Monday, May 20, 2013

Little Jaws

One of the things that stresses me out more than anything about being a parent is when my kid does something that is so far outside of the social norm that I cringe with shame. I am working on it. It's hard to compartmentalize to understand that your children are their own people and as they grow older they have the ability to make their own choices. Sometimes good, sometimes not so good.

I certainly do not my encourage child to smack a kid or bite a child or pull someone's hair, but when she does I feel like the worst mom in the world. I feel like I am being judged and people are saying things about how awful and out of control my kid is. Of course all of that is learned from her  misguided parents that are clearly doing something wrong. The reasonable rational part of me understands that other parents likely understand, but the emotional part of me feels badly.

On Saturday at the splash pad party, Lydia bit someone. It's the first time she has done that. She got mad. I didn't see it happen, but as everything unfolded I heard her name as the biter. I asked her. She admitted to it immediately. She said she wanted her balloon, and though balloons are a high commodity at 2 1/2, it was not okay. She apologized and sat in time out. We talked about why that was wrong. She cried. She sat some more. Later that night before bed, I asked her about it again. She remembered what she had done but I am not sure she really understood that it was wrong. I had the same conversation again. Biting is wrong. We do not bite friends. Teeth are for eating. Teeth are for smiling. Teeth are for brushing. If we feel upset, come find mom.

The lingering fear now is that it will happen again. That this is the beginning of an epidemic. She is starting school in the Fall and I imagine the music track of a horror film with a mini little 21/2  year old Jaws eating all her classmates. How do I ensure that it stops there? How do I know if she really understood? What is that balance between talking to your child about appropriate behavior and giving her ideas? I always struggle with wanting to over do it. Wanting to talk more about whatever the situation is, but having to remember that she is only 2 1/2.

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