Lovely ladies how have you been? All is well I suppose, Chie has not told me otherwise. I was called up to write this week because Chie and I have recently had to deal with our child’s interaction with other kids. We are at present trying to work through some of these new challenges. Our most recent interpersonal challenge has come as we try to teach Kiko how to “play” or interact with other kids. I put play in quotes because at 18 months, there is no play in the traditional sense it’s more just let children play by themselves in close proximity to one another. The idea that you can make an 18 month play with another child of similar age becomes obviously silly after one attempt and failure. You can try as hard as you want to try and get toddlers to play together but at this age they still don’t seem to have much of sense beyond “I am the center of the world and everything else in it serves me”. Sadly, selfishness is an inherent quality.
That being said I do still think that it is very important to bring ye ol’ toddlers to places where they can learn to interact with other similar aged kids. It’s is mostly because it gives them the opportunity to interact with someone else who thinks like they do…that the world belongs exclusively to them. It seems to me a good reason to do this is that it gives, you as the parent, an opportunity to teach and discipline your child when after a minute or two start having problems with the other babies in the vicinity.
All parents know what problems arise when two or more babies are in the same place. Toys become sources of contention, parental attention becomes worth more than gold and ownership of land becomes pretext for war. This is certainly not a good thing but it is part of the child’s condition and its good to teach and discipline from an early age. Caught early, you can set your child up to learn the lessons of sharing, others’ feelings, and social interaction from an early age.
I’ll set the scene for you: Jane and Suzy are in a play area in close proximity. Jane has a toy, Suzy has a toy. Suddenly Suzy wants Jane’s toy and grabs it. Moments after the grab, Jane realizes this sin has taken place, screams and launches a perfectly placed right cross on Suzy’s chin. Now the screaming is all encompassing. The parents hear and come running to figure out what went down.
From my perspective, this scene is not uncommon, it is not really all that big of a deal in and of itself. If Jane and Suzy’s parents act in a teaching/disciplining way all is well. I’m a bit of a brute with my daughter so my first reaction is quick grab, pick up and a stern whack on the wrist followed by a reprimand(which admittedly they dot understand but they get your pissed and what they did was not to your liking). My reaction is usually faster and more strict than many, but as long as the other parent is in that kind reaction parameter, I am cool with the other parents reaction. If I am Suzy or Jane’s parent, I plan on disciplining in the above stated way and have an expectation that you will act in some similar fashion.
Here is the problem, and I would like y’all’s thoughts on this; if in the situation described, I disciple/teach my child but the other parent just passively allows the child to act like a selfish violent brat, how should I, the parent, respond? I have been in this situation a few times. Once I let it happen because screaming, as would be my natural tendency, was not socially expedient because we were in a large group and it would have caused a fair bit of discomfort. On another occasion however, I witnessed the event, saw the child’s mother do nothing and let the daddy’s right fist of verbal fury fly.
As said, I don’t expect every parents reaction to be the same as mine, but I do expect the reaction to be somewhere in the ballpark. Ladies, what say you?