Please note that this post was written out of frustration, not about the child, but about the parents who aren’t working with this child. I wrote this so I would get these angry thoughts out of my mind so that I could let them go. This post isn’t to offend anyone and I do understand age-appropriate expectations for very young kids. But, I also believe parents need to step in to help their kids when they can’t help themselves – when they are habitual hitters, or biters, or acting out in other ways … the parent should not ignore the problem or excuse it but help the child express their anger/frustrations in appropriate ways. And to me, this means taking responsibility to help the child cope and intervening when they act out. Two of my own children really didn’t need much direction. My third intense child needed help coping with her big emotions and it had to come from me as her mother. For two of my children, a regular amount of attachment parenting/authoritative style worked just fine. For my intense child, who had a neuro-developmental delay in her emotion regulation, who had mild sensory processing disorders and selective mutism that caused her to act out, I needed to intervene and learn all I can about emotional development from every resource I could. Because many mainstream parents and doctors knew very little about the conditions she had, I had to take it upon myself to read from books what it was all about. Two years after the fact, she has come a long way and can now express herself much better than she used to.
But beyond that…I would hope that anyone else that reads this post understands that I can have compassion for this child I’m blogging about, and I can still have a lot of irritation with her parents for not taking an active role in preventing their child from acting out against my children or other children on my block. I don’t really care that this child is 3.5. That is the perfect time to start coaching a child to how to cope with their feelings. Children persist in acting out if they aren’t taught constructive ways of handling their anger and frustrations.
I got yelled at yesterday by one of my neighbors because my girls keep getting hurt by the 3.5 year old girl down the street who is very immature and aggressive towards anyone who makes her mad. At 18 months of age, her parents stopped supervising her play outside. Oftentimes she’d wander over to our house or other people’s houses without telling her parents. After some time, they’d realized she’d wandered off and finally come look for her. Then they put a lock on their driveway gate, but at 2 years old, she figured out how to climb over it.
She’s also very fond of hitting, throwing things, pinching and pushing kids of any age. She’s hit other kids with brooms, toy swords, her hands, rocks. Her parents have given her time outs, but for only 2 minutes and then she’s back out to play. They do nothing to teach her how to stop. Many adults on this block feels this girl is a little bully. My neighbor across the street came outside to tell me she saw her from her kitchen window hit a boy a year older than her with a toy sword, hard.
Often, the targets of her frustrations are my girls. My girls don’t fight back and they for sure don’t pick on kids younger than themselves. My kids know better. It’s not that they never had problems sharing (because they did every once in a while, but they never habitually hit their friends because they didn’t get what they want, not even when they were 3). They just did. NOT. do. that.
If it weren’t for the fact that I know this child has no one her age to play with, and often times has no one to play with during the day, I wouldn’t have even let them play with her. But lately she’d taken to ringing our door 2-3 times a day asking to play with my kids. Yesterday after school, she sat on my porch waiting for us to come home after I picked up the oldest from school.
Then about an hour later, my youngest daughter, 4, comes home crying to tell me her friend S pinched her arm and pushed her in the back. I found out it was because she didn’t want my daughter E to get out of her little toy motorized Jeep so that she could go ride her own bike. So S pinched her and hit her in the back.
Later, as I go to collect our girls’ bikes and shoes that were left at S’s house, I was grumbling awfully loudly about S always picking on my kids, and then told S to tell her parents that she doesn’t know how to stop hurting my kids.
Her father came out to “discuss” (read: yell at me about) this.
It boils down to the fact that my kids are tattle tales, and kids need to figure these things out on their own without tattling. My husband is of the opinion (and has been for a long time since this isn’t the first time other kids target my kids) that we should teach them how to fight back. Other kids won’t mess with them if they learn how to push and hit back. Yeah, somehow I don’t see that as a great alternative…but I’m thinking something has to be done. Apparently me sending the child away when she hurts my kids like I’ve been doing isn’t enough to dissuade her from picking on my kids (who are 4, 6 and 7.5). Even my 7.5 year old thinks she’s a bully. Her 7.5 year old friend too was hit by her with toys in the past.
I come to find out that S also hit E in the head with a rock, because apparently S was throwing a rock at the play house in the back and it bounced on the roof and hit S in the head. But S thought E did it, so she threw a rock at E and it hit her in the head. Apparently it was hard enough that the father put ice on it (but he didn’t tell me it happened until after the second incident where my daughter got pinched and hit in the back).
I don’t remember what I said to him, other than the fact that if E was doing something wrong, I should have been told so that I could deal with her. Then he said, “well you should keep your kids at YOUR house”.
Um…I DO, except his kid keeps ringing my damn doorbell and waiting on my steps.
The parents of this child also are the parents of a 8 year old boy who lets him play Halo and Gears of War video games, let him listen to very hard rock and took him to his first Nickleback concert two weeks ago. In case you don’t know who Nickleback is, check out these lyrics Just to Get High and Burn it to the Ground.
Last year the boy had issues with play fighting aggressively and saying “you’re dead, I killed you” and “I’m going to kill you”. When I asked him why he was so into “killing”, he told me how he had nightmares at night where he’d be killing people. I asked him if he was killing good guys or bad guys and he said, “both”.
Great. They are creating little deviants and they don’t give a carp about it. They’d rather the children govern themselves like in the book Lord of the Flies.
I’m glad this is the fall, and soon enough it will be too cold to play outside for long. There will be more time indoors and away from kids who have no self-control.