my dd were not even playing together and he came up and smacked her in the eye for no reason at all. She now has a bruise below and a scratch above her eye. Needless to say I was not impressed with the mother when she barely disciplined him. I thought maybe it was a one off but he went on to hit another girl on the head 3 times and had also been seen kicking other children.
I have never had to deal with another child deliberately hurting my dd and really didn't know how to react. The other mum whose dd he also hit spoke to one of the organisers of the group and she brushed it off by saying "he's only a baby" !! But the fact is he is not a baby, he is a toddler and i think it should be addressed. But what is the best way to go about it when it's someone else's child? This really isn't acceptable behaviour is it?
Also the boys mother is one of the organisers of the group as well which makes it awkward, the mum of the other girl he hit just said she isn't coming back because of him. sad

It's normal for toddlers to sometimes hit out. But the lack of discipline is the problem. It should be part of the rules that parents are responsible for their own kids and expected to intervene when needed.

I wouldn't go back either. Not cos of the kid but because nothing was done about it.

neunundneunzigluftballons Tue 10-Sep-13 09:07:47

Attempting to hit and even the odd contact is par for the course at toddler meet ups. A mother doing nothing and that includes the mothers of the children being hit is not. If a child attempted to hit my child I would move my child out of the way hopefully before impact and if the behaviour continued I would say 'ah ah that is not nice' to the other child. They are babies though so discipline does not come into it hugely just parents need to step in.

Feelingfatty Tue 10-Sep-13 09:08:12

I help run a lovely toddler group. Unfortunately we have a similar problem with certain parents who let their children 'run wild' and do not discipline their child. You'll probably find the organisers are as confused you are! We will tell the child off if we see it but no else we can do. I wouldn't let it put you off a group if you really like it. If you know which child it is you can begin to stop incidents before they happen by moving your child away?

OnTheBottomWithAWomensWeekly Tue 10-Sep-13 09:12:33

I think you're confusing expected and acceptable.

It might well be yours hitting soon. You just have to sort it out yourself, you move your child away and tell the hitting child to stop it. Why sit around waiting for someone else to do it?

ReallyTired Tue 10-Sep-13 09:21:19

At 20 months a child is a baby and babies do make mistakes. However a clear and slightly sharp "no" is needed. Mistakes are inevitable part of growing up, but they still need to be corrected.

In an ideal world the organiser would take her son home instantly, but I suppose that if she was organising the group then she might not have that option. I imagine that the mother was busy organsing the toddler group and not concentrating on watching her son.

ElsieOops Tue 10-Sep-13 09:24:29

When children did similar things at toddler groups I attended, the mum would explain to the child that they mustn't hit and sit them on her knee for a timeout for a few minutes.

OhWhatAPalaver Tue 10-Sep-13 09:46:35

I think the boy was older than my dd, I would say he was about 2. I do not view my toddler as a baby any more, she knows when she is doing something wrong but still does it anyway, for which she is disciplined. The boy knew full well that he should not be hitting but he clearly knew he could do it and there would be very little rebuttal. He got away with it on several occasions and he was the only one behaving in such a way.
I don't think its acceptable at all, maybe a very occasional outburst is to be expected but not several times in the space of two hours.
I guess my main issue is how do I react if it happens again? I would feel odd disciplining someone else's child!

AnneUulmelmahay Tue 10-Sep-13 09:53:08

Its ok to intervene, to say no hitting, to block or parry an incoming blow with your forearm or leg, to use tbe Death Stare.

A two year old is still v young, driven by impulse, immediate wants, empathy still developing along with language and social skills.

I am sorry your child got bashed.

SlightlyItchyBraStrap Tue 10-Sep-13 09:56:57

What do you mean by discipline? What sort of response were you looking for from the mother?

LookingThroughTheFog Tue 10-Sep-13 09:59:42

i I was not impressed with the mother when she barely disciplined him.

What constitutes 'barely disciplined'?

DS was a hitter and a biter when he was around 2. His speech was very delayed, and consequently he got very frustrated, and biting and hitting was pretty much the only way he could communicate his frustration.

We dealt with it, obviously, every time, and he was given time outs by the nursery workers and so forth. The real change in his behaviour was when he learned to sign, however. The bad behaviour disappeared over the course of about a week when he realised that he was going to be listened to, and that he didn't need to rely on verbal communication, which he couldn't do.

I'm not saying that what went on in your nursery was acceptable, but without knowing what the mother did and is continually doing in regards to resolving the behavioural issues, it's hard to say whether it's understandable/forgivable or not. Not all behavioural issues can be resolved by a simple punishment. Some of them need a bit more thought and a bit more work.

I would expect for there to be hitting/kicking among children of that age group. What's critical is not the act itself which is pretty human, but what is done to resolve it.

It's distressing when your toddler is injured by another toddler. But it won't be long before your daughter snatches a toy, hits or possibly bites. And when she does, it's best not to make a huge fuss about it, as its normal toddler behaviour.

neunundneunzigluftballons Tue 10-Sep-13 10:13:21

I think taking a toddler home would be an over reaction in this situation. The toddler would not in anyway link the going home with the bad behaviour. I also think that toddlers are known throughout the world as not being the best practioners of good behaviour and the few successes you have had OP by a year and a half do not a successful discipliner make. The mother in question in particular and you OP need to be limiting the opportunities for the child to hit yours. But I would intervene with the other child in these situations of persistent hitting because your child and others should not be getting hit. TBH I would assume that the other mother might be busy running the event and that is why she has taken her eyes off but that is no excuse for not dealing with him.

lottiegarbanzo Tue 10-Sep-13 10:21:14

Expected - as occasional incidents - yes, acceptable and tolerable as ongoing behaviour, no.

Ultimately I would expect the (other) organisers to act. I don't buy the 'there's nothing we can do' line at all. Playgroups are generally privately run, by community organisations, they are not a public right. The organisers can have a quiet word with the parent, offer to help step in with the child. Ultimately they can say the child / parent's behaviour is not compatible with the group and they're not welcome back (though I'd hope they'd try to identify some help for the mother, or point her to someone who could).

The mother may well feel helpless and resigned to something she hasn't been able to tackle successfully, so may welcome help or even others' direct intervention.

Dd is a toddler and learning to negotiate toddler / child / baby interaction is an ongoing learning expeirence!

She used to 'hit' open-handed as a greeting but with suitable encouragement / discouragement she's modified it to stroking hair / faces, moving on to arms. Still not welcomed by many children!

She is very keen to interact with others and I spend a lot of time telling her that 'I don't think that boy / girl needs your help' (some older ones, 4+ are very gracious and let her 'join in', 2-3yos generally agree with me, sometimes the same-age ones find common ground) and have said to other children 'I don't think she wants that toy in her face' etc. I am careful not to 'tell off other people's children' so don't say 'don't do that' but with obvious, repeated hitting, I'd go for a stern 'we don't hit'.

ReallyTired Tue 10-Sep-13 10:23:30

neunundneunzigluftballons

Why do you think its an over reaction in this situation to take a toddler home. If the child has attacked several children then frankly its clear that he is not coping with the setting for whatever reason. Even the child does not understand why he is being taken home, then surely its only reasonable to prevent him from spoiling the group for the other children there.

It is really hard for the mother if she is running the event to keep her eye on her child. Prehaps the other parents need to volenteer so that she can take her child home or offer to look after her child while she makes tea/ collect money/ whatever. Otherwise the toddler group will fold.

Sitting on your backside and doing nothing to help isn't fair on the other mother or her child.

valiumredhead Tue 10-Sep-13 10:25:49

It will happen at some point, but not acceptable. You do have to remember that small children have no concept of socialising/manners, that's the whole point of playgroup.

It might well be yours one day, don't judge too harshlywink

valiumredhead Tue 10-Sep-13 10:26:39

I used to take ds home-3 strikes and he was out!grin

OhWhatAPalaver Tue 10-Sep-13 10:40:54

Yes the fact that his mother is helping to run the group is no excuse for her not watching him. I only saw her discipline him once and she just kind of dragged him away from my dd.
I never said I'm some disciplinary wonder woman, just that if my dd hits, which she occasionally does (and only ever me or dp confused) she gets a very firm telling off and she absolutely must say sorry, even if it takes me an hour to get her to say it! I understand that if the boy can't talk much he might not be able to say sorry but he should have had time out after every hit, kick, scratch or whatever.

pianodoodle Tue 10-Sep-13 10:44:53

I kind of go in with the idea that as long as I'm watching my own toddler it's up to others to watch their own.

Seems easier! If there's a particularly bitey/hitting child all I really do is hover a bit if they go near DD and create a barrier if need be smile

Maybe a bit over-protective but it works for me grin

Fleta Tue 10-Sep-13 10:45:51

There is absolutely NOTHING more irritating than parents who try and excuse their children's behaviour by saying "oh they all do it don't they"

Well no, mine bloody never did!

lottiegarbanzo Tue 10-Sep-13 10:45:55

I think people see a difference between deliberate and inadvertant hitting but will interpret the same action differently. People will have different expectations of toddlers' understanding and potential for control, so the value of explaining to the child versus removal and parental apology.

OhWhatAPalaver Tue 10-Sep-13 10:50:24

I like the 3 strikes and your out rule, that's a goodun! grin

valiumredhead Tue 10-Sep-13 10:54:54

Fleta-well, you were just lucky then imo because I doubt your parenting had anything to do with it.

Some kids do and some don't.

Lambsie Tue 10-Sep-13 11:09:00

My son was a hitter (and a biter, pincher and scratcher). He rarely did it to another child because I was always close to him and it only happened when other children got in his space. I always removed him if I could see he was getting worked up but 'time out' would have had no meaning to him.

OhWhatAPalaver Tue 10-Sep-13 11:47:39

Lambsie, that sounds kind of normal but what baffled me about this boy was that my dd was no where near him at the time. It was like he purposefully came up to her and smacked her in the face! Very odd. Maybe he was doing it for attention or something but it didn't really look that way. I couldn't see any reason behind it at all.

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