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Toddler lying about being hit! What to do?(3 Posts)
I have namechanged for this as I am, honestly, somewhat embarrassed. No, take out the somewhat. Make that ‘very’.
Our daughter is almost 3. She sometimes loves to say that mummy and/or daddy are naughty; this is typically after we tell her off for something, or when she notices something she has learnt is inappropriate (e.g. mummy, your shirt is dirty! Naughty mummy, etc). She also does it with strangers; this can be embarrassing, at times, like when she told off a child on a special wheelchair, with some clear mental disability, for being loud and said: “Naughty boy! No shouting”. “No shouting” is something we tell her a lot, so I understand why she made the association.
However, yesterday she said that daddy was naughty. When we asked her why, she said: “because daddy slapped me”. We were both very puzzled because we have never, ever, ever laid a hand on her. We tried to probe her about when and how this allegedly happened, but she didn’t reply.
What would you do? Would you try to probe further? Would you worry? Would you ignore it?
I know that at this age they can mix reality and fantasy, and I know they struggle to distinguish between past and present. She would say things like grandma cooked for Peppa Pig and Peppa liked it, she would say that daddy took her to the playground when it fact it was mummy or viceversa, that she went to softplay when she went to the pool or viceversa, that she played with auntie when, in fact, she hasn’t seen auntie in months, etc. Sometimes I specifically probe her to see how she answers, and she often says things which are simply false (typically having just played with someone who she hasn’t seen in a while). All of this I get. But lying about being hit?
I am worried for a number of reasons. What if she starts saying this at the nursery? Or at playdates, etc? Will people think we hit her, when we have never ever ever laid a hand on her? Raised our voices, yes, gave punishments like no icecream, no Peppa Pig on the TV, etc, but never laid a hand on her.
I am also worried because I am not sure where she got that. We most certainly don’t go around slapping each other in our family or circle of friends, and, AFAIK, she has never seen anyone slapping anyone.
Maybe she saw it in some kind of animated film? It’s quite possible that in some of the Disney films she loves watching a princess slaps someone, or something along these lines.
Now that I think of it, I did tap her on her hand a few times (and told her off, explaining why), typically when she tried to get some object we said she shouldn’t, but it was just a tap, with literally the same force you apply when tapping a smartphone screen – and the last time must have been more than 6 months ago. Could it be that?
I most certainly hope that she hasn’t seen this at the nursery; she doesn’t seem stressed nor nervous about going to the nursery, so I strongly hope that’s not the case. To be clear, we have no reason whatsoever to suspect nursery teachers are slapping children.
I would probably probe her a little more, children have amazing imagination and often don't realise the precautions they have.
My auntie's son once told his school mummy pushed him down the stairs which led to the social services being called which in that situation is the right thing to do, however after realising how serious it was he revealed he was just talking about a scenario game he made up with his toys. Children don't understand, so maybe try gettting her to speak and realising a little more hitting is wrong. I'd try to avoid words like naughty and even bad sometimes. I'd try emphasis on words such as 'hitting makes people very sad so we shouldn't do that' or lying can make people sad' etc etc. Try and get information on where she even got that scene into her head. I wouldn't be surprised if it was a Disney film, many have 'baddies' and villains in and many seen with weapons and fighting so it's probably came from there. We don't realise how smart children actually are! Good luck 💙
My eldest DD once fell over and grazed her knee badly. This happened during a lovely day out where we were all having fun and for some reason told everyone that asked her how she did it "Daddy pushed me over on purpose". We pre warned nursery the next day and thankfully they believed us.
She has also shouted very loudly in a supermarket "mummy you always hurt me, why are you always hurting me?" We had a serious chat about telling tales and that it might get mummy and daddy into trouble and it stopped.
My youngest is now diving like a premier league footballer whenever she feels she is getting into trouble and shouting that we have hurt her she's a bit young to understand the repercussions of telling tales so I'm not sure what to do really other than not react too much as she's obviously doing it for attention.
I don't really have much advice but just wanted to let you know you are not alone in this!
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