It must be due to the latest Twilight movie because Conor decided to bite a classmate. For the first time, and I hope the last.
Image from growingtoddler.com
The teacher felt bad not to have noticed, I felt bad to be the parent of a biter…but, in a way I’m not very apologetic about the whole thing especially after hearing my child’s side of the story.
My child is very particular about his personal space. You would think a toddler can’t have a good grip of that concept yet, but my child broke that mold I think. He can articulate “<Name of kid>, I need my space!” and walk away. He even tells us, his parents, if he wants to be left alone. The first time I saw him very upset was at 2 years old. It surprised me that I was like deer crossing a road at night waiting to be hit by a car when it happened–I stood there frozen witnessing my child yell at the other 2-year-old boy “No, D! No hit!!!” If his eyes could spit fire, they would. That’s what he appeared to me. When we reprimand him, he usually goes to his room–or some other place away from us–to be by himself.
We sat with him that night to get a better idea of what happened. The other boy “hugged” him and was “beating” him. Expound on the beating part, Conor said he was hugging and kicking him.
Did you tell him to stop? Yes. When? Before I bit him. Where were your hands? Couldn’t you just push him a bit to let go of his hug? He was hugging me tight.
Well, if that were me it did make sense to use something else for self-defense–my teeth.
Did you say sorry? No. Do you think you should? No.
Uhm, this is tough. Let me think about it some more over the weekend.
The teacher told me that they are working with the other boy to learn to respect boundaries. All of us were shocked to find out that Conor resulted to such aggression, despite being very articulate about his feelings. By the way, no blood trickled, no skin broken.
We talked with him about how biting wasn’t the best thing to do. We talked with him about ways to resolve that problem. He knew that he could’ve walked away and told his teacher about the annoying kid, but if you were locked in someone’s arms and they are stomping or kicking your feet…well…after learning about the teachers currently working with him on the concept of boundaries, Conor may have been dealing with him for a while now and just couldn’t deal with him any more.
I keep thinking about it and it led me to an imagined scene at middle school–we get called called in because our child punched a kid. Of course, I worry but I also have faith in my child and in my parenting with Jon. We are not stepping in, nor have discussed approaching the other kid’s parents. Some social things are better left learned as you go along in life.
My child doesn’t pick fights, never has, but he is no pushover either. Childhood can be tough, especially being around kids who have no respect for boundaries or are simply socially inept. My parents NEVER interfered with any fight I had with other kids when I was growing up. I think I will continue that practice. Then again, I was with really nice kids and no direct experience with bullies.
Today, one of his teachers told me about a conflict yesterday my son had with the same kid. Though both apologized, the other boy wanted to hug to finally resolve that conflict but my son could only offer a handshake. It was left to simply saying sorry because neither was willing to give in. I’ve always wondered about my son having an old man’s soul. He’s barely 4! A toddler who wants to shake hands instead of hugging? But, I’m glad that he knows when to be civil and when to be truly loving.
Honestly, I’m proud that my child knows his limits, can articulate his feelings, never picks up fights and is not a pushover. I feel bad for the other boy, but consequences are part of learning and growing up. His parents should really work on teaching him about personal space it looks like. My child is not perfect and certainly pushes his boundaries; but he is not tolerated for any bad behavior displayed in our presence and we give full support to his teachers to educate him in all aspects.