help a brother mother out

what do i do?!?!?

note: the victim was a sweet little girl in the one year olds' class (why didnt he just push layla! she's in that class too, at least then it would be something that makes a little sense: sibling rivalry). apparently this is the second day he has targeted this same little girl and shoved her out of nowhere on the playground.

i always prepared for and worried about judah getting hurt by other kids. remember the girl at school who repeatedly targeted him when he was 9 months old and BIT him two different times? first on the head (seriously?!?!?) and then a few days later on the hand...breaking this skin, no less.

but somehow i didn't play out the scenario in my head where he is the one hurting other kids. (1 year old girls, especially!) this is terrifying and i feel SO awful for the little girl and her parents. we have obviously never modeled shoving and in fact have been really consistent about telling him that hands are for high fives and hugs, never for hitting of pushing. but i also remember how terribly i thought the parents of the biter must be. now i realize it's freaking hard to control a 2 year old!

so he went rogue this week and i just dont know what to do know. the child is not even 2 and a half yet, so much of what i would like to say to him, he wouldnt really understand. my first instinct yesterday was to talk to him about it in the car and then to keep going over and over it again and again to really make him miserable to pound it home. but after two rounds of that i knew we were getting into, "parents, dont frustrate your children" territory and i just let it go since he seemed to understand the basics (me: "judah do we push people?" judah: "NOOOOOOO").

but i would have bet money that he knew those basics before too. and he still did it. twice. to the same little girl.

i KNOW that my kid is sweet and loving and has had great examples all around him, but i also refuse to be a parent blinded by love and a a refusal to see the reality of things when they are less than my expectations or wishes, when there is a problem with my child's behavior or heart (sin is a heart issue that goes way deep even in precious kids, after all). i just want to encourage him to rely on his healthy and loving reactions and behaviors rather than the impulsive, unkind broken ones.

we are so thankful that judah has the exact 2 teachers that he does. they are amazing and we love them. they handled it JUST the way i would have hoped for and tried to do it myself: lovingly pulling him out of the situation, correcting him and offering a positive alternative and a suitable 2 year old punishment. and they communicated via note and face to face with us in such a positive and encouraging way that didnt condemn us as parents or judah as a kid. we LOVE yall, ms. R & ms C (or is it a K?)!

so what do i do? does he have a bully gene to be doing this out of the blue? is this a freak thing that most kids go through and nothing to really worry about? calling all reinforcements, teachers, moms, HELP!!


  1. I wouldn't over-worry about it. It's what kids do - he's learning how to be a productive member of society (doesn't seem like it, though, does it?) and what the rules are in order to be a productive member. As long as he's being appropriately corrected when the incident occurs, then that's the main thing. I doubt he's really old enough to even remember that it happened (much less "why" it happened), so I would just keep talking about "good behavior" in general at home. Find some books on behavior...the "Best Behavior" series is good with titles like "Hands are Not for Hitting" and "Teeth are Not for Biting" and others like those. Good luck! This is the territory that I'm not looking forward to experiencing again! :)

  2. Nah--no bully gene in that sweetie! You're doing great K8! Hang tight, they don't realize sometimes--hey, when he's in HS and pushes a girl it'll be because he "likes" her! Maybe he's just ahead of his time! :) Just save that note for the scrap book!

  3. Judah is not a bully. He is a kid of the King and his flesh is being a bully. Speak out the truth of who he is and remind him of that. I would even encourage you to take that title off of FB. Continue to correct him and back it up with scripture. Even discipline if needed. Lil boys are just that.... and sometimes pruning is needed. He is a LOVING, KIND boy growing into the image of his sweet Savior. Hold strong to the truth of who he is.
    I say this only because I have SPOKEN out so many untruths about my children with out even realizing it.....LORD BLESS HIM AND KEEP HIM. MAKE YOUR FACE TO SHINE UPON HIM. RAISE YOUR COUNTENANCE ON HIM, AND GIVE HIM PEACE.

  4. @melissa YES a book. he LOVES imitating things he see on TV or read in our books.

    @meloni thanks, girl. i hope he'll flirt a little more gently when the time comes.

    @anonymous. thank you for this beautiful encouragement! i actually meant to tweet "judah the bully?" with a question mark because obviously i think so highly of him as my child and jesus'. thank you for encouraging me to speak life into and about my kids in such a loving and respectful way.

  5. I totally think he has a crush ;-) Or is just learning boundaries... I'm so glad he has good teachers... and good parents!

  6. completely normal for a boy his age and I applaud you for still taking age appropriate actions to help him. He might grow more defiant before he gets better, but with all of that love and support, it will simply be a stage

  7. Have you ever been told the right thing to do but still chosen the wrong thing? Are you evil? Nah, didn't think so. Human nature, free will, and being two and having words but not real sure how to use them to convey feelings. That is what you are dealing with here. He knows the boundaries with his sister, which is probably why he didn't mess with her. When he uses his hands appropriately (hugging Layla, picking up a toy, even putting food in his mouth), let him know he's doing a great job of using his hands and arms for the reasons they were intended. Don't harp on the "do not's" except when they have done one or as a little reminder just before you drop him off for the day. Kids his age need repetition, but when it is relevant, otherwise it loses meaning. You are a good mom. You are concerned and seeking advice on your blog! That's evidence enough that you care. Just remember how much we go off the path that we are directed to follow, and we're grown-ups! Hang in there. These years are tough, but you do get to see the fruits eventually. ;-)

  8. Great comments, and great responses, Keight. I admire you for seeking advice, and your responses to it. I too see the amazing kindness (as you do) that is in Judah, and the incredibly sweet spirit he has. Sometimes it's easy to take our children's normal 'not really sure why I did that' behavior and blow it out of proportion because we feel like we're not being good parents and remembering the way we felt about other parents (it's incredible how much 'experience' changes our perspective and helps us give other's some grace!) I like to think of parenting as love and grace with boundaries. It's very hard for us to know our children's motives (we have a hard enough time trying to figure out our own) so we have to be careful not to attribute evil or perfect motives to them) although we can certainly recognize and applaud good behavior and encourage good motives. My personality and upbringing headed me in the direction of correction (and over correction, and very little recognition for doing the right thing) so I had to really work at not just expecting good behavior and just coming down hard on bad behavior, as well as recognizing when something I did or wanted contributed to their bad behavior. I'd sometimes let me off the hook, but keep them on it (couldn't see that at the time.) I really wanted to be a good, responsible, godly parent, but at times, I'm sure I missed recognizing their precious hearts and connecting with those hearts in my desire to stamp out bad behavior at any cost! Above all remember that parenting is a learning experience for you, Jesse and your children. You are a good mother, and you will become a better mother as you allow Jesus to continually speak to your heart and whisper words of encouragement and 'adjustment' to you, and as you pray for your children to be able to hear that still small voice as well. I love you and am so proud of you!

  9. Judah is a fallen man just like the rest of us. He thinks with his flesh. No matter the things that you repeat and warn about and encourage kids will be kids.. they will push, bite, and be unkind. Just continue doing what your doing.. encouraging and praising kindness and loving hands:)

  10. It's likely Judah is frustrated by something and instead of using his words, he's using actions. If the teachers see it coming, they can likely head it off before it happens. You can also talk to him about using his words instead of just pushing. Impulse control is a difficult thing for a two year old!