By: Naomi Maharaj
Think you have this parenting thing down to a science? You handle messes, tiffs, and tears without a bat of an eyelash? Or are you constantly second guessing yourself? Reading parenting books and trying to decide what parenting style you want to implement? Take this parenting quiz (part 1 of 6) to see your score.
You and your toddler are at a local play place. You have your eye on your toddler playing at the train table. He is playing with 3 trains. There are 10 more trains on the table.
Another toddler approaches yours and snatches 2 of the trains from his hands. Your toddler hits the other child and grabs his trains back.
The other toddler starts crying, “He hit me”.
You and the other parent respond.
a) Tell your child to use his words and not his fists. You tell him to tell you the next time someone takes something he is playing with.
b) Use this an opportunity to teach your child about sharing.
c) Give your child a time out for hitting / remove him from the trains.
d) Hi-Five your child for his good aim. No one steals from your kid.
If you answered A: You are incorrect.
Saying, “I know she took the trains you were playing with, but use your words”, may be taken as a snide comment, letting the other parent know your child was responding to something theirs did.
If you answered B: You are incorrect.
It won’t take long for your child to point out all the other trains on the table. Why should he share his 3 when there are 10 others to play with?Forcing a child to share when something is taken from him seems to send the wrong message about sharing.
If you answered C: You are incorrect.
Time outs solve all conflicts, right? Contrasting styles will indicate you are teaching the child that he is in trouble for standing up for himself.
If you answered D: you are no more wrong than all the others are. Supporting your child for standing up for himself is supported by some. But the crying child in front of you is not likely to earn you a parenting award.
The point? No matter what you do, someone else will do it differently. Your attempt to send one message can be distorted by the other messages sent at the same time.
It is never easy to deal with a situation where your child hits another, and harder still when you can understand where the action came from. The other child isn’t at fault either; it seems natural to want to play with the toy that is keeping another’s interest.
I am not a parenting expert (I failed this quiz too). What I answered doesn’t matter, but I would try to keep my cool, hoping that treating the other child and her parent calmly and with respect will be seen, and modelled, by my child.
What’s your parenting style? How would you handle this situation?
Naomi Maharaj is mom to two boys, ages 2 and 3. She started the blog Laughing Mom when her second son was a few months old as a way to highlight the lighter side of parenting. In the face of sleep deprivation, crying babies and tantruming toddlers she hopes to be able to see, and share, the humor in it all. Naomi occasionally comments on current events or human interest pieces that catch her attention. Connect with Naomi on Facebook.