Other people's children
At a park playdate recently I was startled to see a toddler standing at the top of a slide pushing the other kids. No, not pushing them down the slide, but back off the ladder so they fell to the ground.
After watching the second small child plummet to the ground and burst into tears, I shot over. In the calmest voice possible I suggested that wasn’t a very nice thing to do.
The toddler in question grinned at me sweetly.
And shoved yet another child off the slide.
I looked round for a parent or guardian but no one was nearby. In my best “teacher” voice I asked them to stop pushing people over as hurting people is not okay.
It’s rare to meet toddlers who are genuinely nasty. My three were certainly no angels and had their share of tantrums and meltdowns. Usually these occurred at crucial or stressful times. I’ve seen biters and hitters in action as well. Again, to me that’s all pretty normal stuff at this age. In fact, the stats support that by saying about one in five kids will bite and about half of them will hit during the toddler years.
So I felt pretty sweaty and stressed out about dealing with a child that wasn’t mine. I know how frustrating it is when other people have tried to discipline my kids over the years.
Fortunately the mum then came rushing over. The poor woman had been taking another sibling to the toilet. I explained what I’d seen. By this time another parent whose child had been knocked to the ground had also come over and told her as well. The mum was fantastic.
She immediately removed him from the slide and took him over to where they had been sitting.
She was speaking calmly and quietly and it was pretty clear she was in control of it all.
Have you ever had to deal with another child like this? What did you do?