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Violence from other kids

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  • Violence from other kids

    I have a 15 month old son Evan. I have been practicing AP since he was born pretty much. I am concerned about how he might be influenced by a couple other toddlers from my side of the family--my sister's son Elijah and my youngest sister Madison. They are both spanked regularly and it shows in their behavior--especially Elijah. He's about 2 months older and He is very aggressive with Evan & hits a lot. Even when he tries to give him hugs he scratches him & pokes him in the eyes if he doesn't hug him back. Evan, on the other hand, has NEVER gotten violent with ANYONE except in self defense.

    The other day my sister came to visit and Elijah was trying to give my boy 'hugs' the whole time; my sister didn't seem too concerned and I ended up being the one keeping her son in check most of the time. She had the nerve to tell me that Evan was 'whiny' and that I was overprotecting him because he would cry when he got hurt or didn't like what Elijah was doing and I would *GASP* rescue him and comfort him!! Instead of forcing him to learn to defend himself and 'be a boy' as my sister would have it.

    So I'm a little concerned that Evan might pick up on violence from other kids. I am thinking about just cutting off contact with kids I know are aggressive towards him for the first years of his life, maybe longer. I don't know. It tears me up because they are my family and I had hoped particularly that Elijah and Evan would grow up as friends. I don't have any knowledge about this though; I don't know if it really would influence him negatively or if he would not pick up on it at all. Anyone had experience with this?

  • #2
    That is a hard situation and one I have been on the both sides of. My second son is very 'forward' and has learned things in play from his older brother (rough housing) that he then tries to 'play' with children that are not used to it. I guess the difference there is I am aware and try to redirect or soften his behavior (he is 2) and those other mothers that you are being with don't see the problem.

    You can manage your son's enviroment by limiting exposure (NOT hanging out with them or being very active if you do) It may not be that you have to teach him to 'be a boy' but to communicate his needs and wants. For example you can prompt him to say "Be gentle, give me my space, please" even if he can't talk yet. You can be his 'voice' and imitate what you think he would say when he is older and in a situation where you may not be so involved. You would be teaching him the skills he will need at some point, but still be able to step in and help resolve the issue now.

    I understand on so many levels!


    • #3
      I think you're feelings are spot-on and it is good that you are looking for ways to protect your son. Kids can be very perceptive and pick up on behaviors from other people easily - both the good and the bad. I think Naomi has some great ideas of ways to 'be his voice' and to model how to deal with the situation. If you're wanting to continue contact with family, it might be that you are needing to actively moderate their play for a while. If it is hard to do that without criticism, it is OK to share your feelings with your family. Just being honest - "I really want to spend time with you and I have always dreamed that our sons would grow up being friends, but he needs to feel safe and happy. Will you help to be sure our children are playing kindly with each other?" But, if you feel you need to protect him while he is still so little, don't feel guilty doing so. You know your son and you know what he needs.

      Hugs to you!