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Pint-sized baby group bully

(14 Posts)
Cocobear Wed 12-Sep-07 16:35:05

What to do about tiny bullies? I attend a parent-and-baby/toddler group once a week, and enjoy it, but one of the kids is out of control. She's just over a year old and extremely aggressive. Last week she had a six-month-old in a choke hold, this week she walked up to my three-month-old and whacked her in the face for no apparent reason. I'm used to scuffles over toys (this is my second child) and general self-centred pushing, the 'biting phase' etc, but this little one is actively seeking to hurt other kids. Which I didn't even know they could do at this young age.

The mother is pretty ineffective, and doesn't police her LO. Today the little girl picked up a mug of hot tea and wandered across the room with it before her mother noticed. (Should add she is an older - roughly 60 years - adoptive mum, so maybe wasn't ready for such a challenging LO.)

So, what's a mummy to do? I'm not only worried about stopping the LO getting hurt or hurting others, but also wondering if anyone has had any success with dealing with an unusually aggressive child. I think her mother could use some helpful advice. I'd try to pass it on, as tactfully as possible.

SittingBull Wed 12-Sep-07 16:38:51

Message withdrawn

SittingBull Wed 12-Sep-07 16:41:47

Message withdrawn

NAB3 Wed 12-Sep-07 16:43:08

She must have got a reaction the first time she did somethin glike this, and she has carried on. She can't possibly know that it will hurt.
As for her mother, I would expect her to have more experience if she is older and possibly has older children. However you say it, people don't always take kindly to a stranger criticising their child's behaviour.

lemonaid Wed 12-Sep-07 16:53:19

By the sound of things, the child isn't actually aggressive or a bully, she just hasn't had the reinforcement from her parents that this behaviour is something she shouldn't do. At that age she isn't really aware of other people as separate individuals, or that what she is doing hurts them -- it's just something that gets her what she wants and causes an intriguing reaction.

Mind you, if she never gets any appropriate parenting from her mother she's not likely to learn that it's wrong and may well wind up as an aggressive bully.

You could try some reinforcement yourself "No hitting, it hurts... use gentle hands... like this... Oh, well done! Now you're being very gentle! Look [child's mother], isn't [child] playing nicely and being gentle?" and hope the mother picks up on it.

bossykate Wed 12-Sep-07 16:55:57

she's only 1. you can say a gentle no, but shouldn't expect it to be heeded. if the mother doesn't remove her child, you should remove yours.

LoveAngel Wed 12-Sep-07 19:34:12

agree with Sitting Bull.

Kog Wed 12-Sep-07 19:53:44

Oh dear. My little girl (15 mths) is going through rather an aggressive stage. She pushes over other children, clonks them on the head, throws sand (or anything) at them and bashes them with toys.
I'm doing my very best to praise the positive and gently steer her in the right direction, and I don't want to get cross or give her too much of a (brilliant, hillarious, mummy is cross I think I'll do THAT again) reaction, but I can tell my friends are getting fed up.

I shall be glued to this thread in the hope of picking up some useful tips.

startouchedtrinity Wed 12-Sep-07 20:03:57

I agree this isn't 'bullying', it's just her way of behaving at this age. I've learned that you can't rely on other people to be aware of how their toddlers are with little babies and always watched mine like a hawk.

How pro-active is the person running the group? Our village group is run by someone who also teaches pre-school and she will have a gentle word with a mum who is unaware or struggling.

A pet hate of mine is tea at M&T groups left where dcs can reach it (my dd2 put her hand in a mug once) and I think you could legitimately ask whoever is running the group to ensure all mugs are out of reach.

Cocobear Wed 12-Sep-07 20:47:00

Kog - yes, that's exactly the sort of thing, and worse, there's some serious stuff going on - punching, whacking, smacking, kicking, screaming, slapping kind of stuff. Its not the mother's fault at all (it's a bit of an unexpected adoption from an orphanage in Africa - long story - but certainly we don't what the LO has experienced), but the poor kid's just running rampage and mum really doesn't know what to do. So at the moment she's doing nothing at all, drinking tea in a distant corner and studiously ignoring the situation. I suspect she's a bit overwhelmed.

Lemonaid/Sittingbull - Will try the gentle redirection tack. Thus far everyone's just been holding their LO's on their laps, scared to put them down! I actually had DD on my lap when she got it in the face. She's a quick 'un, I'll give her that!

Bluestocking Wed 12-Sep-07 21:13:55

Cocobear, your last post partially answered the question in my mind, which was about what this child might have experienced before she was adopted. There are lots of people on this site with experience of adoption who could probably advise. I wonder if the child might need some really concrete intervention along the lines of therapy? In addition, it may be that the new mother is completely out of her depth - is this her first child, adoptive or otherwise?

startouchedtrinity Wed 12-Sep-07 21:40:04

Is the M&T group part of Sure Start?

Perhaps you could give the mum a parenting book, if you have one, saying, 'I'm having a clear out, would you like this?' or similar.

Cocobear Wed 12-Sep-07 22:19:15

Bluestocking - Yes, this is what I fear, that this could be a really serious problem. Thanks for tip on adoption threads, will look.

The mother has a daughter, now in her 30s. It's not that she's never been a parent, but this situation is very different.

Startouched - it's not Sure Start, but the book idea is nonetheless a good one.

The mum mentioned that she had smacked the child to correct the behaviour. That just seems the completely wrong way to go, especially given what the LO may have been through already. And surely using aggression on an aggressive child will only make things worse?

LaBoheme Thu 13-Sep-07 14:31:45

Oh Gosh she should not be smaking the poor little girl - no wonder she is playing up, that puts a bit of a different spin on things sad

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