Today at playgroup my 2-year old daughter was playing fairly nicely with another little girl, about her age. Suddenly there was a yelp and a cry and my daughter ran to her Daddy with a red cheek – and teeth marks!
The skin was not broken, and she was calmed down with a hug, so there was no major damage done. The thing that left a bad taste in our mouths was that the parent of the biter said ‘Oh sorry, she never bites’ and continued to let her child play, without reprimand.
I’m not trying to tell anyone how to parent, and nothing was said today. But perhaps it could have been handled better. I know if the roles were reversed I would explain to my child it was wrong and have her apologize, then leave because play time is over. For the rest of the session other parents were watching their kids like hawks whenever they were around that child. It made for a very uncomfortable experience – luckily the kids didn’t seem to notice the tension, and continued to playing, with no further incidents.
I emailed a few friends about the situation and got responses ranging from ‘I would probably be so embarrassed that I wouldn’t know what to do if I was the biter’s parent’ to ‘The Mom should have disciplined their child and left’, to friends telling me that I should have told the mother off! It’s interesting to see the different responses to one situation – and makes me realize, yet again, that we all have different parenting methods. Is one better than the other – maybe, maybe not.
I truly believe that even if we have the best of intentions, when put in a situation, we don’t know how to react. I’m not mad at the other Mom. Kids are kids, and 2 year olds don’t have the best communication skills yet – so these things happen. I do honestly think it could have been handled a bit better, but ultimately nothing bad happened. Maybe she is at home thinking about it now, as I am, so she is better prepared to handle it if it happens again. And maybe she isn’t.
As I’ve said before parenting is a journey. Some of us handle it with grace, and others stumble along. Personally, I’m a member of the stumbling team – and from what I have gathered, most parents – especially first time parents – are on my team. I think for the sake of the kids, we need to play nice together.