XP: How to deal with Passive Behavior in DD? — The Bump

XP: How to deal with Passive Behavior in DD?

I had my parent teacher yesterday about my daughter who will be 4 in April.  She is doing well academically and socially but is not really dealing with her peers when it comes to confrontation.  Her teacher said if someone pushes her or hits her, she won't say anything and just lets it go.  She said she is extremely friendly and never hits other students.  She said she is starting to get better and will defend herself now, but very passively.  So how do we deal with this?  I do not want to encourage her to fight however we do not want her to be picked on.  Her younger sister also hits her at times and she will defend herself or she will come and tell us/cries at times.  My mom says that our interference with her and our younger dd is what is allowing the passive behavior at school.  She believes if the younger dd hits the older dd, then we should allow the older one to hit her back.  I just don't agree with this, your thoughts?

Re: XP: How to deal with Passive Behavior in DD?

  • What are you considering passive behavior? Is she just standing there and letting them do it, or is she walking away? I don't see a problem with walking away- we teach that if you don't like what someone is doing then ask them to stop and if they don't then you can walk away. If DD or Zee (the boy I nanny) don't want to leave what they're doing then they walk away to me (or sometimes start crying, you know...) and ask for help with the situation.

    What does the PS want to sew her do?

    I definitely don't agree with your mom, though. How does that make any sense? You tell one kid "We don't hit our friends" then turn around and tell the other "You can hit because she hit first"? Talk about confusing!

    I do let the kids work conflicts out amongst themselves 90% of the time, but I step in when somebody gets physical or somebody starts to get so spooled up I can tell there is no way out. Most of the time one of them will decide whatever they're fighting about isn't that important after all and that will end it. Then they apologize and go back to playing.

    FWIW, he is 28mos and DD is 38mos.
  • I agree that you should never model hitting or other physical acts as the way to respond until she is old enough to differentiate between a real need to defend herself physically and a need to let it go and try other methods.  What I would do perhaps is role-play with her to let her know there are other ways of asserting her rights.  Like a kid takes a toy -- "no, I was playing with that first.  You can have a turn when I am done."  Or shoves -- "you aren't to push.  Please say you're sorry now."  And when to try and involve the teacher (i.e. kid ALWAYS pushes her and just smirks "sorry").  FWIW, my DD is the older and I tend to interfere as you've said.  I do encourage self-help (like saying "well, go tell DS to be gentle from now on.  You can help him learn.  Show him how to be gentle.") but there are times that parental involvement is warranted (like he's got a fistful of her hair and is yanking). 

    DD -- 5YO
    DS -- 3YO

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  • We have a more mellow older child here too.

    The thing that I've found that works the best for now is to tell HIM to "work it out" when he comes to me upset about how his younger brother is treating him or "he took my toy".

    I may sit with him and talk him thru some words he could use because frankly his mind just doesn't work that way.

    I don't rescue him from situations that make him upset.  Instead I encourage him to "find a solution" to what's upsetting to him.  We were at a public play place today where an older kid took his toy.  He came to me whining about it.  I told him that I understood how that might upset him and asked if he could think of some good words to say to the child to ask for the toy back.  When the older child brushed him off and he came back to me again we thought up some other ways to ask the child for the toy back.  He kept at it until she finally got the picture and gave it back to him. 

    He was BEAMING!!

    No hitting, no yelling, just a bit of help thinking it thru and helping him find words that might work. 

    If we're heading into a play date with a particularly over bearing child I'll sometimes do some quick role playing at home to help him practice words to use if he's getting pushed around and doesn't like it.  But again - it rarely upsets him and he just goes with the flow.  I'm kinda jealous actually! 

    If it's not upsetting him?  I'm THRILLED.  Some kids are just not that territorial about toys, etc.  I don't see that as passive.  I do believe that when it's important he's gonna do something about it.  Not every little interaction needs to be important, KWIM? 

    I teach my boys that if someone hits you you need to walk away.  I don't see that as passive, I see it as smart.

    Just because one child isn't controlling their emotions well it doesn't mean you need to encourage yours to model that lashing out behavior. 

    Our IF journey: 1 m/c, 1 IVF with only 3 eggs retrieved yielding Dylan and a lost twin, 1 shocker unmedicated BFP resulting in Jace, 3 more unmedicated pregnancies ending in more losses.
    Total score: 6 pregnancies, 5 losses, 2 amazing blessings that I'm thankful for every single day.
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