friend's violent sons?(35 Posts)
Where we live there is a little community of toddlers who all go to the playground regularly and the older ones are all in the local play school - it is a tight knit group.
Two brothers in the group (ages 2 and 4) have been getting more and more violent recently and attack my child and others in the playground. This isn't your usual pushing or hitting thoughtlessly with a stick but sustained attempts to try and injure other children. I.e. waiting until a little child is on top of the slide and then trying to kick them over the edge, or waiting until a child is climbing up something and trying to push them back down from the top. I have also seen them go straight for children's eyes with sticks. All really serious stuff and there have been a few incidents where kids have been really hurt.
They have lashed out at my DC a few times and most recently kicked her and really hurt her, again making her fall off something in the playground. She was very upset, not understanding why someone would do such a thing. It made me very sad, and angry.
Every time a child goes near them they try to really hurt him or her.
I have talked to my DD and told her not to go near these boys but they are at a lot of things we go to and always in the park. They do not mind their own business but rather wait in a place they know they might have a chance of injuring someone. Their mum makes them apologise but does not hover enough to prevent them doing it. There is something wrong with them they are not normal fighty toddlers. They are actually frightening and always look pleased when they have severely hurt another kid.
I am really angry about it and want to completely avoid them. How best to do this? Does anyone have any experience of it?
Why would you be angry at a 2 and 4 year old? I'd be concerned there was something terribly wrong in their lives at the moment, this kind of behaviour is usually down to distress or special needs.
I expect OP is angry because her child was hurt. That's a completely natural reaction. It's not for the OP to diagnose any SN that's for sure.
I don't know what you can do except avoid them - could you go to the park at a different time?
I'm quite surprised nobody has had a go at the mother for allowing the behaviour to continue. It's all well and good for her to make them apologise, but wouldn't most people then stay with them and make sure they didn't do it again?
duplo OP didn't say she was angry AT the children, but just angry,...not the same thing.
OP you need to try to avoid them...what are their parents like?
Surely if your child is under 5 in a playground (and these children are about )you would following your child around. To play with them to help them and to sort out stuff with other kids.
has anyone tried actually saying something to the mum?
Why would you be angry at a 2 and 4 year old?
Why wouldn't you? They're hurting a lot of other children, and appear to be taking pleasure in it.
Agree that the other mum needs to be watching her kids like hawks and stepping in as required.
I'd go to another park, I'm afraid.
If the parent isn't hovering over them, you need to hover over yours when they happen to be there.
What is their mothers take on it. Does she act surprised/shocked/embarrassed/mortified when these things happen? Does she understand that you believe they are deliberately harming others or does she just see it as normal toddler accidents? Has anyone broached it with her?
Unless she sees it as an issue nothing will change.
It does sound like there may be more going on with them, it's unusual to such behaviour in such Young children.
I would stay very close to my own child and intervene if necessary.
What is your reaction to this behaviour when you are nearby? I have absolutely no problem with speaking firmly (NOT shouting) to misbehaving children that don't belong to me. I've done it many times in soft play/playgrounds if the parent isn't nearby/doesn't give a shit. Depending on age, I get down on their level, say "no, we don't behave like that, it's not nice" firmly and then encourage a nicer game or suggest my child plays elsewhere. I would certainly welcome anyone to do the same if my two behaved like that (although they are well past that age now). If you are friends with the mum can you approach her about it?
I used to follow DS very closely in the playground, particularly during his shoving phase. My consistent interventions (including removing him) helped prevent any serious problems, and eventually "stuck" in his own behaviour.
The mother could do a lot more about this (but so could you: even simply putting up a hand as a barrier to pushing, or calling "I can see you!").
OP here -
I'm not angry at the kids per se just angry my child was hurt. My immediate reaction was to shout 'no no no!' as it was happening. After that I had to comfort my DD rather than focus on the little boy. The mum does have words with the kids but they just grin through it. I try to hover over my DD and would usually but I have a tiny baby in a sling and can't move very quickly at the moment. Others have mentioned it to her and apparently she was upset, but that's it. This is why I posted. I'm willing to have a punt at mentioning it but not sure how to. I'm not the most assertive mum, and not sure how to tackle things like this. Parents are middle class as it comes, nice, folksy, lots of friends etc. Can't imaging anything violent happening at home.
She is kind of a friend but not super-close, more like a neighbour.
Yes we have experience of this. One girl would physically explode out of adult view, damaging children. Another would regularly forcefully/dangerously strangle my child's mouth. Both had some SEN and were in main stream schooling. The incidents usually happened away from adults and the parents were ineffectual at dealing with things that arose
The main way the community managed was by parenting the kids together. So almost everyone would step in when appropriate and discipline them (and other kids) in an appropriate caring and fair way. This might mean removing sticks from the children after a warning or standing closely to them chatting, while reminding them to be helpful/kind to others. Sometimes being aware they are being watched closely is enough. Sometimes asking them to be nice is enough.
The main worry for me is that they are possibly mimicking behaviour they have seen.
Parents are middle class as it comes, nice, folksy, lots of friends etc. Can't imaging anything violent happening at home.
If you read that ^^ back, I'm sure even you'll see how ridiculous it sounds.
But it's neither here nor there really.
All you can do is try your best to hover over your DC and shout to the boys if you see them mistreating her.
I would speak to the mum. Maybe with another mum from your group.....for protection from the evil spawn!
I have realised I have become my mother and step in if I see children misbehaving or being horrible whether my child is involved in the altercation. It really p*sses me off when parents don't watch their own kids especially those who know their children are aggressive.
I thought from the heading that two violent teenage brothers were attacking their mum. Hard to see violence and 2 year old in one sentence .
You could probably point out the violence to the mum as it happens so that she can step in. You could just keep it factual like you are making observations. You can also follow the comments with 'poor x (victim), he's been hurt by your son a lot today'
You could always say 'your boys are hurting children lots today aren't they, are they tired? Maybe you should take them home'
You will often find children react very differently to a stern word from someone other than their parent (who they may be used to no consequences from). I do a great cross face which can stop a lot of kids at 20 paces. You have a few choices really. You speak to the other mum. You take it upon yourself (perhaps with back up from other parents) to police the behaviour in the playground and watch the two boys very carefully. Or you play elsewhere. That's it really, you can't do anymore.
I would never normally call a 2 year old violent and have seen a lot of two year olds, but trust me this is v. weird and not normal.
well if you want advice about being assertive, check out TheWitTank's post.
I'm not very good about being assertive and clear, but lots of MN-ers are, so they'll prob give you better advice than I could, but I would say having a conversation with the mum, and hearing about her view point would be a good start. Is she embarrassed to be watching her kids because she's ashamed of their behaviour? Or something? Or is she just laid back and crap? But if you have a conversation with her, be prepared to say something strong "oh, sorry it's so hard for you. Have you considered a parenting course?" "I think children feel safer with strong boundaries" "you do realize if they do this to the wrong child, they're likely to be hurt themselves" etc.
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