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My 19 month old cowers from aggressive friend. I'm concerned - any suggestions?

My son has a friend that he spends a lot of time with - they're the same age - they've been described by some as acting like brothers (sometimes they get along great, sometimes they fight). The thing that concerns me is when the friend pushes or bites my son, and he either backs away and cowers from him, or lets him bite and cries. I'm afraid he's too passive, but I don't want to say "push him back" or something equally aggressive. I just don't like that sometimes he seems afraid of his "best friend".

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Asked by Anonymous at 9:26 AM on May. 9, 2009 in Toddlers (1-2)

Answers (6)
  • honestly, at this age i wouldn't let him play with an aggressive child

    Answer by gabenmikeysmom at 9:30 AM on May. 9, 2009

  • Teach your son to tell the other boy his feelings & how it hurt. Don't teach pushing back but to use words. "How did that you make you feel and then tell the other child."

    Answer by CloverE at 9:32 AM on May. 9, 2009

  • 19 months is a little early to expect social skills, especially from boys, and especially if he isn't talking much yet. I would watch the other child (like a hawk) and intervene for my son immediately and every time. At this point, your son is doing all he knows to do. If it continues, I'd wait a while to meet up with this child again. The other child could be going thru a phase, but should be taught not to hit and bite. (Doesn't mean he gets it yet, but you can't just look the other way, and expect a 19 month old to "man up".) This also doesn't mean that your son will grow up a sissy, he's a toddler, give him some time. Hope this helps! (PS-Why do they spend a lot of time together, are you friend's with his mom? or at daycare?)

    Answer by doodlebopfan at 10:29 AM on May. 9, 2009

  • This has been the situation between my son and my nephew for quite some time. There is only 8 mos difference in their ages. My nephew was born in April 01 and my son in December 01. Since they were about 2, my son has bullied my nephew. I hated that he did it but my nephew is just so passive and my son took advantage of it. We have two older girls and being that they bullied my son, he just looked for a person weaker than him to pick on. Its continued even until now. They are 7 1/2 and 8. It upsets my sil and I can understand why. We have had major talks with them about family and how we are to treat our family. My son was given a very long lecture about respect for those that annoy us or don't do what we like. I think that a child as young as yours, its better to just not allow them to play unsupervised. I know you don't want him to be bullied, but there will always be someone bigger, stronger and meaner than us.

    Answer by momofsaee at 2:16 PM on May. 9, 2009

  • Thanks, everyone...doodlebopfan - his mom and I are good friends - we're both SAHMs, and spend a lot of time together. The boys have always played really well together, and usually still do...this has only happened a few times - but the dynamic between them on those occasions has just really bothered me.

    Answer by Anonymous at 6:32 PM on May. 9, 2009

  • Don't worry, as they get older, they'll be able to play more WITH each other rather than AT each other. Toddlers, even when they are in groups, tend to play better alone. They usually don't gravitate toward each other, until they get to that "no sharing", (I mean sharing,phase, LOL!) My friend's little girl is a month older, & sometimes our 2 y/o will be a little bully. I feel it's my job to protect her from him, even though her mom is here, too. I don't know if your friend would consider taking the lead to keep her boy from being meanish to your son or not. In the mean time, when they get a little older and more verbal (probably in the next 4-6 months) it will be easier to explain, we don't hit, push, etc. We can tell them that now, but they really aren't going to practice SELF-control for a while. That's why it's important for you & your friend to "referee" for a while. It seems she's a good friend & you want to work it out.

    Answer by doodlebopfan at 10:49 PM on May. 14, 2009

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