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Help - friend's child scratching mine

(18 Posts)
LOOPA7 Mon 31-Jan-05 23:17:52

Hi, I have a 20 mth son. Am part of a good group of friends with kids of the same age, get together regularly. Last 2 occasions one other boy has badly scratched my boy across the face. This last time he had several scratches around the eye and it was swollen slightly the following day. Am quite upset by this and by her reaction as she was very causal about it (I would be mortified) and clearly not trying to nip it in the bud. Don't want to be the over-protective snotty Mum but should I say something to her or just chalk it up to experience? Feel uneasy about meeting up again and don't want to spend my whole time watching my son when it should be her issue.
Any comments/advice warmly received - the more honest the better.

acer Mon 31-Jan-05 23:23:16

God difficult one, either do not meet up when they are going to be there or SAY SOMETHING, not being nasty, but I bet if it happened to her child she would make a hell of a fuss!

JPM Mon 31-Jan-05 23:23:40

Do you have the kind of friendship with her that you feel you could speak to her son direct if he does it again. Just on the lines of "Oh, that's not very nice Burt (for instance) you'll scratch (your son's) face". The other mother then may step in and add to your reprimand. I had this problem with my best friend and her son who is, if we can be honest here, a pain in the arse and very "bull in a China shop". My son would run away from him all the time as he would just push him over and hit him. I initially said nothing and waited for his mum to say something (which she didn't much) so in the end I took the initiative as above and lo and behold my friend must have noticed how I was feeling and started telling her son off. Things have slowly improved (although she now spends most of our time together telling her son off!!!) but at least my son is now not being injured.

Fran1 Mon 31-Jan-05 23:27:29

I have been on both ends of this.

Dd can sometimes be a bit of a "bully" to younger children, but she gets her comeupance from older children we know!!

All i can say in defence of the other Mother is it is very difficult and embarrassing to deal with, esp. in large group of people. Sometimes i feel like my dd is a bully and all the others are little angels and that everyone is tutting behind my back at my parenting skills ( i know this isn't true, but at the time you can feel like that).

I always make dd apologise and give her a bit of an explanation as to why she shouldn't do it, and then keep by her side to ensure it doesn't happen again.

When she is on the receiving end i feel i have more sympathy for the parents, and i say don't worry, shes been the same to others, so that they don't feel embarrassed.

If parents don't actually witness the incident i have in the past, told the child that its not a very nice thing to do and then made a point of something we can all play with together nicely.

It is upsetting when your little one gets hurt, but i would put it down to experience, i'm sure your son will have a patch where he does something similar, or snatching toys etc

If it continues happening of course you would be upset, but for now i'd hope your next meeting is less eventful!

Gwenick Mon 31-Jan-05 23:27:54

I'm say someting, I know it'll be hard, but in my personal experience times like that are good for finding out whether they really ARE friends, or whether they've become friends because they have children the same age.

There were 7 of us used to meet up from our Post Natal group when I had DS1 - each week we'd go to a different house - all TOTALLY different backgrounds, interest etc etc - it was only really the kids the same age we had in common.

Anyhow, I had a very similar incident to yours and I decided to speak to the mother - she was great about it, didn't realise blah blah blah, and did make some sort of effort to stop her son doing it again. However, it turned out some of the others in the group reacted VERY differently and I ended up being exlcluded from stuff they did. Eventually I pretty much stopped going to see them and started attending a local toddler group.........where I found friends I had things in common with - still stay in contact with the women in quesiton and we're still great friends - but the others I couldn't care less aboyut

acer Mon 31-Jan-05 23:29:45

My children never went through stages of scratching or hurting other children, it's unacceptable, say something.

Fran1 Mon 31-Jan-05 23:35:26

I'm sorry but just because your children didn't do it does not mean its unacceptable acer!!

I have worked for 10 yrs with children and every child has a way of fighting for attention or expressing themselves before they have the language they need to say what they want.

Some children may throw toys, snatch toys, have a tantrum, screech in a high pitched voice etc etc and unfortunately many children hurt or scratch other children.

This is not down to parenting, this is natural instincts for a child who cannot say what they want to say, or doesn't understand a situation.

The important point is that the parents begin to control the situation before it spirals out of control, ensuring that their child learns why it is a horrible thing to do and encourages them to communicate in other ways.

acer Mon 31-Jan-05 23:38:07

sorry, i don't understand, I have worked with children for the past 15 years and have two of my own, I am not blaming the parents for anything, i am simply saying that it is unacceptable behaviour, yes mine have retaliated, but they have never, to my knowledge, deliberately hurt another child for no reason.

Fran1 Mon 31-Jan-05 23:43:42

I had assumed the scratch was in retaliation.

My dd used to try and hit other children if she wanted their toy or if they took a toy from her (not all the time just when she was extra tired etc)

And what i mean is that without the language to ask for the toy, or to tell me she wanted the toy, she used physical force. Now at 2 yrs she has the language and more understanding to not do it.

But you must have come accross children far worse than that in nurseries? I certainly did, lots of children seemed to have a short period where they would use physical force, until we taught them other methods of communication.

acer Mon 31-Jan-05 23:51:58

Totally agree, I have come across some right ones in nurserys and as a nanny, but they were always the ones I had the most time for, mine have never hit to get a toy back, they have tried to take it back (as in snatch), and they have never hit other children when tired (they have hit me though!) But if a two yr old does hit then it can be forgiven, because as you said they have no other way to communicate, but if it keeps on happening, as with LOOPA7, then I think something should be said. If one of mine says something or does something to upset another then I won't ignore it. I will sort it out.

Fran1 Tue 01-Feb-05 00:06:18

OK sorry we are on the same wave length then!

Just goes to show how diffently these messages can be interpreted.

Cos when i read Loopa7's message i assumed this other child was retaliating.

I just have sympathy for Mothers of children who do this because i know how cringeworthy it can be when it happens, and appreciate how you may not deal with it appropriately when embarrassed.

I always made dd apologise and i'd apologise to the parent, but realise that a shy parent may not manage this.

acer Tue 01-Feb-05 00:10:39

In my experience the child's parent isn't always shy, one I know off, thought that a child that cried when hurt by her child, was just making a fuss! (even though they had been biten or scratched on the face). It certainly isn't ALWAYS the parents fault, but if they do nothing about it then how is the child ever to learn?

jabberwocky Tue 01-Feb-05 00:18:02

We had a similar situation. I talked to the mother, she expressed that she didn't think it was a big deal, so I told her that I didn't feel comfortable with my ds playing with hers until he was past that stage. She got rather miffed about it, but we are still friends - and I still don't let ds play with hers as he is just way too aggressive.

vess Tue 01-Feb-05 06:50:54

Just one practical point - if their nails are properly cut, they shouldn't be able to scratch! (at least not too badly). Maybe you could suggest that to the mother, LOOPA7 - so as to avoid making comments about the other child's behaviour and making them feel defensive.
I know when your child is hurt, it never seems like the other parent is doing enough (though in many cases they are not). But everyone has a different style of parenting and you can't tell people what to do with their children - all you can do is making reasonable suggestions.
I wouldn't personally stop seing someone because of something like that - that would be a bit too much, I mean - they are not even two yet, they can't control themselves.
Personally, even though I wouldn't tolerate bad behaviour from ds, I've always thought that overprotection is not doing the child any favours in the long run.
What I'd do if ds did that to anoher child at that age: make him face the wall or away from the group for 10-20 seconds (a very brief time-out) - that usually did the trick with him.
What I'd do if someone does that to him: comfort him, show him something else to play with away from the conflict situation. If I saw it while it was happening, I'd probably try to separate them gently and offer something new/exciting to play with. It involves a bit more effort but is worth it!

vess Tue 01-Feb-05 08:08:29

Hi again, sorry - just thought what a stupid suggestion I just made - I don't think anybody will be too pleased if you told them to cut their child's nails - not much more than if you told them to keep him under control anyway.
So ignore that please - can't believe I wrote something so stupid!
Real suggestion: If you don't feel like confronting the mum, why don't you do something pro-active and sit down with the children when you see her son is about to do something like that - and engage them in some sort of play, or talk to them, or show them something interesting - so you can show them how much more fun things are when there's no fighting. I'm sure the mum would appreciate - or maybe even realise she should do something - or at least wouldn't mind; it would be good for both kids, and will most likely make you feel much better and in control of things rather than waiting for someone else to do something. In fact, it might make you feel such a GOOD PERSON, especially in comparison with the other mum, and without humiliating her - so everyone wins.
That might be a bit too optimistic, but something along these lines?
By the way, kids bite/scratch/hit when they are frustrated, so it's always good to help them if you can!

Jimjams Tue 01-Feb-05 11:17:51

vess - I've been asked to cut ds1's nails on numerous occasions. We had a lot of scratching at his last school (of adults thankfully). I was a bit resigned because it was so impossible to cut his nails (had to try when he was asleep) but I wasn't really offended.

however the scratching was happening and continuing and escalating as the school were dealing with it so inapporpriately. I tried to tell them ( that went down well!- and in the end wrote out a behaviour plan for them but it never got under control). Since changiing schools there's been one incident, a strategy has been set up to dela with it (immediately) and it hasn't happened again (but then this school know what they are doing).

LOOPA7 Tue 01-Feb-05 21:15:38

Thanks for all the comments and advice this is the first time I have used the chatboard and its great.
The scratching is not in retaliation and this boy seems to take a particular shine to my son and wants his attention. He is quite a robust type of child and mine is a bit wimpy it has to be said. No-one is a perfect parent and I don't want to comment on her parenting skills - that's a hiding to nothing, but just want her to keep a closer eye on him.
Based on your comments I think I will say something as I do think it is unacceptable but not uncommon behaviour but be very lowkey and see how it goes (am consious of creating "sides" in the group as someone mentioned too).
The comment about finding out whether you are really friends or just friendly because of kids is interesting, of all the group she is the one I would be least likely to see without kids.
Anyway thanks for the advice, very helpful and made me feel much better.

vess Wed 02-Feb-05 07:25:08

On the nail thing - I don't know, if I suggest to somebody to cut their child's nails, they might think I think they are not looking after the child properly...that sort of thing.
But the thing is, if you keep their nails cut, they'll never get the idea that they can use them as a weapon...
I just hate long nails on kids - I'll always be the first person to get scratched if ds's nails are not cut...plus all the horrible things he get under his nails, and you can never wash it off...

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