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Parenting

dealing with aggressive behaviour

11 replies

verona · 02/04/2003 14:24

Don't know if this is the correct place to post this but here goes.
I went to our local indoor soft play area yesterday with my 2 DSs and a couple of friends.
We'd only been there about 5 minutes and all the children (2yrs and younger) were sitting at a picnic bench having a snack when a little boy of about 3 came up behind DS (who's just turned 2) and shoved him. My DS turned round, looked upset but said 'hallo'. The other boy said 'I'm going to punch you' and walked off.
DS1 then went to play in the toddler area and I saw the other child follow him in and then slap and punch DS in the face. Admittedly it wasn't a very effective punch and DS just looked nonplussed.
The other child then came over to the picnic table and tried to push my other DS who's 10 months. I told him it was naughty to hit and to leave the children alone. His mum overheard and dragged him away. She had been standing near me and had seen everything her son had done.
This is not the first time my son has been 'picked on' at this place and was hoping for some advice on how to deal with it. Should I intervene or expect my son to deal with it?
Hasten to add that DS is no angel but I always intervene if I see trouble boiling. And he certainly doesn't punch other kids.
Sorry for rambling.

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Cha · 02/04/2003 15:26

I think you did exactly the right thing. If it is not acceptable for your son to do it, then it is not acceptable for anyone to do it to him. I would do what you did and tell the errant child that the reason we don't hit is because it HURTS and it upsets everyone -including me! Should be enough to waarn any child, that.

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bells2 · 02/04/2003 15:43

How upsetting for you and I am shocked the mother didn't intervene earlier. I certainly think you are within your rights to ask the child to leave yours alone, you're only defending them after all.

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Chinchilla · 02/04/2003 18:28

Verona - sorry to hijack your thread, but I was going to start a new one, and then I saw this. My ds and I went to his M & T group this morning. He has recently gone up from the baby room to the toddler one (he is 20 months, but was late walking). He was playing really nicely with a pushchair (no gender problems obviously!) and an older boy came up and tried to take it from him. Ds resisted, and I saw that it was likely to get nasty, so I intervened. I was gently trying to extract the other boy's hand from the toy, whilst explaining that ds had been playing with it. His mum came and ds started screaming. I looked at him and realised that this boy had bitten his hand really hard. I could see the teeth marks! His mum rushed him away, telling him off, but did not apologise to me or ds, in fact she almost gave me a dirty look. I don't think that she could have realised that her ds had bitten mine. By the time all this had happened, and I had comforted ds, it was too late to say anything to her, although I don't know what I would have said anyway!

How do all you mums react to situations like this? I realise that a lot of children bite, but how do you react to them if they hurt your child?

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Oakmaiden · 02/04/2003 19:34

I think it is important not to over-react to biting - yes it is not a nice thing to do, but to a child it is no different from pushing or hitting. In the case you give it was obviously too late for you to do anything, but had it not been then I would have been inclined to simply say "No, biting is not a nice thing to do, it hurts" and to remove both the bitten child and the squabbled over item from the vicinity of the biter, and make a big fuss of the child who has been bitten - leaving the biter with no real victory - they didn't get the toy, and aren't even getting the attention.
It is hard when it is someone elses kids - a friend of mine has observed at parties that the child who thumps other people is invariably the child whose parent is paying no attention to the situation at all.

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lou33 · 02/04/2003 19:44

My ds was about 2 1/2 when we were away, and out for the evening. From nowhere this boy about 4 ran up to ds knocked him over, grabbed him by the throat,sat on him and started punching him in the face. I was about 30 feet away, so I ran over hauled the little s**t off ds, then realised his mum was sitting right in front of where this was happening! She hadn't even bothered to get off her backside to stop it, and when I told her in very robust language what I thought, she said "alright alright calm down". She didn't think it was a problem at all that her son could behave like this. Unfortunately that type of parent is not a rarity.

Oh and she was more concerned that her son was crying because I had pulled him off mine.

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Batters · 02/04/2003 19:45

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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snickers · 02/04/2003 19:52

Another case of the hitters being the ones who are starved of attention? But regardless, it's still how to deal with the parents of those children who are mean. I worry that these same children will grow up to be the real nasty bullies in the playground (I was a bullied child at school - the most miserable two years of my life) But what CAN you do? I firstly would not allow the woman (or man) in question to intimidate you. You are protecting your childs interests - it's your JOB!!! Stuff the parents. I doubt she cuuld even go off and bitch about you to anyone else, cause sooner or later that child is going to pick on the child of the woman she's been bitching about - so stuff her for a start. The sadness is that it's the sensitive, passive souls in life who are easily picked on, but we would all rather this sort than the bullyboy (or girl). Hmmm. Just a few thoughts there - but not much help I'm afraid (and I really really AM afraid... DH wants to give DD to toungue so sharp she could cut a peer with words if she had to, because he never wants to see her bullied like I was. It's the way he dealt with things at school - cause he was never a tall boy, but rather than get fisty he could reduce even the school bully to tears with remarks. But I don't think that's right either (and can't help feeling that'll backfire on him one day too )

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WideWebWitch · 02/04/2003 20:26

Verona, IMO you should calmly intervene. If you speak quietly to the offender you can sometimes get away with a polite but firm bollocking (along the lines of please don't hit, it's not nice and you wouldn't like it if someone did it to you would you?) and if the parent doesn't hear it, well, they should have been nearer shouldn't they? I wouldn't expect your ds to deal with it himself at 2 yo. Chinchilla, totally agree with Oakmaiden's advice, give the bitten the attention and calmly tell the biter it's not on.

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SoupDragon · 02/04/2003 20:49

I use the line "don't hit/bite/scratch it's not nice. If you keep doing that, no one will play with you any more/won't be your friend" and say this whilst hugging my child (the victim).

Or, in the case of DS2 (2) at M&T group today, I say it to him and tell him to apologise to whoever he's pushed/hit with a toy.

Both said very calmly and in a quiet voice. Except for the initial loud "NO!" to DS2 when I'd seen what he'd done.

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Chinchilla · 02/04/2003 22:17

I'm always worried though that the mum of the 'nasty' child will have a go at me! Like I said, by the time I had realised that ds was actually hurt, the mum had intervened. Admittedly, she did tell him off, and she might have apologised if she had realised the full situation. I hate all the parent politics. You know, the 'How far can I go in intervening with another child, if they are being mean to mine?' Obviously, I want to protect ds, but then I also want him to be able to fight his corner (without violence obviously) without resorting to clinging to my skirt!

It's so hard. He was really hurt, but then was fine 10 minutes later, while I still wanted to give the mum an earful To top it all off, later on, back in the baby group, ds accidentally pushed another boy over. I thought that he had done it on purpose, as I had been talking to another mum and only keeping an eye on him. So, I ran over, shouting 'NO' at him, and apologising to the boy and his mum. She told me it was an accident, but I thought that she was just being nice, and carried on being stern with ds. He was all upset and trying to cuddle me. Then, it turned out that it HAD been an accident! How mean did I feel?? Poor ds, bitten and then told off. Time to fill in my application for the Bad Mothers' Club

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CAM · 03/04/2003 12:43

Good Mother's Club, Chinchilla. You care what other people think of your child, you care about your child's behaviour, that's a good mother.

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