Friday, 10 June 2011

Unhappy Slappyll

It was early morning, and all warm and cuddly in our bed. LLC snuggled for a good 30 seconds (being generous) before starting to fidget and grunt.

LLC, here’s the bear, you can give him a cuddle. It’s still early so let’s have a little snooze.”

Cue loader grunts, bear chucked on the floor and a gradual crescendo of “Eh eh eh!”
So Chris reaches out through his fog of disrupted sleep and hands her his mobile phone. Mesmerized, this buys us about three precious minutes. And then Chris is jolted awake by a consistent rap rap rap on his face with the mobile phone.

LLC’s new thing is hitting, mixed in with the usual biting and swiping for good measure. It’s not a constant thing but happens when she is frustrated about something and can’t sufficiently express herself. And she doesn’t just hit others – she also slaps herself in the face!

When this goes down, I tell her to stop, explain that we don’t hit, ask her to say sorry if she’s taken a swipe at someone else. I then ask her what is wrong, or if I recognize the issue, I try to explain why she has to get strapped into her stroller, or why she can’t have her friend E’s apple after finishing off a bowl of pasta, a banana and a pear herself.

I want to kick this slapping thing in the bum, before she hurts herself or another child. And she does know “stop” and that we don’t endorse the slapping, yet it still comes out when she gets frustrated. Is she just testing us? If I keep trying to deter her, will it eventually take affect? What’s the right balance of discipline for a 16-month old?
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