Monday, March 30, 2009

Kids who hit

Just because we are discussing this on our local list, I thought I would mention it here...

I've never struggled with a toddler/pre-schooler hitting a baby...but I do have a toddler who likes to push younger babies over sometimes. Not all the time, but more than once- and that is enough.

If I hadn't had Tombliboo, I probably woudl have supposed there was something odd about the I can see there is very little I can do about this fact...except try to prevent it.

Since I don't really know *why* Tombliboo likes to push people over (I have a wee suspicion that newly-walking babies look a bit like skittles, and possibly he is thinking it would be fun to watch the baby topple?) I just have to keep close lest the desire strike.

I have noticed that preceding any episode, there is nearly always a bit of a cry for help...this is usually in the form of actually saying, "I want to go home."

This is him letting me know he has had enough, there is too much stimulation for his brain, or he is tired, or hungry, or just wants to be in his own space (where people love him best of all).

If I am too slow, and Tombliboo does hurt someone...I apologise to the parent, and then get down at eye-level with the child who is hurt, and apologise on Tombliboo's behalf.

By this time Tombliboo is probably bawling- he knows something is not right, I'm not certain really if he has gleaned that he has caused it.

After I have done as much as I can (I think?), I snuggle Tombliboo and tell him, "You hurt the baby- you made him cry. He didn't like being pushed over, and now he is sad- I hope he feels better soon." I might invite him to come and see if the baby is OK. I might suggest saying "sorry", but I don't push that- there is o point. Children, like adults, say "sorry" when they feel sorry.

Sometimes people feel so terrible about what they have done, but so confused or even angry about the consequences, they are simply not ready to say "sorry" right away.

Tombliboo, who is not a bully, has been pushed and shoved a few times himself. It is so uncomfortable watching a mother try to force a child to say "sorry". It's worse when they don't do anything, of course, but I can tell when a child is genuinely sorry, and it has nothing to do with saying a word.

Anyway, I'm rambling. This link is wonderful for ideas about children hurting other children. It's aimed primarily at those with siblings, but it is really about any child relating to any other.


Cally said...

Boy, have I ever had some arguments over this one! I hated that my mother never apologized for anything ever (my sister confirms that memory) to us, but she always insisted on us apologizing for things that we weren't sorry for, and even for things we weren't responsible for sometimes - it was all about appearances. I didn't make my kids say sorry. I didn't insist on them offering false respect either - as in people who insisted on my kids calling them 'Mrs' while at the same time insisting their kids called me 'Mrs' (I'd rather be called Cally, but can put up with MS Brown, but some h/sers refused to allow their children to be 'disrespectful' even by calling me Ms as requested??!!) But that's another issue.

I think you have got it just right - ensuring the hurt child is offered care and respect, ensuring T understands what has happened - but ensuring he knows he is still loved. That last is so essential, yet so often not done.

Shell (in NZ) said...

I've only had one friend that insisted her kids call me Mrs...yuck.

I hope I conveyed that we do show Tombliboo he is very loved :0)

I also thought, I should dd that I said the why/reason a child hits is not important because it is not important to the child who is hurt. That's my point...if my child is hurting another, it's my job to stop it, to try my level best to prevent it happening.

Yes, I can analyse the why's and wherefores, and read a million books or whatever...but my main responsibility today is to make sure he doesn't hurt someone else.

This means watching him obviously, staying close...not getting too distracted by interesting chat (lol), and also recognising when he really needs some space *before* he explodes.

Kiwi_Mama said...

I'm curious do you ever tell him not to hit or push as the case may be.

Baby R is very good at hitting us when he is frustrated so we gently hold his hand and say "Ow, that hurt don't hit me please." He doesn't seem to click yet though. I am hesitant to use the word NO too often but can't think of a better alternative for this at the moment.

Shell (in NZ) said...

***I'm curious do you ever tell him not to hit or push as the case may be. ***

Definitely, every time. We don;t say "no", just more like what you do, or we say "Hands are for holding", or "Please don't hit Princess- it hurts, and it's not nice", etc.

Sometimes he will hit the big kids, and while they don't deserve to be hit- they do bug him too long on occasion.

Sometimes, though, he will hit them just for the fun of it (it seems).