Friends vs parenting styles
Nikki Temkin finds out what it’s like when there's a conflict in parenting styles between friends.
(Getty Images)
I have officially entered an unfamiliar and tricky realm of parenthood: my 16 month old daughter is going through (what is hopefully) a phase of slapping other kids (and me and her dad) on the head and pulling their hair. 

This has resulted in an unpleasant situation with a friend of mine who reacted very judgementally, despite my apology, when Eva Rose did it to her kids.

I have tried various techniques to nip Eva Rose’s behaviour in the bud.

They include:
  • Looking her in the eyes and telling her firmly, "No, that is not nice; we do not slap/hit/pull hair."
  • Saying, "that makes Mommy very sad." Cue distraught clown face.
  • I even tried, "If you do that again, I will leave you alone in the room."
Neither of these approaches seems to have had any effect. In fact, Eva Rose seems to find them highly amusing.

The truth is that she is too young to apologise or really understand the concept of hurting another child. It is not done with malice or intent to harm but more out of curiosity. Perhaps Eva is also used to hanging around with a boisterous and sometimes aggressive 3-year-old cousin.

Yet, I am trying to manage it as best I can and set boundaries.

The incident has made me realise that my friend and I parent very differently. 

About a month ago, a four-year-old boy bit my daughter so hard on her finger that he drew blood. She screamed for twenty minutes.  But, what was the point of being angry with his parents?

I comforted my daughter and allowed them to discipline their child in the way they saw fit - which was to firmly let him know he was wrong and make him apologise. Of course, I felt awfully sorry for my child, but these things happen.

The world can be a tough place and sometimes kids do hurt each other. In fact, at my Moms & Miracles group at least one child per class pulls another’s hair and makes him/him cry.

You can try and protect and prevent your child experiencing pain by controlling his/her environment to a degree (e.g. baby proofing your home etc.) but there are certain things beyond your control.

Short of shackling your child to your lap 24/7, there will be bumps, falls, scratches, grazes and yes... even pain caused by other children.

Some parents seem loathe allowing their children to experience the world by experimenting and exploring it.

Of course, I would never endanger my child, but I do believe that sometimes the only way for her to find out that the bed has an edge is to fall off it once.

I suppose my friend would say that I am too relaxed, maybe even tough, and in my opinion, she is uptight and mollycoddling. The truth is that on the continuum of parents, we’re a mixed bunch.

For now the only thing to do, as far as I can see, is not to socialise our kids until Eva outgrows this stage. Or maybe we could ask for expert advice?

Think you need expert advice on this subject?
Breaking the hurting habit

What is your parenting style?

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