Toddler behavior

At our local organic cafe with his birthday truck

I have been wringing my hands over DS’s sudden fearful behaviour around other children. I have a friend who homeschools her two boys 5 years old (Y) and 2 years old (E) and I noticed that DS has become quite fearful when visiting their home which led me to soul search the wisdom in keeping bringing him into an environment where he is obviously unhappy. He is not used to shouting, loud children and pretty much ended up on my lap most of the time. I really need the time to be with a like minded mother to share thoughts and experiences, making it hard for me to decide where to draw the line.

He also has been shouted at and pulled in the homeschooling group by girls and boys. Again, this has resulted in him only wanting to be on my lap and breastfeeding frequently for comfort.

In both these instances I have deliberated what my role is. I know that I would not force DS to get off me and ‘go and play’ if that is not what he wants to do. If he wants to be with me that is absolutely fine. However, I do have a nagging doubt that he is not learning the skills he needs to handle himself in the world, where people just are nasty to each other, well some people anyway.

As I write that I know it is absurd. Why am I worrying about a 2 year old and his social skills???? He’s not supposed to have any to speak of. He’s just two! He will grab things, he will throw things, he will get angry if he doesn’t get his way. I cannot expect him not to. I guess my role is to guide him and make sure that he and other children in his environment are safe. It’s a matter of how to do that. And I am not sure what level of involvement is required from me. Do I physically restrain him with words, without words? Do I follow him around making sure that he is not hurting another child/being hurt by another child all the time? If so, are we better off not being around other kids and waiting until DS has more control over his impulses/knows how to stand up for himself?

Today DS had a blast with both boys and really enjoyed running up and down a hill of gravel, throwing stones into a pond, playing in the sand pit, making Y laugh with his tricks of throwing objects. It was pretty rough going for me to switch roles from comforter of a timid boy to having to make sure children and animals were not hurt by DS’s flying projectiles. Now DS and Y get on well and interact in a more postive way. It is pretty remarkable to see the difference. To Y’s credit, he handled himself very well when DS threw a stone at him that hit Y on the leg during a game of throwing stones into the pond. Y really wanted to throw the stone back at DS, but stopped, changed his mind and threw it into an open, empty area. He accepted my apology, his mothers explanation that DS does not yet understand that it is not fun to throw stones at people. I was really impressed with his ability to get over such a distressing event.

Sigh, we’ll see what DS’s immediate future holds with socialization. I do not want him to learn to be rough with other kids, but I do want him to learn to stand up for himself if he needs it. Too much presure for a two year old? I have no idea…. I’m making this up as I go.

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