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Small Child Behavior - Parental Advice, Please.
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Mar 6, 2008, 08:25 PM
 
We have a baby girl that is about 14 months old.

Good friends and neighbors have a little boy about 17 months old. He's a husky little fellow.

Here's the deal: Whenever our friends bring their beloved son to our house he hits our baby, who is a tiny petite little thing, in the face. Sometimes it's a fist, sometimes it's a slap, but he makes a beeline for her and smacks her in the face. Sometimes over and over.

We love our friends, but we do not like their response when their kid does this: "No, Johnny, no. No, don't do that." It's said in a kind and quiet way most of the time without any real meaning. I know that they love their kid, but we're sick of their reaction to his behavior. Last night they told us how when they take him other places he does the same thing. Our friend said, "We know it's not good, but what can we do?"

For example, if my child hit their child I'd yell, loudly, and make my point clear that it is NOT okay and guess what? I guess I'd smack her hand and tell her "NO!" I'd yell at her and tell her no and if she cried, oh well, I got my point across. I would not allow her to keep hitting another child, period.

Does that make me a bad parent? No, I wouldn't shake her or beat her, but she'd know very well that her behavior wasn't acceptable in the least.

It's to the point that I don't want to socialize with these people and we really like them. Just can't stand their apathetic attitude while our baby girl gets bruises, yes, she's been bruised, by their kid.

ADVICE?

Thanks.
     
nonhuman
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Mar 6, 2008, 08:29 PM
 
Give her one of those little baseball bats they hand out at games. That'll learn 'im.
     
sek929
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Mar 6, 2008, 08:29 PM
 
Not a parent, but I hate when parents try to talk to young kids like they understand the struggles of raising a child.

My dad would have slapped me in the face if I pulled that sh!t, not that he had to more than once...I'm a quick learner.
     
Sherman Homan
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Mar 6, 2008, 08:30 PM
 
Dude, Dudette, whatever!
Why are you questioning yourself?
     
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Mar 6, 2008, 08:44 PM
 
Asking for Parental Advice on MacNN: Epic fail.

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Teronzhul
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Mar 6, 2008, 08:53 PM
 
Children respond to corporal punishment. Parents who raise kids by just saying no end up raising ********s.

Slap your friends until they get the idea to spank their kid.
     
sek929
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Mar 6, 2008, 08:58 PM
 
Originally Posted by Teronzhul View Post
Children respond to corporal punishment. Parents who raise kids by just saying no end up raising ********s.

Slap your friends until they get the idea to spank their kid.
QFT™

Again a little slap isn't beating your child, it's just showing them who is f**kin boss. Just like training a dog but less cuddly.
     
mduell
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Mar 6, 2008, 09:33 PM
 
I wouldn't invite their son over any more until he figures out how to behave reasonably.
     
Chuckit
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Mar 6, 2008, 09:48 PM
 
If a kid is hitting your child, grab his hand and tell him to **** off. In a kid friendly fashion. I don't have kids (and thus don't feel qualified to have an opinion on the whole spanking thing) and don't hit the ones that I'm asked to take care of, but if a kid is doing something harmful, you bet I'm going to stop him.
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Mar 6, 2008, 10:00 PM
 
I am tempted to say something to the parents, but what? What the hell do I say without offending them? I'm not the perfect parent either. Right now I have to be a guard dog when their kid is at our house - I see him making a beeline to slap my baby's face and I have to grab her and pick her up while his parent or parents just say, "No, Johnny, no..." And then their kid does it anyway.
     
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Mar 6, 2008, 10:04 PM
 
Grab the hand and say a firm no. It's not hitting, but it'll get the point across. The parents will understand.

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cjrivera
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Mar 6, 2008, 10:05 PM
 
The other kid's parents should handle it like this...

Watch their child closely for hitting behavior.

When they see their child about to hit another kid, they should get right in the kid's face (eye to eye), give him the maddest/dirtiest look you can, and in a lower, deeper, and louder (projected voice) say firmly, "No! You do no hit. If you hit, you will get time out!" If the child stops his behavior, then you say give positive reinforcement, and say, "Very good, now let's all play together." and show him how to play together without fighting/hitting. That way, he sees that good behavior is rewarded.

If the child proceeds to try and hit, you grab his hand before he actually hits and again get eye to eye, shoot him a nasty look (you know... the one your dad could shoot across the room and stop you in your tracks) and say again, "No! You do not hit. You are going to timeout for hitting!" Send him to timeout (even at another person's house or restaurant). Afterwards, again get in his face and say in a nicer voice, "You went to timeout because you were hitting. Do you want time out again? (Usually you get a "no" headshake) Do you want to go play nicely? ("Yes" headbob). "OK, then let's go play nice, so we won't go to timeout again." Take the child with you to the other kid, have him say sorry or give a hug, and then help them play nicely so he learns how to do it himself.

Hitting your child doesn't work in this case, because even though you are saying "hitting is bad", you are teaching the lesson, "I am mad at you, and so I will hit you." That's what the child will continue to do, because you are setting the example.

This technique allow the child to learn how to make choices (positive and negative reinforcement) and also helps teach them how to interact with other kids with your help (because at 17 months old, not all kids are taught how to play with other kids the right way.)
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Mar 6, 2008, 10:08 PM
 
Whatever the reason for your friends' kid's behavior, it is unacceptable, and he's old enough to understand that. Stop his hand, tell him "NO" very firmly and move him somewhere else. Do this EVERY time he tries that. Explain to your friends that it's not funny, that you're worried that their 45 pounder is going to accidentally hurt (make sure you say 'accidentally') your daughter, and that they've got to work on this with him or he won't be allowed near her. They may take a little while to have it sink in, but they're parents, so they'll get it eventually.

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Mar 6, 2008, 10:25 PM
 
the parents must have let him get away with hitting them or others from the get go - i just wouldn't invite them over but i cant really talk since i am not in your shoes

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 (op)
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Mar 6, 2008, 10:26 PM
 
I'm going to do exactly that: Next time he tries to touch my child I'm going to say, "Johnny, NO! VERY BAD! NO!"

And then I'm going to pick him up and hand him to his mother.

How's that?
     
zro
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Mar 6, 2008, 10:27 PM
 
You are your child's protector, not your friends. Start acting like it.

Do as ghporter suggests, but if it continues, tell your friends, "This is unacceptable. I'm not the one who should be doing this."
     
cjrivera
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Mar 6, 2008, 10:47 PM
 
I think it is well within your rights (especially in your house) to act on it as ghporter says.

1 of 2 things will happen:
1) Your friends will get the hint and hopefully follow your lead in disciplining.
2) Your friends will be offended and won't come back, which again, solves your problem.

It's an accepted rule around our neighborhood that we all can lay down the law at our houses when other kids come over. It actually makes it easier on the adults because they know that they can be firm in regard to behavior and not have to tiptoe around the subject.
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Mar 6, 2008, 11:09 PM
 
The other thing I haven't mentioned is that the husband in the couple that have the abusing child is not happy in his marriage to his wife. She is controlling and nagging all of the time. She is from Europe and threatens him all of the time with going back to Europe. (The other night at dinner at a restaurant she made a comment about "finding another husband" because he has to go on business trips to earn a living - she is a stay-at-home mom, BTW.) When the boy falls over she rushes over and grabs him and says, "Poor, poor, Johnny!" And the kid screams even more. Conversely, when her kid decks our baby girl she just sits there and says, "No. No, Johnny. No." When it's her kid that not happy then you'd better watch out. (Think of a miniature Augustus Gloop from Willy Wonka and you'll get a good mental graphic.) The husband hates it. Anyway, that's the dynamic in their marriage and it's not great. So we don't want to cause more tension. And when the wife, who is preggers, isn't nagging she's okay. We like them both so we don't want to rock the boat but their kid is another story...
     
Sherman Homan
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Mar 6, 2008, 11:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by  View Post
I'm going to do exactly that: Next time he tries to touch my child I'm going to say, "Johnny, NO! VERY BAD! NO!"

And then I'm going to pick him up and hand him to his mother.

How's that?
Exactly right.
     
keekeeree
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Mar 6, 2008, 11:19 PM
 
Be a parent.

Protect your child.

Stop complaining about how other's raise/discipline their children while you're allowing harm to your child to come strolling through an open door...opened by you.

If that means offending your friends, so be it.

See? Not so complicated.
     
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Mar 6, 2008, 11:20 PM
 
This leads me to another topic...what do you do when you like one half of a couple?

Like, the husband in this duo is awesome. The wife COULD be great...but she's not. From telling the husband that he's too old for her, too overweight (she actually took food away from him in public the other night at the restaurant), telling him he has a bad job because he goes out of town twice a month (for which he makes about $100K a year and she does not work at all), to constantly nagging him even when they're at our home...well, you get the picture. I feel sorry for the guy, actually. She threatens to go back to Europe all of the time. Today he told us that next time she threatens it he's going to say, "Okay, go."

It's weird to like one person so much and then not the other.
     
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Mar 6, 2008, 11:31 PM
 
Bluntly; if you're more worried about keeping these people as friends, let them slap your child around. If you're more worried about your child being hit unnecessarily, tell these people that their son is not to lay a hand on your daughter, and let the chips fall where they may. I have a hard time understanding why this is so difficult to comprehend. Violence never solves anything, whether it's a child hitting another, or an adult hitting a child. As it is right now, you're sending a message to your daughter that she deserves to be hit, for reasons she can't comprehend, and that's just plain unacceptable.
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Teronzhul
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Mar 6, 2008, 11:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by cjrivera View Post

Hitting your child doesn't work in this case, because even though you are saying "hitting is bad", you are teaching the lesson, "I am mad at you, and so I will hit you." That's what the child will continue to do, because you are setting the example.
This is not a case of violence begets violence, and a child under two years of age would never equate it as such. You hurt them, and they realize they've done something that they shouldn't have. It is that simple. A two year old has insufficient understanding of language to figure out that you're kindly explaining to them that they're mauling another human and it likely doesn't feel very nice.

You can't override millions of years of physical behavior modification simply because it makes you feel better about yourself. To every baby/toddler out there we sound like Charlie Brown's teacher.

I'm not advocating beatings here, but a good spanking works wonders and certainly isn't unrecoverable damage. Even a quick pinch gets the message across without even leaving a visible mark.
     
cjrivera
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Mar 6, 2008, 11:43 PM
 
Originally Posted by Teronzhul View Post
This is not a case of violence begets violence, and a child under two years of age would never equate it as such. You hurt them, and they realize they've done something that they shouldn't have. It is that simple. A two year old has insufficient understanding of language to figure out that you're kindly explaining to them that they're mauling another human and it likely doesn't feel very nice.

You can't override millions of years of physical behavior modification simply because it makes you feel better about yourself. To every baby/toddler out there we sound like Charlie Brown's teacher.

I'm not advocating beatings here, but a good spanking works wonders and certainly isn't unrecoverable damage. Even a quick pinch gets the message across without even leaving a visible mark.
I'm not against a spank or swat on the butt as a form of punishment (hopefully, last resort). But I've seen in many cases that when it comes to the situation of a child hitting another, that spanking them doesn't work, because you're showing them the exact same behavior you're trying to get rid of. Yes, children at that age don't understand everything we say as adults, but that's where the tone/volume of the voice and the no-verbal cues (direct eye contact with "the look") comes into play. They will still understand "no" at this age.
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Mar 6, 2008, 11:43 PM
 
♥, you know what to do with respect to the kid - follow your gut instinct. It's not like you're a newbie at it or anything, is it?
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invisibleX
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Mar 7, 2008, 12:12 AM
 
Originally Posted by Teronzhul View Post
This is not a case of violence begets violence, and a child under two years of age would never equate it as such. You hurt them, and they realize they've done something that they shouldn't have. It is that simple. A two year old has insufficient understanding of language to figure out that you're kindly explaining to them that they're mauling another human and it likely doesn't feel very nice.

You can't override millions of years of physical behavior modification simply because it makes you feel better about yourself. To every baby/toddler out there we sound like Charlie Brown's teacher.

I'm not advocating beatings here, but a good spanking works wonders and certainly isn't unrecoverable damage. Even a quick pinch gets the message across without even leaving a visible mark.
I have to agree with Cj on this. Punishment works but there are a lot of different kind of punishments and physical is definitely a last resort.

One other thing: any punishment, any reward for being good for the other child, needs to be given out by this other kids parents. Its possible you might be able to stop him hitting your kid, but its also possible that if they allow their kid to hit other kids he'll continue to do it not matter what you do. If you can get them to stop it, and make sure they know that if they let it slide even once it'll undo any good behavior they get out of him, it'll be much better for everyone.
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Mar 7, 2008, 01:45 AM
 
As it is right now, you're sending a message to your daughter that she deserves to be hit, for reasons she can't comprehend, and that's just plain unacceptable.
GREAT point.



I'm ordering a taser right now online.



Seriously, that's a great point oldmanmac.
     
ghporter
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Mar 7, 2008, 09:17 AM
 
Originally Posted by  View Post
I'm going to do exactly that: Next time he tries to touch my child I'm going to say, "Johnny, NO! VERY BAD! NO!"

And then I'm going to pick him up and hand him to his mother.

How's that?
Except for the "VERY BAD" part, it's perfect. Better would be "we do NOT hit people!" Focus on the behavior, not characterizing the child. It's his parents who are at fault for not teaching him better behavior.

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Mar 7, 2008, 09:27 AM
 
Over the years since we've had kids, I've been amazed by how much parents are completely ignorant of the behavior of their kids. Our kids have never hit anyone, broken anything, or done anything that has ever been embarrassing because we teach them to respect other people and their property. But Jesus, the crap we've had to put up with like kids smearing carrots on our 52" TV, taking things out of display cases, snapping things in half, and the parents just don't care.

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Mar 7, 2008, 10:25 AM
 
What a great post, starman.

Our kids aren't great, but you know what? When they go to someone's house they are very polite, behave, and don't presume to be able to touch or ruin anything. They interact appropriately and they sure as hell don't punch or slap other kids.

On the other hand, I wouldn't let them. I just have to give them a 'look' and they know that they're treading dangerously with something they're doing or saying and they stop.
     
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Mar 7, 2008, 06:47 PM
 
Originally Posted by OldManMac View Post
Violence never solves anything
This is an over generalization that is just untrue.

Many, even most of the time this is true but there are times when violence most certainly can and does solve a problem.

Statements like this are just baseless platitudes that are in no way based on reality.
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Mar 7, 2008, 08:06 PM
 
i'm with cjrivera on this one, my children still talk about 'that look' i used to give them where they realised they had overstepped the mark and they are now in their late teens. i also have a 8 month old and one on the way and i've already discused this 'look' with my partner and she can't wait to see it in action because she can't believe i can produce such a look. but i know it used to stop them in their tracks.
     
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Mar 7, 2008, 08:19 PM
 
Originally Posted by bbcchef2 View Post
i'm with cjrivera on this one, my children still talk about 'that look' i used to give them where they realised they had overstepped the mark and they are now in their late teens. i also have a 8 month old and one on the way and i've already discused this 'look' with my partner and she can't wait to see it in action because she can't believe i can produce such a look. but i know it used to stop them in their tracks.
It's not blue steel is it?

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Teronzhul
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Mar 7, 2008, 09:44 PM
 
I'm pretty sure only "Magnum" could illicit such a response.
     
andi*pandi
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Mar 8, 2008, 09:41 AM
 
as a parent of a child who is big for his age (and always has been) in addition to the advice above, and getting his parents to actually do something, you should consider that perhaps he can't help it. Many times my son accidentally knocked someone down during play or as he went to hug them (including his own grandmother) and he always showed remorse and frustration that this happened, when all he wanted to do was show affection. Controlling his strength is something we're still working on.

So don't be too hard on Johnny, he's not even 2 yet. His parents should be more concerned however.
     
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Mar 8, 2008, 03:01 PM
 
Oh, it's not an accident. TRUST ME. It's definitely violence. Even his parents admit he has a problem - it's blatant violence.

Anyway, we just don't invite them over, that's all.
     
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Mar 8, 2008, 06:00 PM
 
"If your kid touches mine one more time I'm going to kick your ass from here to Timbuktu."

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