Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Mrs Accident Seeks Your Advice

I was going to call this "Mrs Accident Takes Your Advice" but, quite honestly you could advise me anything, and I don't want to be beholden to take it...

Now, down to business.

I have a good friend who has a not-so-good son. Don't get me wrong, he's gorgeous, but he's got Naughty Habits. This is not too serious, he's only (well, let's say between one and three, shall we? That should be vague enough... I'm not talking about YOUR kid, I promise!)

But it's still causing issues for me. When I saw him this week he slapped me clean across the face, hard. He occasionally tries to do the same to my girls, but they have learnt to keep a safe distance (about six feet). I am clearly not as wise as my daughters, and wandered into striking distance. Then.... *whack!*

Now, I'm all for "it takes a village to raise a child", but I also don't want to enforce my village's standards on someone else's child. I don't feel comfortable disciplining this particular lady's kid, probably because she is pretty lax on him herself and I don't want to be seen as a heinous fire breathing dragon. (Again, random friend, if you are reading this, NOT YOUR KID, I promise!)

So what do I do? I assume she knows he's a hitter (hell, blind Freddie knows he's a hitter - he got slapped last Tuesday). Would bringing it up just be restating the obvious? I don't want to offend her by making a huge issue out of her son putting out more hits than the Beatles. (More whacks than the New York Mafia? Being a bigger slapper than Marilee from Dallas? Stop me, please, I'm mal-pun-tioning...)

So, dear reader, what should I do? Advice, please!

23 comments:

  1. Why are we all so afraid of expressing our opinions? One blessing in getting older is that one doesn't care so much what people think! Would it be possible to say to the monster's mother, that hitting is NOT allowed in your home and you hope that visitors will behave the same way - your house, your rules.... Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  2. If someone's child slapped me I'd do two things. One slap him back - hard. I figure if you dish it out then you also have to take it and I don't care how old or young they are. The other thing I'd do it complain to the mother. I know she is a good friend but honestly - a child slapping anyone is not acceptable anywhere whether it's in your home or hers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree that "a child slapping anyone is not acceptable anywhere" but I would happily expand that to "ANYONE slapping anyone is not acceptable anywhere."
      There is absolutely no way I'm slapping any kid. Ever. Wouldn't that, besides being abuse, completely obliterate any moral high ground I have as the slappee?

      Delete
  3. My mother gave me a piece of good advice - don't fight over children. If his mother is a good friend and you would like to keep it that way I'd ask her how she handles it. If this leads to nowhere, explain that this behaviour is not acceptable at your house and ask her if it is possible for you to handle him when he comes to your place. Organise a timeout space and take him to it for about 2-3 minutes. Young children can't handle this for too long but he needs to know that there are consequences for his actions. Maybe you could explain how you deal with discipline in your house and that he would be expected to comply when he visits to be fair to your children. His mother may well be at odds as to how to handle him and may welcome your input. She is probably hoping he'll grow out of it. My thoughts are this child needs to learn that whacking people for the hell of it is not acceptable. If your friend is not sympathetic to your concerns, then it's kind of sad, isn't it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now this is exceptional advice! You mum is wise, and you clearly take after her.
      Thanks anon (if that is you're real name...)

      Delete
  4. One of my little boys friends was a biter. She would bite the other kids at mother's group and eventually no one wanted to play with her or catch up with her Mother for coffee. I felt badly for her Mother. She didn't know what to do with her and tried all sorts of things. Thankfully it was a phase and she grew out of it in time. We just had to be super watchful. If she did bite him and I was closer to them than her mother, I would get down on her level and tell her teeth are for eating and smiling not biting people and that she had hurt him. Her mother never took offence, as far as I know, as we still catch up now and the kids play together really well. Hopefully it is just a phase, but you're allowed to protect your children and yourself. Don't be afraid to say something. Good luck.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I agree with all above comments your house your rules and if she can't respect that and teach her child some manners especially in someone else's house then she's not much of a friend and your allowing him to set a bad example for your girls. You need to speak up before he gets one of your girls. Good luck it's a hard one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's what I'm most worried about - a bad example to my girls. Bug is so impressionable!

      Delete
  6. Unless you are really good friends with the mother don't broach it with her, just ease out of the friendship. Also children of that age CRAVE attention, any attention, whether it be positive or negative, so my advise would be to just ignore him (as hard as that will be) You and I know it's bad behaviour, all a 2 year old knows is it gets him lots of attention. That's not condoning it, it's just staying out of it. The parents have big issues if they allow such behaviour, and I'm not sure I'd want to know that sort of person.

    ReplyDelete
  7. It's not parenting someone else's child to tell them that YOU don't like being hit and that you expect it won't happen again. Hopefully keeping it to your personal preference instead of what is right and wrong in general will keep it from being uncomfortable.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a very good point, thanks Annie :)
      Xox

      Delete
  8. Monkey see, Monkey do....someone is hitting that child...or,....someone is not giving that child attention and the kid is getting attention from doing it. Any attention is good, whether its being told off, or being spoken to kindly....strange but true for kids...
    I would not be putting myself in the company of the child. If it is happening at your home, then you have EVERY RIGHT TO STOP THE CHILD WITH YOU HAND AND SAY LOUDLY, "NO"..."Hitting is not on"....Little m was bitten hard, very hard, broke skin hard on the cheek at kindergym, and a mother had the nerve to tell me it is a stage that children go through. Well, I am sorry, but I have three children, I have done the ages and stages three times over and NONE of my children have bitten ANYTHING BUT FOOD...or hit for that matter. As for the mother, if it happens again to you or anyone, you need to go straight to the mother and tell her that her child has just slapped such and such....and that behaviour is not welcome here. A child will not learn if it is not told that this behaviour is not on. This makes me so cross....I also use the ignoring behaviour that is not acceptable too, but if the child is slapping then that can be hard.
    Good luck...if it means not going to be around this child, then I would probably choose that option.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My kids aren't biters or hitters either. They're not even real yellers. I'm terrified this kid will rub off!

      The hardest bit is often the mother is right there when it happens, and she will speak to him, but it has no effect - he just goes back for seconds. I'm pretty sure it's an attention issue (actually, I'd guarantee it, considering their current family situation.)

      Delete
    2. Quote; "Well, I am sorry, but I have three children, I have done the ages and stages three times over and NONE of my children have bitten ANYTHING BUT FOOD...or hit for that matter"

      Well clearly it is my fault my child has bitten twice. He also pushes. Clearly I am a terrible mother and only you can save me here. I'll send my son to you for some lessons. Please have him toilet trained by the time I come to pick him up too, given you are so experienced.

      Judgemental superior rubbish like this is offensive. I enjoy this blog until I read comments like this :(

      Mrs Accidental, I think the child needs to see that he has hurt the "hurtee", and sure, his mum should step in but I think you should do the same thing you have taught your girls - stop, that hurts me etc. His mum should be disappointed in his behaviour which would back up what the "hurtee" has said. As the mother of an offender, I wouldn't be offended if you said to me what was said above - approaching me to ask how I handle the situation. Open up lines of communication and if she doesn't seem sure you can suggest what you've heard works from others. I just have to helicopter when my son is with other children, and thankfully, most parents are very understanding when he does go in for a push. Mostly because their child also went through a pushing, or hitting stage! I'm always close enough that he doesn't hurt anyone now, but I can understand how stressful it would be for you. I hope you can be open, understanding and honest with your communication about this with your friend.

      Delete
    3. Anon, I doubt anyone reckons you are a terrible mother. Clearly you are being proactive about your son's biting and hitting, and you are trying to teach him it's not acceptable. That's all anyone can expect or do.

      But I can understand Enchanted being upset that someone bit her baby's face so hard it drew blood - I would be upset too. And I would be doubly, hell, TRIPLY upset if the child's mother passed it off as a "phase". What a cop out. How about an apology and a quiet word to the kid, instead?

      Besides, in your sons case, two bites does not a biter make... you should see the corker Peanut gave Bug on her thigh one day, but I don't count her as a biter. ;)

      Delete
  9. Tricky, Mrs A. I have a real problem with people disciplining kids when the parents are right there in the room - it's the parents' job, right? When the parent doesn't then take the initiative, I'm totally lost, as the idea of condoning my own child doing something like that is totally foreign to me.

    I liked the third commenter's advice: "...don't fight over children. If his mother is a good friend and you would like to keep it that way I'd ask her how she handles it." I wonder where that conversation would lead - it could really open up the issue in a mature fashion.

    My personality would find it hard hanging out with this mother if she's pretty lax on her son's behaviour - I'd probably avoid contact myself, but again, I'm not sure how close you two are.

    Let us know how you go. There's such a range of views and approaches in these comments, and I'm sure we'd all be interested to see what approach suits you best, and how it works out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We're close :( I reckon the third commenter has it spot on too - the friendship is worth holding on to through the toddler stage of the kids lives, so I'll just ride it out. But I am finding it hard to hang out with her!

      I reckon I'll have a chat with the mum next time it happens (al la #3) then see how that goes. If my girls try anything on that I don't approve of, their tiny world's end (no hitting, no yelling, but I am the champion of the guilt trip) and this works for us - they are single time offenders on everything thus far. I wouldn't feel comfy putting this on someone else's kid though, especially if the mum was there and should be doing it herself!

      Delete
  10. Your first responsibility is to protect your children. Period. Until the Slapper is taught not to hurt others keep your little ones away - tell the mom why (be nice, but tell the truth) if she asks. This is a good opportunity to teach your babies no one has a right to hurt them. (I'm afraid you'll have many opportunities to teach this lesson.) Also, you have to keep yourself safe as well. No one should be slapping you. Remember when you get on a plane and the flight attendant tells you to put the oxygen mask on yourself before you try to help others? Keep yourself safe and healthy so you can keep the ones you love safe. Lecture ends.... ;)

    ReplyDelete
  11. The funny thing is, my girls are good at that lesson. He hits, their "stop" hand comes up and they respond verbally - Peanut with a "no, stop, that's hurts, I don't like it" and Bug with just a giant "nooooooo! Dop!!"

    I was the one lost for words, lost for a suitable response! You're absolutely right, though, no one should be slapping me either. I need to take my girls (and your!) advice.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I've delt with this heaps of times, being a teacher aide, you would be surprised how many parents are lax on disciplining their children. I've had to step in and deal with a child, even in front of the parents. I agree with one of the other mums, it is the parents job, but if they can't be bothered then I make no apologies for dealing with the issue. As I have to think not only of myself but the 20 something other children that are watching.

    My approach is to do what your girls do, whip up the hand, and in a nice but firm voice " I do not like you hitting me" " Don't do it again".

    If the child keeps on repeating the action, then either move the child away ( if at your home) or remove your own girls. Until the child is taught that the behaviour is not ok, then he will continue doing it.
    Good Luck

    ReplyDelete
  13. I don't condone hitting or biting, and it is very frustrating when other parents don't discipline their children. But another point of view is that this little boy is just going through a phase. My son used to hit and bite around the age of 2 1/2. I really do think it was just a combination of his personality(pretty strongwilled), lack of being able to express himself(he was a late talker), and maybe feeling a little insecure around the time I was very pregnant and then having a new baby in the house. I became a hover parent for awhile...for about 6 months I wouldn't let him out of my sight at playgroup, so that I could stop a situation before it got out of hand. It's not easy when it's your child that it causing the problems and sometimes you just don't know what to do. But, a year later, he now loves playing with other kids, is mostly very good with them, and several of the mums at playgroup have commented at how much more settled he is....I am now much more sympathetic to other mums having problems with their kids...they are all little individuals, some learn quickly, some have to take the hard road with everything...this little boy might just need some guidance and patience...I'm not sure how to encourage his mum to be the one to give it to him though...

    ReplyDelete
  14. We've known kids who hit other kids, biters, hair pullers, what have you. But never, ever have I had someone else's child slap me hard across the face. That's unusual. I would have gently closed my hand over his and said in a low voice, "Do not hit me." We had a friend's child who loved to punch legs and bodies. Not faces, but still. He was older and no one was taking it seriously, plus we didn't like getting hit, so the next time he went after my husband, my husband put his hand on the kid's head to stop him cold and said, "Do not hit me." He didn't try it again. Kids will want to know right off what your personal boundaries are, and if you're getting slapped, I don't think it's crossing a line to tell the slapper "do not hit me".

    ReplyDelete