My 2 ½ year old daughter has decided that the way she expresses her dislike or anger for other children is by hitting or pushing them. As a mother my first reaction is to feel responsible and want to fix the situation, and have fixed it yesterday.
How do you explain to your 2 ½ yr old that when you hit someone it hurts their feelings, it makes them sad., it is not ‘nice’.
I’m not a smacker, so I really am at a loss as to where this behaviour is coming from. Naturally, I resort to friends, books and the internet to try to get a grasp of ways I can be teaching my child that hitting is a ‘no no’.
Everyone reassures me – well to my face anyway – that this is ‘normal’ behaviour for her age. That she is learning what is and isn’t socially acceptable. To not worry as she will grow out of it but I still can’t help but feel responsible and like I could be doing more, doing better.
I recently was informed that my 2 ½ yr old, on her third day at kindy, is in their words ‘intimidating’, ‘aggressive’ and hitting and pushing around 4 yrs olds. Not only was I told this but my daughter was also told this in front of her whole class.
Something about that conversation didn’t sit well with me. I didn’t know if I was embarrassed for myself or embarrassed for my daughter.
It really got me thinking about the labels that we so quickly place on children; that’s the naughty child, that’s the child that hits, that’s the quiet child. We end up treating these children like the labels we have put on them and in turn, the children believe us and then they fulfill that prophecy we have put forth for them.
I’m just not sure how this is helping.
We have all done it. We have all heard someone talk about another person’s child and we have all looked at a young child with disapproving eyes. Most of the time we don’t even know we are doing it, however our face will paint a thousand words.
We are told by so many people “what ever your mind can conceive and can believe it can achieve”, the words of Napolean Hill and “what ever we think about, we bring about” from DR John Demartini, for example.
Why don’t we really take this concept on more with our children? Why, in the most formative years of their lives, aren’t we paying more attention to the way we speak to them? This is for both our children and especially other people’s children.
It’s easy to forget how smart and switched on kids are these day’s. Before they can utter one word they can understand and implement every instruction given to them with absolute knowing and conviction.
I can’t help but think that if my daughter – at 2 ½ – is being told she is ‘naughty’ and that she is ‘aggressive’, if she is being treated like the outsider, how easy is it for her to actually become this person that people are saying she is? What is a ‘naughty’ child anyway? Is the child naughty or is the behaviour just not socially acceptable?
I think about older kids who bully, when was this first time they were told they were a bully? How long have they been getting treated like a bully? Have they turned into the child adults have labelled them to be when they were in their formative years? Are they just implementing the vision that adults put forth for them?
We really need to take responsibility. It’s too easy to feel guilty for the actions of your child that you can’t control. It’s much harder to take control of your words, your thinking and your vision and really implement and role model a path for your child that treats them how you would like them to behave.
We as adults still haven’t grasped this concept, instead of hitting we use words that tend to have a much longer, lingering effect.
Yes, children need to learn what is and isn’t acceptable, they need to learn that hitting and pushing is not ok. They need to learn their power over making other children feel sad.
We as parents need to understand our power over children and how we talk and even just think about them can HUGELY impact the way in which they think about themselves.
Our children are smart, they are intuitive and they can pick up on just our thoughts.
If we commit to change our thinking, we might just be able to change they way these kids think about themselves.
How powerful is that!!!!