My toddler thinks it's fun to push other kids.
Completely unprovoked, and with an expressionless gaze, she walks up to her victim, plants her palms on his tummy, and pushes him to the ground. It happens at the park, it happens at play dates, it happens at the pool, it happens everywhere.
When she pushes, I firmly tell her, "NO" and then I scoop her up, remove her from the situation and find a quiet corner to remind her, "No. We don't push our friends. Are you ready to be nice?" She hangs her head down and tries to look away, then we head back into things and usually within three seconds she's pushed someone again.
I always discipline her, sometimes even giving her a spank on her bottom (but that's a post for another day), and yet she keeps on pushing. I praise her when she is gentle or shows love, like giving a little friend a hug. She knows that pushing is bad, but she keeps on doing it. Kind of like how I know that donuts give me a fat rump but I keep on eating them. Mmmm. Donuts.
This being my third kid, I am more annoyed than concerned. When my eldest was her age she went through a chest-bumping phase where she'd walk up to a kid and then chest-bump them to the ground, just for the fun of it (FYI: this was never modeled to her). I was so worried she was going to grow up to become a psycho, and I felt so bad about her behaviour and didn't know how to fix it. Now I know that it just seems to be in my kids' blood to be an aggressive little turd for a while, then grow up into a nice person. I just have to be consistent and continue not to tolerate the pushing, and she'll get it eventually.
Still, in that moment, when it's my kid beating up someone else's, it kind of sucks to be me.
Did your kids ever go through an aggressive stage? Did you feel judged by other parents? How did you deal with it?