L.C. asks from Omaha, NE on March 04, 2008
A Small Boy Who Sometimes Gets Pushed Around
Hi. My son, 12 months old, is smaller than the average child. It's in his genes. He's a doll and a loving and fun kid. But in some settings, I see him getting pushed around. It's not intentional. The bigger toddlers just know that they are bigger and tend to push him out of the way or take his stuff. I am always at a loss about whether to intervene or not. Sometimes I can negotiate a settlement, sometimes other moms do. Other times, I cringe.
He is young, still. He also is very outgoing and gets what he wants when he's able. He's also got a kind heart. He gives kids things without prompting. I worry that he'll be bullied, though. I realize this is way to early, but I am trying to figure out how I should handle it. I have seen some other moms say that he's "smaller" or "younger" so the kids should watch out for him. I also don't want him to be pampered or babied, so to speak.
Any ideas about whether to step in, tell other kids to back off, or just let him come up with solutions?
L.T. answers from Chicago on March 04, 2008
My 4 yr old is small too. But she's fiesty, when she was younger like your son she would also be kinda pushed to the side and it would break my heart. But, what I did was just talk to her and let her know that she can do what the big kids do and I made sure to emphasize to her (even at a young age) to not let kids push her around. She's in pre-k now and she's still petite but her classmates love her and she can rough and tumble with the best of them. Even though he's 12 month's no time like the present to talk to him and encourage him to do what they do. He'll be okay. :o) ...
S. answers from Chicago on March 04, 2008
That's a tough question. It is hard not to intervene when someone you love so much is being pushed around but at the same time you don't want little ones down the road saying that "jimmies mom" stands up for him either. My son is three and believe me it gets harder. Children can be very mean and I believe it is the parents fault not the childs. My son has a strange forehead. He kind of looks like a cling on from star trek. Of course children make fun of him and it makes me cry. The other day a child said something to him and he said why do you make fun of my head I don't make fun of your big nose. It shut the kid right up and they started to play together. Later that day I asked my 3 year old why he said that about the little boys nose because the little boys nose wasn't big and explained to him we don't make fun of others. His reply to me was, "actually mom, my head isn't that funny either, I just wanted him to think for a change" I looked at my son and had trouble believing he is only 3.5.. So I guess my opinion is let him fight his own battles within reason for a 12 month old it may help him down the line when you aren't around. Good luck
A.F. answers from Chicago on March 11, 2008
Hi, my name is A., mother of two boys ages 14 & 12 years. It seems that you are doing the right things, your son is still very young. When my boys were your son's age and younger I play-wrestled with them and all the the other lovin mother stuff such as talking and reading. Heck, I even made their baby food myself by cooking vegetables and things and smashing or blending it. Don't assume that your child is too young to understand conversation. You should start conversating with him concerning being being fair and being treated fairly. If you are concerned about his size effecting his his confidence when he is older, one of many choices is martial arts with a good instructor. It teaches discipline, confidence, before fighting skills are learned.
S.X. answers from Chicago on March 04, 2008
I was totally there. I learned that the best thing to do is role model for him what he should do. To say "Oh! I'm sorry, i'm still playing with that, i would like that back please" or what have you. I also realized (a bit older though) that even when my boy was "may i have a turn please" the vast majority of other kids would ignor this request, take the toy and run... and unfort there are many mom's out there on their cell phones not paying attention or teaching THEIR kids that its inappropriate. I actually had 2 older kids corner my 2 yr old in a corner of a fort... they didn't follow my redirection and of course the mom's were nowhere to be found, it was the only time I physically removed the kids from the corner (he was physically trapped by them) to get him out. We tried the "excuse me please", and when that was ignored i said "Ok. you need to move now" and moved them. I am not sure he knew what was going on though. I also learned after doing that for 6 mo or so, that i had to let my boy fight his own battles... can't fight them FOR him or he won't know how to do it. So i would say model the behavior so he gets an idea what to do, and then try and back off and let him do his thing later. I went from my son crying, being pushed and shoved, things taken away constantly; to one day being so PROUD (funny to say) when he actually held on to a toy another was trying to take away and said "NO!" (i smiled and thought to myself, STAND UP FOR YOURSELF!)
of course. now he's in the swatting stage.
L.B. answers from Chicago on March 04, 2008
I say its a little of all 3. My son wasn't the smallest but was gentle & I always taught him to 'use his words' & respect others. Ultimately about 2nd grade he became the school bully's favorite target. Sometimes I feared I had made him too gentle to fit in with the other boys although his dad became impatient & advised him to 'hit back harder'. About 6th grade it all came to a head & I chose to meet with the bully's parents.
This was 10 years ago & since Columbine schools take bullying more seriously. For me it came down to the fact that as his mom it felt right to protect him when I could. I advise you to be your child's advocate whether its a problem with their classmates or their teachers.