Parents, Your Reaction Matters Most

While at the park today, we had an incident with another child.

I took five kids to the park – my three minions {8, 6, and 4} and our little friends {2 and 7 months}. We do this often and never have issues. While the two year old was playing on a train, another two year old came over and before you knew it, he scratched her face, starting at the eyes and going down to her lips. Oh, it was bad!

Here is where reactions matter.

The boy’s mom immediately picked him up and removed him from the situation, as did I with the little girl. His mom talked calmly with him. I talked calmly with our little friend. I consoled her and checked her face. I got her some water and cleaned her up.

I didn’t hear what the boy’s mom said to him at first, but she stayed close by – holding her son – and once my little girl was calm, we connected again. She apologized for the incident and checked to make sure the toddler was OK.

Yes, it sucked that it happened. But, when two year olds are involved, anything can and will happen. They are quick as a whip and don’t always have the words to communicate what they want. In this case, the little boy wanted to sit in the exact spot the little girl was.

Here’s what impressed me about the situation:

  • The mom reacted immediately. This was not a situation of negligence by any stretch of the imagination. He was quick!
  • The mom stayed. She could have taken her son and left then and there as a punishment for his behavior and/or to save herself from the embarrassment. But she didn’t. She stayed a few feet away holding her son to make sure we were okay.
  • The mom used the moment to teach her son. You know that whole cause and effect thing that we learn in science? Two year olds are still learning them. A horrible example, but he now knows what happens if he scratches someone. I heard her tell her son, “See what happened when you did that? It hurt her and now she is sad.”
  • The mom scolded in a loving way. She didn’t fly off the handle and shout at the boy. She didn’t scream “look what you did!” {Well, at least from what I heard.} She calmly spoke to the boy and used basic language so that he could understand how his actions hurt someone. By mom staying calm, it actually kept the moment calm for the four of us involved.
  • The mom did not make him apologize. I have read conflicting books/articles on this. From this, I feel that if you force a child to say sorry, they don’t necessarily understand it and it becomes just a word. When they comprehend what it means to be sorry, that is when it is meaningful. The mom apologized a lot, but I actually do understand her not forcing the issue.

In a few minutes, our little girl was fine, playing and smiling. We kept on playing for another hour {we were at a great park with lots to do!}. The mom came up to me as we were getting ready to leave and she thanked me for my reaction to her and the situation. It didn’t dawn on me that others might have been cold to her in that situation, but looking back, I do get it.

With all the mom-shaming, you never know who you may come into contact with. I could have very easily blamed her and shouted at her for allowing her child to do this horrible thing. But, let’s face it. I have three kids who have gone through these phases, or at least something similar. I get it.

Toddlers are fast little things who want what they want when they want it. When they don’t get it, they act out. In this case, it was at another child.

  • I know that it is simply something that happens.
  • I know the mom didn’t send him over to hurt us.
  • I know that the little boy is probably a good boy who was overwhelmed by all the play things and then felt cheated that my little girl got to what he wanted first.
  • I know that this mom probably just needed a moment of grace, as we all do from time to time.

Later, my minions were trying to figure out why the little boy didn’t just sit in the other seats – there were three available. Why did he need her to move? My only response was that sometimes two year olds are simply illogical. 

The best thing that we can do is to react in a positive way. Not only for our kids’ sake, but other moms’ as well.

Be blessed and have a great day!
andrea-sig

 

P.S. I came across this article and I think it fits perfectly here: Six Ways to Show Solidarity with Other Moms. 

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