Wednesday, 17 September 2014

When your child is THAT child

Little Owl was a very easy baby.  She didn't mind where I took her or when, she didn't mind crowds and fireworks, and equally would sit quietly during a church service.  I could walk out of the room at a playgroup and she wouldn't mind, I could take her for lunch and she would sit there for hours.  Hell, I even flew to India with her on my own!

But Little Owl isn't a baby any more.  Little Owl is a two year old.  At first that was fine, but something happened when she turned two-and-a-quarter. It was almost a Kevin the teenager moment, her going to bed one night all sweetness and light, waking up the next morning this fireball of energy!

Little Owl favourite thing to do now is to play with her friends.  The trouble is, they aren't always so excited.  They don't always want kisses, or hugs.  Little Owl doesn't understand this and a hug with a toddler who is trying to get away can result in them both wrestling on the floor.  A subtle turning of the head to avoid a kiss is no challenge for Little Owl who merely grabs the child by both ears enforcing a head turn until the kiss is achieved.  Little Owl's attempt to get a child to play with her on the swings could look to an outsider (or the other child's parent) that she just pushed them over.

Is my child now that child?  Is my child the one that other children don't want to play with?  Is my child the child that other parents don't want near their children?  Am I about to discover that my new found mummy friends, aren't going to stick about?  Am I going to miss out on seeing them because of they don't want my child there?

I'm usually a quite confident person, but Little Owl's behaviour is making me feel very vulnerable.  If I feel like this, then how do less confident mums feel?  Those who's children are perhaps deliberately hurting other children?

I have tried telling Little Owl off.  It doesn't really work.  She doesn't understand.  She is just having fun.  Sometimes I wonder if I am just saying the words to appease the other parent.  The parent of the toddler who is now crying... And suddenly I'm all insecure again.  What if my friends don't approve of how I am parenting Little Owl?  What if on their secret meet ups they all sit round discussing how terrible Little Owl is and how its all my fault for being a bad parent?

I know some people might read this and say "well they can't really be your friend if they treat you like that" but would you really choose to hang around with someone if you knew their kid was going to make your child cry?

My cheeky monkey!
And how can I stop Little Owl's behaviour?  Helicopter parenting has never been my style, but maybe I should start to prevent others kids getting hurt until Little Owl is past this phase?  I think mixing with bigger kids might help, but apart from sending her to nursery or playgroup, I'm not really sure where to find bigger kids!  And while nursery and/or playgroup are on the cards, I almost feel like this needs sorting first.  She is my child.  Her behaviour is my responsibility.  I can't pass that on to someone else.  I know many do.  I teach their children when they get to secondary school and its hard.  

So while I try to cling on to my friends, old and new, and try to prevent Little Owl from hurting anyone too bad, I have come up with a simple rule that Little Owl does understand: "no touching"

Now someone get me a gin and tonic and make it a large one!

18 comments:

  1. All tiddlers go through stages parents find alarming or embarrassing but most other parents are not that judgmental. Keep taking her out to play and praising kind sharing behaviour, turn taking, gentle touching, she will soon learn 😊

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    1. Thanks. Turn taking and sharing are not a problem... until the other child doesn't want a turn or to share... then to the other parent it looks like she is pushing them (if its their turn) or hitting them with the toy is she's sharing...

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  2. Thank you for writing this! You have just described my daughter EXACTLY and the feelings I've had since she turned two! I try to tell myself that it is better she is confident and sociable and that she will learn how to be more appropriate as she gets older, but I still watch her like a hawk! Once another mum asked me if I 'play wrestle' with her to encourage her behaviour! She had only tried to hug the other child and knocked him over in the process! Xx

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    1. hilarious! Oh I so know that situation though! We'll have to get our two together sometime x

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  3. It's just so difficult isn't it? I don't really know what the answer is but it sounds like you're doing the best that you can. Toby has been at nursery for a month and we've had a couple of incidents of him biting other children - he's only 14 months and he's not doing it maliciously. Whenever he tries to bite us at home (which happens occasionally) we always stop him and tell him no but I don't know what else we can do. I still felt embarrassed and responsible for him biting at nursery though...

    I guess we can only do our best to show them the right way to behave and trust that they will work it out soon! x

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    1. A friend's little one is going through the biting thing, its so difficult. If its of any help, Little Owl is already growing through this stage, or at least I think she is...

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  4. Old friends still here ;-) xxx

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    1. Great to hear! Don't know who you are though... guess I will if you are the only one left!

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  5. I know exactly how you feel. My daughter was the same and it was an embarrassing struggle in which I constantly left parent/toddler meet-ups feeling utterly defeated and frankly a bit worried about the future. My child didn't understand, and telling her off was definitely for the sake of the other parents/children there. My daughter is 7 now, thrives at school, is completely socially appropriate (well, on most occasions) and would never dream of knocking someone over with a bear hug as she once did! The kissing thing - she did that too. My middle child was different, but now my 3rd child follows in his sister's overexcited footsteps. I'm more relaxed about it now - usually. Take heart, this will pass for you x

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    1. thank you, really that's good to hear. x

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  6. I know it's easy to worry as a mum but at this age she's still very young. Just keep doing what you are and explain to her one day she will understand :) x

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  7. Try not to worry too much. You're friends will understand if they see that you're trying to deal with it. I know it must be really touch though. I hate it when Potato is too enthusiastic with his cuddles and fun games suddenly turn to tears. But it does sound like you're doing everything right. This too shall pass xx
    Thanks for linking up with #BinkyLinky

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    1. Cheers, hope Potato calms down too xx

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  8. Aw this will pass, it's just a stage and it sounds like she just has so much love to give. If it's any consolation, Mushroom has two friends who almost always make him try. Both are over-enthusiastic huggers. As is he! It's just that we don't see them so much so they (being faster to warm up than him) usually go for the hug first and scratch/whack/knock him over. When Mushroom is the heavyweight hugger I warn him 'We ask permission before we touch,' (a valuable lesson, especially for boys I think!) and 'remember you have a lot of love, you might need to give a little less today.' or similar, to remind him to be gentle. Oh, I also say 'gently' a lot!! Hope this all helps and know that you are doing a great job. You're an excellent parent. If you weren't, you wouldn't be worried about this! Your friends will understand and if not? You'll find better ones. Xx

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    1. Who knew 'gentle' would be such a useful word?!!!

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  9. That's a tricky one as I haven't experienced this as such YET! I have twin girls who already have strong personalities. They are already a bit crazy, probably spending too much time with silly mummy. But I like to think promoting individuality is important. I have a a friend who's daughter was very comfortable with hugging her friends and they call her weird. I told her save the hugs for the best people like mummy and daddy. Unfortunately kids can be mean and they don't understand. Your little owl sounds adorable and full of energy! Good luck and sorry I haven't added anything of substance. But you sound like an amazing loving mummy to me. That's what matters :) x

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    1. I wonder if your girls won't go through this as they always have each other so learn how much is too much and also that sometimes they don't want it, all with each other?

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