parenting

To Fight or Not to Fight


We were in the playroom. Little Dynamo and I were playing on a Lego set. Another boy joined us and grabbed a toy from my toddler’s hand. Little Dynamo cried. I comforted him by saying, “It’s ok. You can play with it when he’s finished”.

My Little Dynamo would glance at the toy in the boy’s hand every now and then. I would just pat his back and turn his attention elsewhere. Then the other boy let go of the toy. My Little Dynamo happily picked it up and played with it… until the other boy grabbed it from his hand again. In front of me. My Little Dynamo cried. I told him to say please to the other boy. With a pleading voice, my Little Dynamo repeatedly said, “Please” while crying. The other boy stubbornly held on to the toy.

I was at a loss! What do I do? I am the adult but I am also the Mom.

I carried my toddler away and opted to go out of the playroom. We were followed  by the apologies of the nanny who had to take care of that other boy and his baby sister.  Oh well, with two kids, she could only do so much. But I felt bad for my own toddler because:

  • he might feel that Mommy was not there to protect him
  • I might be sending a wrong message to my son – “it’s ok when others take things from you”
  • just cry when another boy takes away your toy – it’s ok to be bullied

Once I told a friend that as parents we should really try to be very objective and never allow ourselves to get into the petty fights of toddlers. But where your toddler is concerned, this seemed to be a tough act to follow. Seeing your own toddler hurt doesn’t call for an objective mind.

What then should I do when a similar event happens in the future? I didn’t feel so good and I immediately told my husband about it. “Diplomacy should always come first“, he said. “If it doesn’t work, let him get the toy from the other boy“. “What if they fight?”, I asked. “Let them be“, he answered.

Which brings to mind another advice of a mother to her own toddler. “Never start a fight. But when somebody hits you, hit him back“.

I modified the above advice and recently I started teaching my toddler, “When somebody hits you, tell him ‘Don’t hit me’. When he hits you again, make sure to HIT HIM HARD!“.

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6 thoughts on “To Fight or Not to Fight

  1. My daughter is 8 years old and is in 3rd grade. When she was younger, she would tell me about something bad that happened in school — days, weeks or even months after it happened! I told her that if someone is being mean or hurtful that she should tell the teacher or any other adult in school right away. I told her not to wait after school to tell me about what happened because by then, it will be too late. It’s best to tell the teacher as soon as possible so the teacher can talk to her classmate right away and also tell that child’s parent when they come to pick up that child from school. And my daughter has learned to do that. Nowadays, when something like that happens, she would report to me that someone was being mean and that she told the teacher and that the teacher reprimanded that person.

  2. Hi Eden – Nobody would want their child to be the bully but neither does anybody would want their child to be bullied. I wouldn’t want my son running home to me crying because he was bullied by somebody. I will have to go back with him and watch how he gets back at that bully:-) As long as he didn’t start the fight. After that, I will allow him to cry.

    Bravo to your co-worker. You laid out a situation very easy to understand:-)

  3. This is one thing I don’t understand ate. My co-worker was talking about this too the other day. She said that her son is an “A” student but he’s just a loner type of person. His classmates bully him most of the time to the point of shoving his face but ,the other day, my co-worker was called by her son’s teacher saying that he pushed one of his classmates real hard. My co-worker told me that, instead of getting mad at him, they even gave him $20 and told their son that they were proud of him. I don’t really understand this. ^^;;;

    Eden´s last blog post..Pamper Your Self

  4. hi Jill – when my son was about 18months old, he was always hit by his playmate. he would just cry. the mother wanted my son to hit back. i said no. so, i always tell my son to tell the playmate, “Don’t hit me. Hitting is bad”. He eventually learned to hit:-) LOL. He sees and experiences it a lot of times.

    But, yeah I agree with you. Violence is never the answer:-).

  5. I know what you mean by it is so hard to see your child hurting. I struggle sometimes when DD is playing with her older cousins and I see them not sharing with her or playing keep away. I have to remind myself that it is teaching her good social skills. Since she doesn’t have any siblings to play with at home she needs this social time.
    Personally I don’t teach her to hit back just because I don’t believe in violence as the answer, ever. Unless of course it is self defense. Plus, it is usually my DD that is doing the hitting so it is usually me disciplining her NOT to hit.

    Jill@ModernMommyBlog´s last blog post..Potty Time Tuesday

  6. “When somebody hits you, tell him ‘Don’t hit me’. When he hits you again, make sure to HIT HIM HARD!“.

    ***BRAVO!!!!!! Your husband was right…..and I definitely like the last part…….kkkk.

    cher´s last blog post..The White House Chef

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