4

I have a 2-year-old toddler who is happy going and social.

Our maid's 10 year old son came with her and sat in the drawing room. Toddler was playing nearby. I told her to say hello to the boy and play with him. She agreed happily after being told the same a second time.

She started pointing to him and saying "Bhaiya" (referred to a male elder to you but younger than your father), repeatedly. He didn't respond.

She kept on showing him her toys. He didn't respond.
She wanted him to come over the other room to show (introduce) him to me. So, she repeatedly said "Bhaiya come" to him, and kept on running back and forth to him to see if he's coming or not. He didn't respond.

I was observing all this from the other room. On seeing the plight of my daughter, I jumped in the scene and started talking to her and paying attention to her so that she wouldn't feel ignored. I told her to pick up certain toy and show it to the boy which she did. Boy responded by just holding the toy. I kept on continuously responding to the toddler so that she didn't feel that she was talking to walls.

The daughter started crying when the boy left.
The boy is a villager and was shy. He is not to be blamed.

My question here is that in such situations should I:

  • pretend to be deaf and blind and let the toddler learn the lesson that everyone may not be friendly towards her even if she is towards them?

or

  • jump in the situation to heal the toddler's hurt feelings?

Clarification:

I am not very keen on knowing how to deal with that boy or how to start a communication with that boy and my child.

Reason is that that boy was just one case. There can be cases where the person with whom my toddler wants to interact may not be interested in interacting either because they are tired or they are busy or they are not interested or shy or uncomfortable or whatever.

Her father is usually busy in scrolling Twitter. He doesn't respond before the child yells at him minimum 4 times. Even when he responds, he says "Haaan" and continues scrolling Twitter.

Creating an interest in the other person is not my problem, I think.

I need to know how to deal with my child, not with the other person.

  • 10
    Why keep pushing her to interact with someone who isn't interested? Just say, oh, Bhaiya doesn't feel like playing today. Why don't you do <activity she can do alone or with you>? Teach her to be sensitive to others rather than keep attempting to impose her (or your) will on them. – Aravis Jun 5 '15 at 15:43
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    @Aravis I get your point. Thanks. – Aquarius_Girl Apr 9 at 3:42
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+400

My question here is that in such situations should I:

  • pretend to be deaf and blind and let the toddler learn the lesson that everyone may not be friendly towards her even if she is towards them? or

  • jump in the situation to heal the toddler's hurt feelings?

In this particular situation, you encouraged your child to

say hello to the boy and play with him.

That's a problem. There are not many 10 year old kids (in my culture: US) who would want to play with a 2 year old, though certainly some would be charmed to do so. Since you want to focus on your child's feelings, I would recommend first that you don't build up her expectations when she is told to approach someone.

It's perfectly fine to teach a child to be gracious to a guest in the home by greeting them, and even to ask if they want to play, but it should end there. If she is being ignored, it's wise to step in. Pull her aside and explain that, unfortunately, the older child isn't interested/is too shy/any other that applies. That way, she doesn't really become too invested in the idea of playing with the child, and certainly not to feel rejected to the point of tears.

Personally I don't think it's ever wrong to address a child's distress, especially if you played a significant part in creating it. How to address it depends on the situation, but addressing it is a sign of caring, and what child in distress doesn't want to feel cared for?

  • I get your point. I shouldn't have told her the second time to play with him. I should have told her to greet him and then I should have gone out of scene. – Aquarius_Girl Apr 9 at 3:37
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    @Aquarius_Girl - Not so much out of the scene as monitoring it from a distance, and stepping in if consolation is needed. :) – anongoodnurse Apr 10 at 0:34
7

Is there a reason you cannot combine the two approaches? It sounds like your ultimate goal is to raise a happy, well-adjusted child who can interact with many different people in different situations (to which I say YAY). In this case, especially considering you're dealing with a 2-year-old, I'd suggest trying to bridge the gap between your two scenarios.

Step in and facilitate communication between the two children. As it sounds like he was closing himself off as much as possible, maybe try to help him get out of his shell a bit by sitting with him and explaining what the toddler wants and why she's asking him to play with her; very few of us humans don't like to be needed and wanted. Ask him what YOU can do to help him feel more comfortable (he might not know). If he's still not interacting, explain to her why he's not playing with her ("Bhaiya is new to our house and feels a bit shy; maybe we could play with the toy with him instead? Or maybe you could share another toy?") so he can hear YOU interceding on his behalf and trying to find ways to help him feel comfortable in this environment.

And when/if he leaves and your child is disappointed, take a few minutes to remind her of how kind and welcoming she was, what a good job she did sharing, and how she tried her best to make him feel better. At two, their brains are growing and learning so much that it might not seem to make an impact, but your repeated lessons about understanding how others are feeling and finding different ways to interact with them are going to become part of who she is, hopefully leading to the empathetic, engaging adult you're raising.

Edit based on clarification:

The idea here is not to teach her how to interact with this one particular person, but to use situations such as the one presented to model the behavior you want her to emulate. If you want her to try to empathize with someone who is uncomfortable in an environment where she has more comfort, engage with her to find different ways to increase the comfort of the person. If you want her to learn how to handle disappointment when someone rebuffs her advances, talk with her about how sometimes people don't want to participate with her play, and help her find ways to deal with her disappointment (I have a 'hugger,' and she's learned both to ask before she hugs, and how to handle the disappointment when someone refuses her request, and is getting much better at handling disappointment in other areas of her life as a result.)

3

If she's remaining calm and the other person isn't getting mad at her, let her try to resolve the situation herself. If the other person starts getting annoyed or she starts getting frustrated, redirect her and amuse her yourself.

It's a good thing for toddlers to have to deal with situations where others don't react the way they want sometimes. It helps them learn better social skills. (Younger siblings often have better social skills than oldest children, because their older sibling is less cooperative than an adult is.) However, if she's getting upset, she's not in a good state to learn new skills.

0

pretend to be deaf and blind and let the toddler learn the lesson that everyone may not be friendly towards her even if she is towards them?


jump in the situation to heal the toddler's hurt feelings?

As listed above, your question requests a binary answer (i.e., 0, 1) for any reason, which is not a concern and I'd like to simplify your suggested reactions as: NO ACTION or ACTION.

Relaxing the maid/maid's son in the equation:

  • Usually maids or labors who perform very repetitive works that does not require much mental focus have many problems and when they work, they tend to usually think about their own problems, which may or may not apply to your case.
  • I'm positive that maid's son may have had a long list of not-to-dos and staying at his best behaviors.
  • It may be worthwhile to note that maybe your maid/maid's son may have had a rough day, among many other reasons, whether rational or irrational ones to have taken such steps, maybe even with good intentions.

Thus, relaxing the maid/maid's son in the equation can be helpful to reach a solution rather easier, as you have mentioned very well, because there may be other cases in the future.

ACTION vs. NO ACTION

I would moderately suggest NO ACTION, without knowing much detailed information:

  • Children at such ages are much emotionally intelligent than one may assume.
  • Based on what you have written in the question, your daughter seems to be emotionally intelligent and she was already fighting for herself rather good and rather hard and was trying to follow your initial recommendation. I would have picked ACTION once/if she was not trying in the situation, or once/if she would have lost interest in the situation and her repeating actions (Repeating actions are evident signs of learning).
  • Reality will be learn one day. Of-course, this is superbly time-dependent and age-dependent and situation-dependent. However, this situation does not seem very emotionally drastic or brutal, in my opinion. Thus, NO ACTION would be still okay and on the table, as you have rationally suggested in your question.
  • A child of such intelligence usually may or may not enjoy authoritative actions much, whether in the form of help or in form of control.
  • NO ACTION is a riskier choice in this scenario as compared to ACTION, obviously, yet based on your story, it appears that you may be also a risk-taker and thinker of some sort. Thus, there is a good and reasonable chance that your daughter may be and may behave like you. Thus, you could risk and trust her, even at such age due to her intelligence, and let her act for it and harmlessly learn from it.

In sum, NO ACTION is a risky choice, but my pick, even though it is hard for me to imagine the level of risk, but I'm pretty positive that you are well-informed about the risk, and probably have made the right decision.

-3

My question here is that in such situations should I:

  • pretend to be deaf and blind and let the toddler learn the lesson that everyone may not be friendly towards her even if she is towards them? or

  • jump in the situation to heal the toddler's hurt feelings?

I would go with the latter, but let me qualify a bit. See if this fits with your own ideas:

  • Next time you see a situation like this likely to develop, try to avoid the problem. Perhaps you could take your daughter outside to play, go do some water play in another room, go for a walk, go in the bedroom and read a book, etc., etc.

  • If you weren't able to do avoidance, then let her experience some feeling of hurt before stepping in to help.

  • You can give a simplified explanation to your daughter when something like this happens. It's okay if she doesn't understand completely yet.

Source for this answer: My parenting experience. Also, I have lived in the third world and understand your basic premise, that you wouldn't be comfortable pushing the boy in your example to be more outgoing. He is in his mother's employer's house, and he may be uncomfortable. He should have the right to withdraw from interaction.

Her father is usually busy in scrolling twitter. He doesn't respond before the child yells at him minimum 4 times. Even when he responds, he says "Haaan" and continues scrolling Twitter.

That is something I can relate to; you might want to bring this issue up in a separate question. The boy in your example isn't part of your family. The twitterer is -- and to my eyes, that is very different.

The good news is that my absent-minded husband has come a long way in the last 20 years since our older child was born, and does significantly less tuning out than he did waay back then. (Although the problem has not disappeared entirely.)

  • You haven't explained what would happen if I let her suffer and do not intervene nor you have talked about why w.r.t your answer. – Aquarius_Girl Jun 6 '15 at 16:47
  • @TheIndependentAquarius if you don't intervene, I am afraid her suffering would continue and it might be distressful for her and embarrassing for the boy and for his mother. Two-year-olds can be quite stubborn, and in my experience, they have a limited ability to understand withdrawal as a personal choice the boy is entitled to make, and also as an expression of socio-economic and cultural differences. However, you could find out by repeating the experiment and this time don't intervene so quickly, and see how much time, pain and embarrassement are needed for her to stop trying to engage him. – aparente001 Jun 7 '15 at 5:42
  • Sorry, what should I try to explain the "why" about? I got a bit lost here. – aparente001 Jun 7 '15 at 5:48

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