Saturday, September 15, 2007

how do you discipline??

A child that just doesn't really understand? Cooper is a very lovey child. He loves to give kisses and hugs but I am now coming across some major problems with it.
Yesterday I was out at moms group. YAY! It started back up. Didn't get to spend much time with the moms. I would hear Payton yell "Cooper no. Stop. Ow" I would look over and here is my 17 month old tackling my three year old niece. When he gives the kisses he does it with an open mouth, thus all those teeth getting in the way. He hugs pretty tight too. So I would get up and remove him and tell him not everyone wants hugs and kisses.
Then I would sit back down only to have another friend point out "oh he is attacking Leiah" so there I went again. So I was at the end of my rope and was very frustrated. Where the heck did I go wrong with my parenting. How do you tell a kid that being affectionate is not what all kids want. I redirect. I do say no. I will say, "here give mommy a hug instead".
So then I had to follow him around. Almost in tears cause I was so embarassed. Then I went and sat back down keeping a watchful eye on my boy. I see him pushing a chair and one of the other kids decided they wanted the chair and told him no and sat down. Thus squishing Cooper's fingers. Cooper pulled his hand away as I sat there to see his reaction. He rubbed his hand and just looked at the kid. Then all of them started to laugh at him. Four of them gathered around him laughing. My heart was breaking. I just sat and watched. (bad I know but I wanted to see what he would do) He just turned and walked away. But it brought back so many memories of me being teased and picked on. Then a realization that I cannot protect him from everything.
I was close to tears cause of the way they all laughed at him and then the way he knocked kids down and made them cry. He didn't mean to. He is a good person with such a big heart. But I really don't know what to do. How do I correct this? I almost got up and left the group. But then I realized that I need to keep him around the other kids. I think he just needs to be around kids more then what he is at this point. The adults are stronger and he doesn't knock them over when he hugs or kisses. He just doesn't get that the kids are lighter then him and he can hurt them.
I feel so embarassed and frustrated. Where did I go wrong with my parenting? Did we rough house too much? Did we play too much? Too many kisses? Not stop it soon enough? What can I do??? HELP!


Nicole said...

I know what you are saying by redirecting as opposed to discipling. Especially in the areas of affection, because you dont want to teach him not to be nice. But I also believe there is a time that he needs to hear the word no. He needs to learn to hug them gently. Redirecting him just to hug you doesn't teach him not be softer with his hugs, it just teaches him that it's okay to hug you.
I'm not sure if you are redirecting him in other areas if he is misbehaving. Like I said, affection is a bit tricky because it isn't "wrong". But when he is an adult and speeding down the highway and gets pulled over, the officer isn't going to say "oh sorry, why don't you go speed along that road over there instead of this road"

Michelle said...

Yup, that's a sticky one. I didn't notice the kids laughing at him, that's rough. Kids can be so cruel. I've seen Pay's little heart just breaking when someone didn't want to play or take her hand. She takes it so personally, she doesn't understand that they just don't want to right now.

First he will outgrow it, secondly all infants/toddlers/kids go through some sort of issue like this(many times actually). They are just learning about social interaction and boundaries. You cannot take all of his behavior personally, I have heard from so many parents "what did I do wrong?" and in reality usually it was nothing.

Then, how to respond hmm.... I completely think he'll figure it out, and "grow" out of it but in the meantime I guess he can't go around bowling everyone over. I guess I would really stress the gentle over and over again, and it will get redundant but he will eventually understand gentle hugs are ok, aggressive ones are not. Then really praise and make a big deal when he is gentle. That won't teach him not to be affectionate(I don't think that's possible really)just gentle. Then eventually work on the personal space boundaries, that's a tough one for children, especially overly affectionate ones. They don't get that some people/kids just don't want you to hug them. Again, with time, they figure it out.

Please don't beat yourself, I think you guys have an amazing son and you are fantastic parents! Every child has "issues" that parents are desperate to figure out. You are not alone in this! Love you!

Miss-buggy said...

I do discipline him and say no. I say "no Cooper, you need to gentle hugs"
Michelle saw me do it on friday so she is probably the best to tell you how I handle it. I take him from the situation and say no and sit him down and tell him he can't hug every kid and he needs to be more gentle. I do tell him no but at the same time I can't discourage him to be the affectionate person he is.

wilsonian said...

While I have no experience (and no advice), I would like to make an observation...

You have done a great job, if he handles teasing so well. The fact that he just moved on, and didn't come running to you speaks volumes about how he already (positively) sees himself. No easy task, Misty.

Jeff Jacobson said...

i come from a totally different perspective now as my kids are out of that stage, and i share with you a quote which will hopefully bring a smile to your face..

"the first half of good parenting is just being there, and the rest you make up as you go along."

seriously, aside from all of the advice that you can find out there, overwhelmingly, you are a good mother because you are simply present in his life and you are loving on him regularly.

it's not easy, but wow.. Cooper already has a HUGE leg up just because of you and the passion you have for him and his development, which is so evident in the entries on this blog.

i know i'm not helping with anything that pinpoints the issues raised in this post, but just know, in a couple years when you look back, what you'll remember is the good stuff, and Cooper will be a better person because of what you've poured into him.

in my book, you're a great mom!!