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Toddler started attacking my toddler constantly

(9 Posts)
GLOBETROTTERHEAVEN Sun 16-Apr-17 22:21:09

DS and his friend are 2.2 years old, get on well and see each other several times a week, but for the past month his friend has started hitting and shoving my DS almost relentlessly, and sometimes quite violently.

I met the other child's mum when they were 8 weeks old and so so far the children have grown up together and we have met up 2-4 times a week at groups, the park, playdates, coffee etc. They have always played well alongside each other, often giving each other cuddles, like to 'trade' toys etc.

The change in the child is quite significant. A few months ago he hit the terrible twos head on (his mother's words, not mine) and in the past month he seems to have singled out my DS and is constantly hitting and shoving him quite violently, snatching his toys and having terrible hysterics etc. The hitting can be from slapping my DS anywhere on his body to repeatedly slapping his face with both hands at the same time. I even unwittingly caught one hitting episode on my camera so there is no doubt what is happening. The most frightening to date is when he tried to push my DS off the top of playground equipment – luckily he was saved by some chain-links, but if he had fallen it would have been a close to 6ft drop.

The other mum verbally tells him off, saying things like 'that's not nice to hit your friend. Say sorry.' The child ignores her, laughs and walks away. And that's it – no removing him from the situation, no mention of anything like 'no hitting etc' or anything else more strongly worded. If it were my child behaving like this I think I would be removing them from the situation, strongly enforcing no hitting etc, and using time out/time-in etc.

There is another mother who also joins us 1-2 times a week and she is clearly horrified at this child's change in behaviour judging by her facial expressions and that she makes comments too. However, this child very rarely attacks her child. I'm not sure if its because she's what I believe is termed a helicopter parent and never leaves her child's side, therefore perhaps this other child somehow realises this and leaves him alone.

I wondered if anyone else had ever experienced their child being singled out and constantly physically attacked and if so, what did you do about it, if anything? I also just don't understand why this has suddenly happened. As far as I know this child hasn't had any major changes in his life (i.e. new sibling/parents separating) and his speech is coming along very well.

My DS is quite a gentle and passive child (so far!) and he is definitely being affected by how he is being treated – he is no longer excited to see his friend, he has lost some confidence and is becoming very wary of other children and initially very clingy near them. This makes me angry, plus I don't want him picking up tips on this being the way to treat other people.

What can I do other than start to minimise contact between the children, hover more closely and try and intervene if it looks like the child is about to lash out? I'm reluctant to speak to the other mum about it as I don't want to jeopardise our friendship, and I'm hoping it's just a phase, but this situation can't continue as I must consider my own child's safety and wellbeing foremost.

Sorry this is so long, thanks for listening.

Chippednailvarnishing Sun 16-Apr-17 22:25:49

I don't think the other parent is a helicopter parent.

If you know the other child is prone to hitting your DS and the other child's DM isn't stopping it, why aren't you supervising more closely? It should never have got to this point.

ArtemisiaGentilleschi Sun 16-Apr-17 22:27:27

Toddlers don't play together naturally, they don't yet have any hardwired 'sharing' instinct, that has to be taught and picked up from social situations. If you watch toddlers 'together' they rarely are actually 'together', more like side by side, parallel playing.
Some kids are hitters and snatchers at that age, some are more passive. Parents of both just need to keep an eye on.what's happening.
If you can see the other child is about to thump, and the mother isn't doing anything, then you need to step in and move your child out of harm's way. If the other mother isn't reinforcing the 'no hitting' mantra, then I'd for her.

user1471558436 Sun 16-Apr-17 22:38:11

This was me and my child. In the end I told the mother that my DS is getting very upset about meeting up with her son and it's best we give the kids a break from each other and meet up in the evenings. We tried again after a three month break and it was much better. The boy was diagnosed with high functioning autism aged 9 and the boys are best friends these days. My son still has a scar on his cheek from the early days though.

user1471558436 Sun 16-Apr-17 22:41:09

Essentially you are letting your child be bullied. You are his advocate. You need to have clear boundaries and lead by example. Don't make him tolerate this crap. He is powerless.

EdenX Sun 16-Apr-17 22:43:44

What can I do other than start to minimise contact between the children, hover more closely and try and intervene if it looks like the child is about to lash out?
Yes, that's what you're supposed to do! Don't keep putting your ds in a position where he gets attacked all the time, its cruel.

user1471558436 Sun 16-Apr-17 22:44:05

Your perfectly entitled to tell the child to stop. And if she won't remove her child, I suggest you take your child off somewhere nice instead.

user1486956786 Mon 17-Apr-17 06:50:07

Could you say in passing comment 'as the boys are going through a rougher play phase I think we should keep them a bit closer' or something similar. Perhaps if she's aware you are aware of him being violent she may step up a bit more to deal with it?

NewView Mon 17-Apr-17 07:24:36

If she doesn't stop her child you have to. Unfortunately this often doesn't go down well and may result in the other child's mother falling out with you. It can't be helped- your duty is to protect your Ds.

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