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At what age do you think children know what they`Re doing, when they hurt another child?

(3 Posts)
Sakura Thu 13-Sep-07 01:41:06

The other thread got me thinking and I was just wondering what your thoughts were on this. I hear a lot that young children don`t know what they`Re doing when they hurt another child. That they don`t have the cognitive ability to understand that they can cause another pain, and that they are just a baby themselves. But what if your instincts just feel that the child has done something on purpose? I don`T quite know how to explain what I mean, but one example is that I have a good friend whose daughter has just turned two. She`S always been a bit rough around my daughter (who`s one this week). I brushed it aside but another mother mentioned to me in passing at the playgroup that this little girl seemed to be trying to hurt my DD i.e `accidentally` throwing things in her direction etc. I once saw the little girl take a glance around to check her mother wasn`t looking before stamping on my daughter`s hand.
Usually I just remove my daughter and distract her with a toy. Two days ago I did actually shout (not loudly!) the girl`s name before she tried to `fall` on my DD i.e to collapse on top of her with all her weight.
I know its a sibling rivalry kind of thing because I spend a lot of time with her mum, and I know its her age, but I do get the feeling that she`s intentionally trying to hurt my DD.
So, I suppose I`m just wondering, what do you think. If she`s not doing it intentionally, how to explain the sneakiness when she`S about to hurt DD?

amIgoodenough Thu 13-Sep-07 01:53:05

to a two year old the consequence of this behaviour is that they get a reaction from the child they hurt and from adults as well, so it is purposeful in that they want to get a reaction but they don't necessarily have the ability to see how the other child feels as a result so they are not purposefully hurting the child if you see what I mean.

mamama Thu 13-Sep-07 02:30:36

I think some 2 yr olds do know that they are hurting someone. They continue the behaviour because they get a reaction but I really believe that they do know it isn't nice and that it hurts and for some reason, they take great delight in hurting someone.

I find it hard to watch a 2 yr old deliberately inflict pain on someone else. I try to reason "he doesn't understand" etc but I honestly think that in my case, the 2 year old knows exactly what he is doing - he is very calculating and sneaky about it.

I think it is also a sibling rivalry kind of thing, I know it is a phase and that it will stop but still, it's not a pleasant thing to see...

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