Breaking the hurting habit
The habit of a toddler hurting other children is one that takes work to break.
Do you have a toddler who insists on biting, hurting or pushing another child? Not sure how to deal with it? Let the experts help.

Psychologist/teacher Derek Jackson believes that if you ignore the unwanted behaviour and the child eventually gets no response from doing it, that he/she will stop doing it. He says it should take about two weeks to break the habit.

Social worker Sheri Hanson, whose special interest is children says that it is normal for a child to go through stages of hurting others and that the best way to deal with it is: 

Be a good role model. If you child sees you slapping a sibling, then she will imitate you. This is why punishing a child by hitting them to show them how it feels to the other child will not work- you are simply reinforcing the negative behaviour and implying that it is okay to behave that way. 

Teach by example. Mediate and guide to show what is appropriate and what is not.

Withdraw your approval. If you are holding the child put her down and say clearly and firmly, "that is not what we do—we do not bite/push/smack/pull/pinch." Try not make too much of an issue of it and remover her from the situation.

Teach. An older child can be taught to say "sorry". 

Separate where possible. Try and keep her away from other children as much as possible during that phase. 

Be positive. Give your child a positive response when she behaves well. Applaud and reward appropriate behaviour. That way she will get used to receiving positive attention from you instead of seeking attention in negative ways which can become a pattern

Explain yourself. Explain what feelings like “sore” mean. Even though your child may not have an absolute understanding of feelings, it’s never too early to talk about them—it will develop vocabulary and understanding of feelings.

Be flexible. Try various approaches and see what is effective

All of these things depend on your child and you need to be aware of your toddler's personality.

A test of friendship

"Having children is one of those life events that will test a friendship" says social worker Sheri Hanson, "the golden rule is to respect each others' different parenting style. Do always make sure that the children are safe, though."
She explains, "There is a spectrum on the parenting continuum from laissez faire to neurotic and strictly punitive. Even if you think that your friend is overprotective over her children, for whatever reason, it is not your duty to try and change that. The best that you can do is be accepting of it."

It is not helpful to shout, lecture, preach, attack to or judge another parent. As parents, we need to try and find balance, the middle road on the parenting continuum, whereby the child is allowed to develop at their own pace, with guidance of what’s acceptable and what’s not.

Babies are not born with an innate sense of morality; it needs to be taught by us. Safety is, of course, non-negotiable.

In terms of parenting styles, if you and your friend cannot come to accept that you are different, and treat each other with respect, then perhaps the friendship has run its course for now.

Here is mom's personal experience.
Friends vs parenting styles

Have you lost a friendship due to different parenting views?


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