BIG Emotion, Little People

"NO!" Caleb yells to a kid coming into his play space. "Caleb! We need to be kind to our friends. This is the community space. If you can't share this space or be nice, then we can leave." He grumbles and moves on, or tells me how they are NOT his friend and he doesn't want them there. Ha, toddlers. They say what they feel and express it. They can get away with it so much more than we can. We can't yell no when someone takes our food or gets into our personal space. It is a funny and interesting experience, watching these little people relate. Yet, I still have the job of telling him to be nice to his friends. Lots of times, these kids aren't his actual friends. They are just random, innocent, nearby playing kids. And he doesn't do this a lot, but there has been a recent increase.

With a mouth full of pizza,
he is clutching his new baseball glove,
while pointing and growling at me. 
He tells me a certain friend at school, is not his friend. And he does not want him to run with him. He has also told me that this kid has kicked him, and what conversations occur from that. The day after he told me he was kicked by this kid, he reenacted what happened and said, "I went, BOW BOW BOW! And I hit him in the FACE!" This led to another conversation with him about how we do not kick or hit our friends, and that he should tell a teacher when this happens. The next day, he told me that he and this friend played and he did not hit or kick. I was pleased. I am all about peace and friendship ha....I am not good with violence between kids. I don't like kicking or hitting or anything like that.  But, Caleb's grandpa and dad both are big advocates of "if they hit you, you hit them right back." I still don't know what I think about this, I can see how it helps out on the play ground. Both his dad and grandpa have stories of how they hit or beat up some kid that picked on them, and never had trouble again. So I have never told Caleb otherwise when they say this to him. I just am not good with playground stuff like that. I never got into fights. Girls usually get into fights with words. Just as harmful and painful. Though, I did not often have those situations either.

I don't know if Caleb even knows what I mean when I tell him to be kind. Even though I have explained this before, it is probably better to show him examples of this. I don't even know if what I say when this sort of stuff happens is the best. I never like seeing him hit a friend if they are trying to take his toy or something. This happened the other day, and while I was consoling the crying 2 year old boy (such a cute chubby cheek boy), I said to Caleb, "We do not hit. Do you see how it hurts other people?" I was not a happy camper, even though I did see that it was instigated by potential toy theft. Amy is really good with all this stuff. She has always been into kids and child development. I took a few classes in that area in college while getting my degree in Psychology, but really, everything I learn has been on the job. And I don't even know if I do it the most effective way.

Anyone have any thoughts about any of this? This "rules of the playground" thing is one I am still unsure about. And I really love his grandpa and his stories. He knows how boys are more than I do with these things. I am not an advocate of fights or hitting if not in self defense. And I know that this isn't something we have to deal with right now, it is just something I have kind of thought about. Especially with some friends hitting and kicking at school. I think this is all natural and normal behavior. Kids just have to learn how to express themselves in a better way. A lesson even some adults could stand to learn again.

Caleb has also told me when he is in a bad mood, which is good. I think it is important to help these little people understand that they have these different moods, and that they are okay to have. Even if they are a pain in the butt to deal with. And when he tells me that his feelings hurt, he usually means it in a physical way. Like he hit his foot, he tells me his feelings hurt. It's cute.