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2.5 year old dd target for bullies or is this normal?

(35 Posts)
IsitJustFantasy Wed 15-Feb-17 17:29:50

Today we went to soft play. As it's half term it was really manic and while I kept an eye on DD it was impossible to see her at all times. At one point I noticed a much bigger girl tapping her on the back. I couldn't see well from where I was standing to know if she was hitting her but she did it a few times. DD walked off out of my sight and I thought she must be fine and maybe the girl was just being friendly, until DD came running out to find me looking really upset. She was close to tears and saying "Someone is hitting me. Someone is hitting me." I comforted her and she ran off back to play. I looked around for the girl but didn't see her again.

Quite a while later on I saw DD looking upset again. She was far back, on an upper level, so I went in to find her and it was the same, she was really upset and saying "someone is hitting me." The girl had gone at this point I'm quite sure so it must have been someone else. DD isnt one to lie or overreact. When she falls over she is really brave and just gets back up again without a fuss. She only cries when really hurt. I know children accidentally knock into each other when playing but DD isnt bothered about that. She would only have said that if someone was deliberately hurting her.

I don't know if this is normal and expected to happen at places like soft play, or if maybe something about her makes her a target. When she was slightly under 2 there was a similar incident at a playgroup. An older child was actively seeking out DD and hitting her. I kept on taking DD away to another part of the room but the child kept coming for her. I told her off in the end (wasn't sure who her parent was), and after that she left DD alone. When the girl was hitting her, DD didn't retaliate she just looked stunned. I could see she just didn't understand why anyone would hurt her on purpose.

Dp has said before about worrying that DD could be a target for bullies. We suspect she may have ASD and are planning to try and get her assessed soon. I wouldn't post had it just been a one-off incident but the fact it has happened now three times worries me. She's very similar to my DM in nature and my DM has seemed to attract bullies throughout life. I think it's because she is quite vulnerable and I'm worried that it will be the same for DD.

I don't know, is there something about some children/adults that makes bullies target them? And if so, what can I do to help my DD?

uhoh2016 Wed 15-Feb-17 21:38:35

I don't think you can make her less of a "target " so to speak. But you can teach her how to cope with such circumstances ie not retaliating or treating others that way, telling an adult when it happens and moving away from anyone who makes her feel uncomfortable

IsitJustFantasy Wed 15-Feb-17 21:42:31

Since we got home she's actually hit me and dp a few times! She hit me when we got home, then dp when he came in from work, then me again when I took her to bed. I'm worried she is copying what was done to her today. I told her not to hit and said it's very bad and it makes mummy sad. Hard trying to explain in a way she will understand, I think it sunk in though.

Do you think it is normal her getting hit like this? Is that something that happens to most children at one point or another?

ProphetOfDoom Wed 15-Feb-17 22:11:20

Soft play is the work of the devil! It takes a certain level of confidence and even maturity to negotiate it, especially if you don't have a sibling or parent to go in with you. And she is only little.

I think you negotiate it by being very present with her and welcoming other children into your & dd's group. So she can see you modelling confident behaviour and gain confidence your presence - create the atmosphere for social success, if that doesn't sound too corny. And as she gets older and more able, role play what to do when another child is not nice. I've had to do that for ds1 & dc3 a few times to give them the confidence to speak out/not worry about causing a fuss/won't be in trouble.

It's heartbreaking when you see your innocents look bewildered when they find out not everyone is nice but it's also an important development stage to learn how to cope, in whatever way best suits their character.

When she starts nursery it's something you can bring up with her keyworker so they can look out for it.

SheRaaarghPrincessOfPower Wed 15-Feb-17 22:18:47

Sorry, but I think 2.5 is too young to be out of sight at soft play. I had this with my eldest, I didn't realise how some older kids can be in places like soft play.

My youngest is a similar and and I wouldn't let him out of my sight (largely because he'd be the one doing the clobbering hmm) but kids that age aren't targets of bullying or anything else, they're just too tiny.

user1471521456 Wed 15-Feb-17 22:18:54

She's 2 1/2.The other child (or children) were probably a similar age.They haven't fully learned how to behave yet so you need to be supervising so you can step in if play starts to get rough and to model to your dd what to do and say in a situation like that.

Floggingmolly Wed 15-Feb-17 22:21:21

She's far too young to be alone on an upper level at soft play, completely out of your sight. She's two shock

SheRaaarghPrincessOfPower Wed 15-Feb-17 22:22:11

I remember being furious with older children pushing and shoving DD at soft play.

You need to watch her.. In a year she might be the one pushing smaller ones over in the ball pit.

OhtoblazeswithElvira Wed 15-Feb-17 22:27:33

She's too little to be out of sight I think. Soft play is the jungle. That said I have seen some children who do seek out and target younger kids. Maybe hover around her OP and introduce other children, explain situations until she is familiar with the place and knows what is appropriate behaviour for the situation and what isn't.

flowers you sound a bit upset.

SheRaaarghPrincessOfPower Wed 15-Feb-17 22:29:05

Fucking hell... Totally missed the bit where it's half term where you are (ours is next week).

Why are you at soft play in half term with a 2yo? If I didn't have a school age child I wouldn't go anywhere fucking near soft play in the holidays..

IsitJustFantasy Thu 16-Feb-17 09:10:43

She's far too young to be alone on an upper level at soft play, completely out of your sight. She's two

It wasn't completely high up, it was the toddler area. Only a little level up so they can go down the slide. Bigger kids kept coming in though. She was only out of my sight for short periods. With the combination of a lot of children plus the layout of the area I could not see her at all times. I wasn't not watching her. She loves the slide so was going up to use it, it was physically not possible for me to see her at all times when she went up there.

We went during half term because everything we usually do isn't on. I don't normally go to soft play, didn't realise it would be so busy.

IsitJustFantasy Thu 16-Feb-17 09:14:49

And she isn't interested in other children. That's one of the reasons we are going to get her assessed for ASD. God I feel utterly shit now. I didn't mean to let her down. It was only for a few seconds at a certain part of the upper level near the back, on the way to the slide. I suppose I should have been going in with her every time. Other parents weren't though, I didn't think it was what I was supposed to do.

thisagain Thu 16-Feb-17 09:20:12

There are some really horrible kids at soft plays. At that age I too once might have let my child out my sight but quickly realised never to do this! It didn't make them a target for bullies but in a soft play, any child who is not a bully themselves and is small and alone can be a target.

IsitJustFantasy Thu 16-Feb-17 09:30:12

Do you go in with them this again? Is that what I should have done?

IsitJustFantasy Thu 16-Feb-17 09:32:17

We should never have gone. I never go normally. I'm just running out of ideas of things to do with her.

Sunnie1984 Thu 16-Feb-17 09:34:51

I never went into soft play with mine. Even when they were younger than yours.

I just try to go in term time when it's quieter so that they can explore properly for themselves.

I worry about my 4 year old being too placid and open to bullying, as my two year old pushes her around now! I've just signed her up for karate. To try to build her confidence

StarUtopia Thu 16-Feb-17 09:38:48

Yes, you are supposed to go around the soft play with them. There are even signs to tell you this!

Although by reading this thread, apparently a lot of parents go for coffee and ignore the fact that their little darlings are terrorising other kids!

Never go with a preschooler in half term. Always during school hours. I have two preschoolers though and find soft play really difficult as it is virtually impossible to follow both of them as one goes off one way and one the other!

IsitJustFantasy Thu 16-Feb-17 09:53:59

I didn't see signs in mine saying parents should go in and I did actually look because I wasn't sure what to do when I first got there. Other parents weren't. I feel like maybe you don't believe me with the "apparently a lot of parents go for coffee..." comment. Yes that is what happened. There were tables full of adults sitting and talking and drinking coffee or whatever. Children were in the soft play and adults were at the tables. Only exception was the baby area.

IsitJustFantasy Thu 16-Feb-17 09:55:10

I had a table but spent most of my time standing right outside the play area.

noenergy Thu 16-Feb-17 09:59:51

Parents are not allowed into soft play area where I am.

I try to avoid holidays and weekends, it's my idea of hell, always end up with a blasting headache. And during term time I go at quietest times, lunchtime and early afternoon. I have a 2 and 3 year old.

laurzj82 Thu 16-Feb-17 10:04:31

IsIt I don't always go in with my DD 2.11 either and sit nearby where I can nearly always see her. I drink coffee. Must be a terrible parent too.

GlitteryFluff Thu 16-Feb-17 10:06:24

I have a DS who is 2 and a half and also suspected ASD.

We don't go to soft play at weekends or school holidays <are you mad?! grin>. Only normal week days in term time.

He has been pushed and shoved quite a few times, I'm usually there next to him and tell the other child off! Something like 'don't push, that's not very nice'.

When it's very quiet I'm not so on top of him, I'll watch him from around the outside and so he'll be out of my sight for short periods. But as I say if it's busy I'll be next to him to sort of defend him if needs be.

I don't think he's a target, he's very tall so doesn't look like an easy target, I think it's just kids being kids but not being supervised or told off of needs be!

If she's started pushing you then you need to be on top of her at soft play otherwise she'll soon become the pusher in the situation. Luckily DS hasn't started that yet but I know it'll come.

DixieNormas Thu 16-Feb-17 10:09:57

You don't go on with them at the one near me, its not big enough to have loads of adults on it.

Soft play can be awful, I think its very unlikely that she was being targeted though, there's lots of pushing, shoving , smacking to be seen. Especially when most parents are sat having coffee ignoring what's going on.

Ds4 has asd, he's abit older than your dd though at just turned 4. I don't think it makes him a target, other dc seem to realise he's different , especially those a little older than him.

I do have to helicopter him though, as he's likely to hit back if someone hit him

SheRaaarghPrincessOfPower Thu 16-Feb-17 10:12:31

I'd just avoid it in the holidays in future. You will find a lot of parents do just chuck their older kids in and sit down for a coffee. I've had to physically stop a kid beating mine round the head with a space hopper before, parents nowhere to be seen.

Just go on quiet mornings in term time, ours is usually fairly quiet early on

IsitJustFantasy Thu 16-Feb-17 10:14:40

Thank you all. Feel slightly less shit now. I won't go again in holidays, if I ever go again I'll make sure of that. She's not been hitting me today. She seemed to take it in when I told her it was bad last night so I'm hoping that was just a one off.

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