Saturday, September 09, 2006

Sharing and Biting....

Bird is connecting more with us these days which results in both him being interested in his brother and sister and utterly irritated when they don't let him get his way. Bird doesn't call for my intervention ("Mom!!.....") in these cases, he just bites, hits, and kicks them. His older brother and sister are becoming a little wary of him. They really, really want to play with him, but they don't want to endure the pain that can come from these interactions. So here is poor big brother, playing a computer game this morning, when Bird walks over and tries to edge him off the chair. That won't work, especially because his brother weighs twenty pounds more, so Bird decides to scream and bite. His poor brother is now marked with a healthy bruise on his left upper arm. He's also a tiny bit timid of his baby brother. I turned off the computer so Bird would understand that biting was not going to get him what he wanted. His dad and I gently scolded him but then, after a few more minutes of crying, I sat down to comfort him.

Here's my rationale: On one hand, Bird's got to learn that biting won't be rewarded. He's four years old and therefore working at the same cognitive developmental stage as every other four year old. That means figuring out how to share and work with other kids to negotiate space. It's important that he understand that there are other ways to get what he wants. On the other hand, the little guy doesn't have any means of vocalizing these negotiations, of saying, "Hey, can I play for a little while?" He can't tell us that he's irritated or frustrated or if his sister won't share. All he's got to pull from is a physical response.

Underneath the anger of not getting his way, I am assuming a level of frustration that he can't figure out any other way to handle it. So I scold the physical aggression and comfort the frustration. But wouldn't it be great if he could say, "Mom! He won't let me use the computer!"

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