Some of Toddler in Chief's friends are bruisers. They're big and they'll knock him down, crash into him, or crush any and all limbs blocking access to a cool toy. Other friends enjoy cause and effect. They pinch, squeeze, bite, pull hair, and kick because it's fascinating to hear the cries and see the tears that inevitably follow. TIC even has a feisty side if cars are involved--or if he's functioning without a nap. But even these mean moments don't makes kids bad at heart. Kids are simply puny humans without the vocabulary, patience, or self-control, or awareness to know what the right thing to do is.
And without guidance, there is chaos. How would TIC know that hitting or pushing to get what you want is wrong? And if no one pointed it out, how would he know it's not okay to push or hit back? "Preschoolers are so focused on their own wants and needs that sharing just isn't a priority...[But] they can be surprisingly generous when adults encourage them and set a good example." And that's what parents are for. Part of my job is to intervene, to provide guidance, to teach the rules, to help TIC learn to settle the score in a positive way. If parent just stood on the sidelines, kids would not learn the socially acceptable way to avoid, diffuse, or resolve disputes. We'd end up with a toddler version of anarchy.
Sure, kids are capable of working out small disagreements without intervention, but if it escalates to include words or actions that are hurtful (like biting, hitting, or pulling of hair), then it's time to get involved. Besides, kids need boundaries and consequences to help them feel safe and loved.