7.10.2008

CONFLICT RESOLUTION

Since my life now revolves around going to the park every day, I was there, of course, on Wednesday morning. I'm admiring the trees, thinking how great it is to just sit and hold Charlie, when suddenly another mother comes up to me -

Other Mother (angry and defensive): What is your son's name?
Me: Luke.
Other Mother: Well, Luke, just pushed my daughter!

The other mother runs over to where the kids are playing. She stands there holding her injured daughter and just stares at Luke and I.

Other Mother: When I told him to say he was sorry, he kicked the sand.
Me: Oh, okay.

She stands and waits. I don't know what to do. By this point, I feel like every other mother at the park is staring at me. This audience is waiting to see how I am going to discipline my child and I have no clue what to do.

These are the options that went through my head at that moment:

a. Start screaming stuff like, "I'm a gonna whoop you, Boy, when we get home. Oh Boy, oh Boy, yar gonna get a whoopin'!"

b. Say to the mother, "Your little girl deserved it. Get over it."

c. Push Luke violently into the sand and say, "This is what it feels like to be pushed. How to do like it now, LUKE!?"

Instead I just stood there, said, "He's really sorry. I'm really sorry. Luke, we're going home," and we left. I don't think she was satisfied. I'm sure she wanted Luke to say he was sorry and give her daughter some sort of forced hug. We would sing Kumbaya and everything would be hunky dory. Oh well, I missed the boat on that one, didn't I?

I HATE disciplining in public because a) I don't know what I'm doing and b) I hate the audience. I wish there was some way that I could stop him from pushing other kids. Some say that I can't reason with him yet because he's too young. However, I see so many other toddlers who appear to obey, so it must be possible.

I need Supernanny.

11 comments:

  1. Cristin,
    This exact situation has happened to me multiple times. A few months ago a mother came up to me at one of those indoor playgrounds and said, "your child hit my child." I saw him hit the other child and was on my way over there but she came running to me before I could get to him. I apologized and removed Owen from the situation. Later she said, "you know, your kid is a real bully" and all I could say was "you're right."

    I work very hard correct him when he hits. I don't think it's funny and we do work with him. He seems to be getter better (knocks on wood) but sometimes he really is just a big bully.

    Hayden was the kid who always got bullied and I do know how it feels to have a stranger's child hit your child...but that's what kids do. When Hayden was getting hit at a playground I'd move him...why bother starting a fight with the mom? Every kid is different and sometimes it's just who they are...not what you do.

    Also, I was just thinking of a recent conference talk (I think the last conference) where we're counseled to discipline our children quietly and not in public. I don't agree with public discipline. I tell Owen no and, like I said, I remove him so he doesn't keep hitting, but I think it is damaging to scream at a kid in public (that's what homes are for...kidding).

    I thought I was supermom until I had Owen. He tries my patience daily. Today he threw all the stuff off the shelves at Kinko's and when I strapped him in the stroller he screamed his head off for 20 minutes while I waited in line. I knew there was nothing I could do to stop him so I just ignored him. I figured if anybody was bothered by him they could let me ditch in line.

    I think that other mom was upset and acting stupid. Luke will get better and you don't need Supernanny. Like I said, every child is different. My two boys are very different and I think I've raised them the same way.

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  2. I live in a little town called Mormon Mayberry, and if another mother approached me to tell me I needed to discipline my child, I would tell her to eff off. (Only I might actually say the whole word, just to cause talk around town and make it so people leave me alone.) I don't know about your town, though. Maybe effing off isn't as shocking. Keep it in mind, though. "Eff off, lady." It has a nice ring to it.

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  3. Luke is only two! But I do agree to discipline in private. Jonah is only nine months and when he starts having a fit in the store I feel like everyone is staring at me to see how I handle the situation. Don't worry about other crazy moms.

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  4. I don't know, I think the mom sounds kind of crazy for making it a big deal unless it's happening more then once... I don't like Leyna getting bullied but if I don't know the kid I just intervene between the two of them, not tattle to the mom who hopefully is watching any way. If Leyna is the one doing the hitting (which happens often) then I just ask her to say sorry, show me how to touch them nicely (she usually pats kids on the head or shoulder) and if she won't then she gets a time out. There's no need to scream or yell, just let him know what you expect in a nice way so he learns that its not a good way to interact with other kids. Besides, if you wait to tell him not to hit other kids until you're all the way at home he'll have no idea what you're talking about. But I am definitely no expert, it's just how I handle it.

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  5. I love reading your blog and the realness of it. It has been good birth control to keep us from having a second kid yet. (:

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  6. I know how frustrating that can be. Moms should be sticking together not singling one another out like that or tearing one another down. I love it when you have a mom who will say "Your child did this," like their child is an angel or something. Most of the time, their child is far from an angel.

    What they taught us at Brian's preschool is not to make them say they're "SORRY" but instead to have them go up to the other child and make sure he or her is ok or is going to be ok. Because most of the time, they aren't sorry for hitting or kicking or pushing or doing any of those wonderful social gestures they do. :) Hang in there :)

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  7. I have yet to experience that at the park...but SHAME ON THAT MOTHER! I feel like my Grandma saying that but SERIOUSLY! Haven't you said before that Luke looks older than he is? If that is the case maybe she thought he was like 5 or something and did that. But again SHAME ON HER for being judgemental. Cristin, kids are kids and they are going to do things like that no matter what we tell them. You don't need SuperNanny...he is only 2!

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  8. The problem with most parents today is that they think their kids can do no wrong. It's always sombody elses kid that's the problem and not their own. Since Luke was a boy and her child was a girl, it naturally had to be his fault. I think parents need to find out what happened before making judgements on sombody elses kid. But that's the world our kids are growing up in today. As long as their parents are there to blindly defend them, they won't have to be accountable for anything. When these kids grow up, what kind of adults are they going to make???

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  9. Oh man, that is horrible. I have a hard time disciplining in public too. Yesterday I was at the bank with Henry (3) and he was being a butt so I took the sucker that the bank teller gave him away from him (while we were still at the waiting at the window - 20 minute banking ordeal). He was talking back to me and defiantly walking under an easel holding a huge display. It was only a matter of time before he brought it crashing down. When I snatched the sucker from him, he screamed at the top of his lungs and I had to sit there wishing I could crawl into a hole. He was yelling " I hate you mom, stop being mean to me." When your kids are toddlers, it just sucks. What you should have said to meddling mom is, "My child is two and hitting is what two year olds do." I agree with one of the comments above. Just tell her to "Eff off" next time. Mothers who don't let their children figure out how to deal with getting knocked around a little bit are going to regret it later when the kids expect mom and dad to fix everything for them.

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  10. That mother is ridiculous! Kids are not perfect and 1, 2, 3 year olds are Babies!! Good for you for not giving her the drama she probably wanted. You are the mom, you make the choice of how you discipline. We all wish that we could have super nanny every now and then - just so we could take a nap! :)

    You are doing a good job Cristin!

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  11. Okay, I always wonder what to do in these situations. It hasn't happened to me yet, but I'm always hearing about these situations with other moms. I would like to think that I could say something intelligent like, "According to studies, children between the ages of 18 months and 3 years old have a tendency to play this way and. . . " yeah right. This sounds like a mom that cannot be reasoned with because she's right and perfect no matter what. I would want to say firmly, "Yeah. Kids do that." But she should let you discipline your way and she should just walk away and take her kid away from Luke if she's worried about more "violence". I think what you said was the best that could be said. I probably would've done the same thing. When my kids do things I don't like at the park I always make them sit out on the bench not able to play for a couple of minutes and have a quiet talk with them. Liam sometimes makes that worse and I'll just take him home. It's awkward when they do something like hitting or pushing another kid, because your idea of correcting that behavior is so different than what other moms would do. Anyway, I'm rambling and I have no idea what I'm saying anymore.

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