What to do when your child is hurt by another child

Your child is absolutely opposite to the other kids you see in public. She does not interact with other kids and if she does, she’s completely unsure, and shy. You’re always worried about how will she cope with the harshness of the society.

All that I said above is my child. He is a definite observer, a quiet and sensitive child.

Let me share a classic toy snatching scenario and the emotions that follow along with it. Then we’ll talk about possible reactions to the situation to keep everything positive and respectful.

You are in the play area in the mall or at a toy store with your child, and you see another child is very diligently playing with all the trains available at the toy train station. Your child is mesmerized by the play and waits for his/her to be finished and quietly takes over the train station as this other child moves on. You are so proud of your child’s patience.

But as soon as your child starts playing, another little child rushes over and starts playing with the trains, when your child tries to get back into the play he gets pushed; leaving your child confused, frustrated and possibly tearful.

You saw everything, you’re angry because you know the other child should not have done that, and you are also adult enough to know you shouldn’t intervene in kids play.

But, you question your thought about not becoming your child’s advocate, especially since you know he did the right things and was yet pushed over and is so hurt now.

Plus, you are wondering where is this new child’s parent and why are they letting them run wild like this?

I understand your dilemma mom, I’ve been there so many times.

And I too cringe to defend my quiet boy. Honestly, sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t — I do for sure when there is pushing involved. When my son is still at the spot trying to figure out what happened in such hurry, and when I’m very close by, I gently tell the child there was no need for pushing. 

Really, very often toys are not the real reason for feeling hurt, it’s the fact that someone pushed them. After all, it is a physical violation and a very strong body language.

Especially when the child is more sensitive and sensible kinds; who wouldn’t do the same to someone else, they get hurt because they know it was wrong.


How to respond when your child is hurt?

The first thing, you should be proud of your child to know the right from the wrong; it’s a big deal. Secondly, it’s important to tell them the other child’s possible perspective in a positive way. Maybe even practice how to use their words to convey their thoughts.

It’s an opportunity for you to teach your child about emotions and how sometimes when we are overwhelmed with our emotions we don’t think about others, even though we should.

Tell them — “Just like you the other boy was mesmerized by the trains, and wanted to play with them. He was probably so excited, he did not notice you were working with them. But he did not ask, did he? It would have been nice of him to have joined you, without pushing you away. He probably did not hurt you intentionally but in his excitement of wanting to play with the trains, he pushed you.”

Let them work with this intense perspective, and give them time to understand what happened, and to get comfortable with the explanation you gave them.

Then go ahead and ask them if they would still like to play with the trains? Depending on the answer encourage them to go and play with them, in-spite of the other playing with them Or if they want to leave the place, for now, respect their decision. Maybe come back in a few minutes to see if he would like to play now. A little break often sets everything in right perspective.

With little kids between 1-2 yrs of age, when they can’t talk much, vocalizing their emotions helps tremendously — “That little boy did not ask, did he? You’re upset about being pushed! I’m sorry you went through that. Do you want to get back into the play? It’s alright to go and play with the trains again!”

It is important to stay calm and composed when your child comes to you when they’re hurt, NEVER hush them up saying “it’s okay”, or “you are fine”. They’re not going to learn that it’s okay. They’re instead going to feel unheard and will start feeling unsafe about sharing their emotions with you and would start feeling lost because they’ll no longer know who to share such raw emotions with. This is an opportunity for you to show unconditional love to your child.

In my humble opinion, it really is “not okay”. I mean, think about it; are you not going to feel angry when someone pushes you in a grocery shopping aisle just to walk ahead? You would be furious, wouldn’t you be? It’s the same reaction; but in kids, it’s expressed as confusion.

Hitting and Pushing are very common amongst toddlers, this article here explains the problem in detail; including the reason, possible triggers and the solution to hitting and pushing. To help you understand the behavior and stop it from becoming a habit.

Solutions to toy snatching

Kids are very smart and quick learners; very soon they start to recognize trigger points, when there is a chance of conflicts, and will often come up with solutions by themselves.

All we need to do is trust them that they can deal with this, it’s a problem their size and they will most definitely come up with a solution and surprise you!

Like for my son at about 18 months of age, he understood early on, mom is not going to come to save me, I have to do something about this by myself.

This is what he did — He also realized he was a tall boy, and if he raised a toy high above his head with his hand stretched out, he can save it from being taken. Anytime he would see a child approaching, that’s what he would do. On a lighter note; he would do that for us too when he did not want to give us something, he would raise it above; making it more accessible to us.

Yes, they will learn to stand up for themselves, but that’s only after they feel comfortable with themselves, and know that they’re

I always choose to believe in the possible good in the situation, it helps me stay more grounded, and give the same vibe to my son who is desperately wanting to know why did the child push him.

Seeing your child get upset when they do the right thing can be difficult. However, we must remember it is a learning opportunity for them.

Child Hurt in a Fight

Author

Kanwal Grewal

Hi, I’m Kanwal; mom of two very kind and confident kids. I started this website because I wanted to share my knowledge on respectful parenting, and my passion for slow and intentional childhood. I specialize in dealing with difficult kids’ behavior and kids’ psychology.

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