When your toddler is hurting others…

You are not alone. I have crossed over to this side; the side no parent wants to be on.


All daycare parents know who that kid is, the one that hits and bites our kids. The one we all dread; the poor little kid we hold a ridiculous grudge against. Every class has one.

But what I didn’t know, was that this month, my kid was going to be the problem.

I received my first pink slip. It said, “She scratched a friend on the face.”

For the first time, my kid was not the victim. I was stunned. I didn’t know how to react. I was so familiar with the receiving end of this situation. My kid has been bitten, slapped, kicked, hit, scratched and tackled.  I never imagined myself dealing with this. I was a good mom. My daughter was a good kid. This only happens to bad kids and bad parents right?


That night I cut and filed her nails as short as I could get them. I told her repeatedly that we don’t hurt our friends.

“It is not nice,” I told her, “We are nice to our friends.”

The next day I got another report. This one said that she scratched three more kids that day. I couldn’t believe it.

I tried to find the root of the problem, to find out why she was doing it. But there wasn’t a reason– she just scratched them and walked away. They weren’t fighting over a toy or a snack. Nothing.

I filed her nails again that night. I talked to her as much as I could talk to a 2.5-year-old about it. But it kept happening.

I met with the teachers and the director.  We had talked about re-direction, teaching her to use her words and I even sent a written letter giving the school permission to give her time-outs, because time-outs are against their policies. I wanted to stop it from happening.

A few weeks went by, it continued. Each day my daughter preyed upon random innocent victims and she scratched them.

By now, every parent had figured out that it was my daughter who was scratching their kids. I know because during drop-off and pick-up, I got dirty looks and icy cold glares, the same glares I all used to give that kid’s mom.

I wanted them all to know that my daughter is a good kid, she is a sweet kid. This is not like her. I am not raising a little asshole. But I know it won’t matter, even if I say the words out loud. When it comes to our kids, anybody that hurts them is an asshole. It’s part of being a mom, or a dad, it’s an instinct we get, a grudge we hold against anyone who dares to hurt our babies.

I spent countless hours on the internet researching this and trying different methods to prevent it and control it. I had several talks with my pediatrician.

During this time, I learned that it is very common for toddlers to do this. My daughter was not acting out– she was acting 2. It is a phase – a phase that will not define or determine who she will grow up to be.

It turns out, it was just a phase. And it lasted for about a month. And then it was over.

Being that parent of that kid who hurt other kids was one of the hardest months of being a parent.

Even thought she was acting like that kid for a short while, she is still a good kid.

Maybe we should stop to think that perhaps all of our kids are good kids, while being that kid is only a phase. Maybe we need to be more supportive of other parents during this phase. Or maybe not. But we should stop judging everyone for how their kids act and how their parents parent. It’s all hard and we are all doing our best with what we’ve got. I’ve been on both sides—they both suck.

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