Being a mum can be the most rewarding job in the world. It can also be the most challenging! Join me on my journey through motherhood and the highs and lows it brings. I blog when I get a moment; as you will see these moments are far and few between. But I am still committed to improving my blogging rate!
Tuesday, 23 October 2012
As a mum you hope that you are instilling in your children all the good values that you believe in. For me these are good manners, sharing, having kind hands and feet, no swearing and being able to play with other children whilst developing an understanding of others feelings.
Things seem to tick along quite nicely and then all of a sudden your world gets turned on its head and you have a toddler who is full of anger and displaying it in an aggressive manner with other children.
It has got to be the most embarrassing thing in the world when your child suddenly sinks their teeth into another child. The worst thing of all, to take on board as a mother, is other mothers reactions. Their complete horror that your child has bitten or hurt their child is very hard to take and incredibly difficult to deal with. On one hand you want to defend your child, a natural reaction of any mother, and on the other you want the ground to swallow you up. In my experience it is best to deal with the incident simply and quickly. The last thing you want is your child thinking that they can get loads of attention by biting! I believe it is best to, in a firm voice, say 'No biting', or 'We do not bite'. I have also explained that teeth are for eating food. Then turn your back on your child or remove them from the situation but do not give them lots of further attention regarding the incident. Before you know it you can end up in a situation where your child suddenly thinks that they can get your undivided attention by biting.
When one of my children first bit her brother I was mortified. She then decided she would have a go at me! What worked with her was to say 'No biting' and if I could see her coming towards me with that biting intent in her eye, I would simply dodge out of the way and ignore her. She was a particularly touchy feely child who liked skin and always has done, she likes to stroke your arm or lay her head on your neck; and with her we found saying 'No biting, kisses or raspberries only' worked. She still got her pound of flesh but in a nice way!
Lots of children bite and it is important to remember that when you are confronted with an irate mother and they see you dealing with it effectively, it helps to deflect the situation. By removing yourself and your child elsewhere it can help to keep out of way of further confrontations.
When I first braved a parent toddler group with my son he was quite happily playing with a toy truck. I was watching him and trying to be brave and talk to the other mums there. A little girl came up to him and snatched the truck off him. He stood up and took it back and promptly hit her on the head with it. I can't say I blame him, he was playing with it, we had taught him to ask nicely if you wanted a toy to play with and this little girl and just taken it from him. I spoke to him firmly and told him we don't hit other children with toys, I acknowledged his anger and said she should have asked him nicely. I told him to come and ask mummy if someone took his toys. Her mother was livid, she ranted at me saying she hoped there wasn't any permanent damage to her daughter and she could see a mark on her head. Not once did she stop to think about why it had happened, she obviously hadn't witnessed what had happened prior to her daughter being hit or chose to ignore it.
I was so embarrassed I took him home immediately and never went back to that parent and toddler group.
As a mum I have learnt over the years to not think you are the only one with an aggressive toddler. All four of mine have gone through an aggressive stage and the oldest three have grown out of it. My youngest is just entering it! Having had these experiences and been treated the way I was by other mothers, I never ever have a go at other mothers if incidents happen, because I know what it is like to be on the receiving end of it.
In my experience as a mother you should never deal with any situation with your children when you are angry. I have always tried to look back at incidents and to try and work out why one of my children bit or hit someone. In technical terms they talk about looking at the antecedents, i.e. what happened before, was there a trigger? In my children it was either out of frustration, simple anger, because someone had taken something that they viewed as theirs (in a toddlers eyes what is mine is mine) or fear. My eldest once bit when she was 5 years old, she had never bitten before. When I investigated the reasons why I found out the little boy she had bitten had pinned her down to get a ball off her. She was scared and her first reaction was to bite.
We are all human, we all get angry and we all (hopefully!) learn from our mistakes! Here's to growing up, making mistakes and developing into a kind, thoughtful and loving person.