>Aggression from Other Children

>Dear Dr. Rene,
Recently I asked my husband’s best friend’s 3 1/2 year old daughter to stop pushing our 1 1/2 year old daughter, her mother got upset. Her response was that the children have to learn to resolve the matter themselves. Is it okay to discipline your friend’s children if the parents don’t react to their kids aggressive behaviors towards your own child?
Sincerely,
Katya, Mother of One

Dear Katya,
You did the first thing I would suggest. If another child is aggressive towards your child and the parent is present, I would ask them for their help. When you do this be sure to avoid blame language. Stay away from saying things like “Your child is being bad,” or “Don’t you teach him any better?” If there is blame in your language the other parent is less likely to listen or help. Instead blame yourself or the situation. Say something like, “I am at a bit of a loss here, could you help?” or “I’m not sure how to best handle this, have you dealt with this before?” You will find some parents are readily helpful. Others, like your friend, aren’t so helpful.

If the other parent isn’t around or not helpful, I think you are always within reason to speak for your own. This means to address the situation by speaking for your own child rather than disciplining the other. You might say, “Ouch, that hurt her! I can’t let her get hurt.” or “She wasn’t finished with her turn. She’d like that back.” Here, you are modeling the language you want your child to be using in the future. It would be good for her to say, “Ouch, that hurt! Stop it.” or “I wasn’t done with that. I’d like it back.” You are erring on the side of speaking for your own without disciplining the other.

I do understand your friend’s idea that children need to learn to work it out on their own abd you want to give them some space to develop social skills BUT when they start hurting each other they are stating very clearly that they don’t yet have the social skills necessary to work this out. When it starts to go poorly it is still up to parents and teachers to step in a teach the needed social skills, to guide the children through the problem solving process. For sure this is the case at 1 and 3 years old and continues to be the case as children continue to struggle.
Sincerely,
Dr. Rene
www.parentingplaygroups.com
submit questions to blog@parentingplaygroups.com

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: