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Question from the other side...what to do when your child is hit?

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  • Question from the other side...what to do when your child is hit?

    My son is young, and typically gentle, he's not too big. He often is on the receiving end of the hitting, or biting. I do watch him, and I know that he definately invades space which may or may not be a provoking thing since he's not trying to take a toy or boss other kids, he's just playing. My son is 20 months, and is very communicative with me, and other parents say he is easily understood.
    I am wondering what to do when he gets hit or bitten. My response has been to just console him and remove him from the situation, but it's happenned so often that I wonder if I should do more. I was thinking of trying to teach him to only play with the "nice kids" ones who he knows, but I don't want to encourage labeling other kids, or restricting him from making new friends.
    I just don't want to see him hurt, particularly by kids who have been violent in the past.
    Any advice?

  • #2
    Vanessa, I moved this question that was posted in another thread to it's own thread, so that it can be easily seen.

    I've been there too. It's hard...I know. Mostly because it's hard to see your child at the receiving end. It not only hurts them physically, but with my daughter, it would often hurt her feelings too, so it was also emotional hurt.

    I'll be back later to post more about what we did, but I'm sure others will also post their experience as well.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Vanessa and Westley View Post
      ...He often is on the receiving end of the hitting, or biting....I am wondering what to do when he gets hit or bitten. My response has been to just console him and remove him from the situation, but it's happenned so often that I wonder if I should do more.
      You are doing the right thing. I would continue to do what you are doing. I know it seems like you are always removing your child but unfortunately we as parents cannot parent the other child. You could approach the parent and let them know you are concerned that this is an ongoing issue. You can also gently say to the other child, "Biting/hitting hurts my son. My son cannot play with you until you can be safe."

      This communicates to your own child that you are advocating for him. You are also letting the other child know what you are taking your son away. Also this may alert the other parent as to what happened so they can do their part in preventing this from happening again.

      Often I have found other parents don't do anything because they truly are at a loss as what they should do. And even they are embarrassed. If they seem receptive you can offer advice as to how you would handle the situation if it were reversed.

      I also want to offer commiseration. My children for some reason are often on the receiving end of teasing or bullying/hitting. I know Jessie (6) had been devastated when her cousin was going through a biting phase. She'd be playing nicely and then suddenly got bite very hard. I would let her cousin know it was not ok and that I was removing Jessie to keep her safe. He often would come to her on his own and apologize and the rest of the playdate would go well.

      My older son [9] has been the victim of bullying. My other family insists I should teach him to fight back. I do not believe this would solve the problem. In fact I suspect the child that bullies him would become more aggression and my son's inexperience could get him seriously hurt. I encourage my son to stay away from the child and his friends. Unfortunately at this age I did find I needed to explain about bullies to him. Which I realize is labeling. But I was careful not to assign blame to the child for his behavior but to discuss the behavior that was a problem with my son so he understood it was not ok and that he needed to get help whenever he felt threatened.

      As for my 2 year old, I noticed he's very cautious around children his own age and will actually determine what children are ok to play with and which are not. He's also big for his age but he's so sensitive and gentle. I notice my friends children who are more like him, gentle he'll play with fine. But my cousin's son (brother of the one who went through a biting phase) he avoids. And truth be told, he's rough and tumble kind of kid. It's how the father plays with him and his other sons.

      Comment


      • #4
        i think it would vary case by case, too. often the times the parents take it harder than the kids. it depends on how much harm your child experiences. if he's not really phased by the hit, i'd offer to help him if he needs it, but not remove him. of course i'd be on my guard and ready to take action any minute.

        since your son is so verbal, i'd also help him start using words w/the person who hits him. a simple "no thank you for hitting me" will do, just to get him in the practice of voicing his own needs.

        Comment


        • #5
          When my daughter was a bit younger she seemed to always be on the receiving end. She usually got her feelings hurt and would be more devastated that someone hit her more than because she was actually hit, you know? Hitting is common among this age group, so I knew that it wasn't that the kid hitting was "bad", but instead viewed it as a developmental stage. But, at the same time, I needed to protect my child. It particularly concerned me that she was getting emotionally hurt. I couldn't control the reactions of the other parents and I didn't feel comfortable parenting another child, unless I knew the parents very well. So, I came to the conclusion that I can only do my best for my side of the issue. When she was hit (and bothered by the hitting), I would go to her and console her and remove her if I needed to in order to keep her from getting hurt. Most of the time the other parent dealt with their own child and then the children went back to playing. I also kept an eye on her so that I could remove her quickly if there was going to be more hitting. But, still, at one point it started to affect her confidence level (being on the receiving end so much), so at that point I did only do playgroups with children that didn't hit regularly. That seemed to make a huge difference and she gained back her confidence. As she got older, she stopped being the one always on the receiving end.

          I really wanted to point out though that sometimes there was hitting, but she was fine and not upset by it. So, on those times, I just let the other parent handle their child and let my daughter keep playing. In order words, there wasn't always the need to console her or remove her. I only went to her if she needed me. Sometimes she was perfectly fine and didn't need me, so I just watched from the sides, because I didn't want to create feelings that weren't there. Hope that's clear...I'm finding it hard to explain.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Giselle View Post
            I really wanted to point out though that sometimes there was hitting, but she was fine and not upset by it. So, on those times, I just let the other parent handle their child and let my daughter keep playing. In order words, there wasn't always the need to console her or remove her. I only went to her if she needed me. Sometimes she was perfectly fine and didn't need me, so I just watched from the sides, because I didn't want to create feelings that weren't there. Hope that's clear...I'm finding it hard to explain.
            very clear to me, giselle. that's exactly what i was trying to say.

            Comment


            • #7
              This has happened to DS a few times, and it's really hard for him. Although he has been known to throw a few whopper punches at me at home from time to time, out and about he is pretty quiet and shy. He likes to observe the other kids, and when they get aggresive with him, he gets so upset. I try preventative measures- if a child at a playdate or event seems to be acting aggresively I'll try to keep ds away, but when kids get together stuff happens, you know? When he gets upset I do the same things as the OP just console him and step out for a quiet minute if needed. Occasionally, we'll just go home if he gets all worked up, but that's rare. As he's gotten older and spent more and more time around other kids, it seems to be bothering him less and less, so I try to not overreact.

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              • #8
                Assuming that all of the children involved are toddlers, I think it's important to bear in mind that hitting is normal behavior for toddlers. When my daughter was that age, she had friends she liked very much who nonetheless hit her on a regular basis, and she hit them sometimes too.

                We (the other parents and I) handled this by separating the children by a few feet and talking with them each individually.

                We would console the "hit" child and encourage them to tell the other child that they didn't like it when they were hit. We also talked with them about what they might have done differently to avoid being hit in the future.

                We would explain to the "hitter" that they had hurt the other child, pointing out to them that the other child was crying, upset, etc. We encouraged them to work out conflicts verbally with other children, and to seek the assistance of an adult if they needed help instead of hitting the other child. If the hitting was unrelated to a conflict, we tried to help the child determine what had caused them to hit the other child, and discussed alternative ways to express that.

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