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!“.