Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Moms...please help!

I'm still very much a first-time mom with Samuel. There are things that happen that I fake my way through and think, "Hey, I did pretty good with that one." Then there are things that happen that I am completely and totally stumped on. I fake my way through and think, "Did I do that right?" So I need your thoughts on this (hypothetical) situation...

At daycare, your child and his friend are caught deliberately spitting on another friend...reducing her to tears. While child has been in trouble for misbehaving before, this is the first time child has deliberately been blatantly cruel to another child (that you know of), and the "ganging up" aspect is particularly troublesome to you, especially when all three children have been, up to this point, good friends.

What do you do (besides freak out that your child has become a bad seed and quietly cry yourself to sleep at night)?

12 comments:

Aurelia said...

Oh lord, your child IS NOT a bad seed. If that was true, my very kind older son would've been written off for all the awful thing he did when he was five, and I never would've known how nice he was!

Just start trying to do things like role-play and discuss how the other kid would feel. He won't be able to cognitively understand empathy at this age, but knowing that Mama will be watching and he is in trouble if he does it again might be enough for now.

The long term "talking about how others feel" stuff takes a while.

Barabara Coloroso has a great book on this about bullies and the bullied, and it has lots of calm even handed child-rearing advice as well.

She also has a book about parenting after loss and family trauma. Kind of helpful, maybe?

DD said...

How can I give advice on this when mine kicked a girl in the face; or he was caught up in a mob-mentality and taunting a disabled child?

You can't change what has already happened. Instead you must use the event as a way to minimize it happening again.

kate said...

What aurelia said....

SydneyDawn said...

Aurelia pretty much summed up my answer as well.

Shinny said...

Yep, had to do the "How would you feel if they did that to you?" talk with Alex several times throughout the preschool and elementary school days. Sam is a good boy but even good kids get caught up in, like DD said, the mob mentality.
I have to admit though that the first time Alex pulled something like that I completely lost my shit with him. Of course that was before I knew that using the "how would you feel" card would work SO much better.
Somewhere in our genes is the ability to use and be used by guilt, if handled just right. "I am so disappointed in you" was my mother's favorite and worked better then the wooden spoon everytime. ;) Good luck. You have to figure out the best guilt tactic to use on your kid, yes it is ok for us to do that and they will not suffer permanent damage and seek therapy later, promise. If it keeps them out of trouble and also makes them more sensitive to others, that is a good thing.

Jill said...

Blogger keeps eating my comments...but 100% with what Aurelia said:)

pipsylou said...

I think all you can do is have him go to this other child and apologize to her. Beforehand, have a little chat with him about how he would have felt if the other kid and this little girl did that to HIM. I think he has a sweet enough little spirit that he will get it.

After that, resume life as normal. Sam is definitely not a bad seed. :)

Wabi said...

All I can add to Aurelia's excellent advice is to say that when I occasionally catch my older kid doing something that I'm horrified about, once the offensive behavior has been halted, my immediate attention goes to the kid who has been wronged, NOT the wrong doer.

Basically that translates into the offending child getting sent to time out right away without discussion or a lot of yelling on my part. Then I lavish attention on the hurt/sad kid for awhile, preferably in earshot of the one in time out. I try to save explanations on why something is wrong until later on, when the situation isn't so new and overwrought. This way the kid who acts out gets to see that it only takes attention away from them and gives it to others. This doesn't stop all bad behavior by a long shot ... but it does minimize the whole "seeking negative attention" issue.

I realize this might not quite fit your scenario, if you discovered what happened from a daycare provider. (But again, Aurelia's got you covered on that other front.)

Julia said...

I usually first ask why she did any particular thing. Then we do the "how would you feel?" thing, and if possible/practical encourage apologizing. The last part is useful because I notice a few kids in Monkey's class who are not used to apologizing, and it makes them want to continue bad behavior even when told that it is hurtful-- the alternative, clearly, is to apologize, and that seems to be very hard for them.

Good luck!

ahem.. my word verification is utiwe. Funny. Maybe.

The Nanny said...

I agree with Aurelia...most kids do this kind of stuff, it's best just to sit down and talk with him about it, to help him feel how the other child must have felt--would Sam like if it someone did that to him?

Kendra's mom said...

I came here to give some deep advice and helpful comments but I see it has all been said already so ditto to all above. In summary, a) chat to him in non-threatening way and ask why he did it, b) explain that is is not a nice thing to do, you know he is not that kind of boy and c) make him apologise.

Kim said...

Also? Could it be that he "likes" the girl? And that's why he's teasing her? IF so, talk to him about better ways to express his feelings.

And seriously - my friends' kids, who are best buddies (both boys, and they are just those "Boys will be boys" types of kids...). Anyway. That wasn't even a sentence. The two boys had to go to the bathroom one day, and so their moms let them go, no big deal. Boy 1 comes out, his hair and shirt all wet. It turns out Boy 2 peed on him, because BOY 1 SAID TO, MOM! Anyway. SO not that spitting isn't bad but at least it wasn't urine?