When Joaquin turned two, his yaya (nanny) had to leave because she was due to give birth in a few months. I was anxious about Joaquin adjusting to the new one I hired. True enough, I saw how Joaquin acted rudely towards her. When she would just start to approach him, he would shout “Go away!” And when she would be close enough, Joaquin would slap her on the face. Something that Joaquin never really did to any of us.
What do you do in a situation like this?
While it was completely wrong for Joaquin to shout and hit a person like that, I understood why he did it. He simply didn’t like that person. Not because he’s just a baby means that he should like everyone instantly. Whether this concerns a house helper, or a tita, or a playmate, we need to respect their personal preferences too. Shouting and hitting is their way to express what they cannot verbally articulate yet…that they just dont want to be forced to be held or even be near someone they don’t like.
So two things I did. First, I disciplined him for shouting and hitting. I didn’t want him to think that it was okay to hurt someone that he didn’t like, because rudeness is an unacceptable behavior. Second, I looked for another yaya. I showed him I respected his feelings by not forcing anyone on him that he wasn’t comfortable with. Thank God it didn’t take me that long to find the yaya whom he openly welcomed!
Just as we as adults have preferences in terms of people we spend time with or allow to come close to us, young children do too. And we need to respect that.