Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Baby punches

Baby Punches

I went to the battered women's shelter where I volunteer last night. Before group time,I eat supper upstairs with the residents. A few minutes after I sat down, a toddler (age 2)socked an older child. Hard. Made a red mark on her face. Kids and adults immediately told him, "No hitting. That's bad!" An hour later, he gave a little girl a bloody lip in the playroom. Both shots with no provocation that any of us noticed.

I've seen plenty of aggression among kids of all ages, in many different settings. Babies and toddlers are always hitting each other (especially siblings). But when an especially aggressive young child hurts others in a battered women's shelter, I always wonder if he's just expressing frustration like any little kid with limited language or if he's aggressive because of the violence he's witnessed in his home. Then there's the fact he's just been uprooted from his home and lost some of the people he loves, like grandparents and Dad).

But then I wonder if a neurological/biological problem is already rearing its nasty head. His aggression may be all those things. Or none of them.

Anyone working or living or volunteering at a shelter must put away pre-conceived notions and assumptions. Watch, listen, take part, support, but don't judge.

Everyone there has had their share of attitude, advice, and opinion. Let them work things out at their own rate of speed.
There's no time limit on learning how to live again.

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