Help, Mommies! I have a toddler school dilemma!

When J's second semester started last Monday, he had a new classmate, a little boy six months older than him. Ordinarily, before the class starts, the kids are allowed to play with the toys in the classroom, and J, New Classmate (NC) and some of the other early birds were playing. While they were playing, NC threw a toy at another classmate, a little girl who had just stepped in the door. She didn't cry but was sufficiently surprised to stick close to her mother, who stays with her during class. Like most people, I shrugged it off as an isolated incident and left J on his own to start class. Anyway, NC's mom, who was with him at that time, scolded her son right away and made him say sorry.

Fast forward to the end of the class and I was about to step inside the classroom to pick J up. NC's dad was also waiting to pick his son up and we stepped inside the classroom at the same time. I spotted J among the kids, who were all standing in the front of the room dancing to the Barney song after having their snacks. J, NC and one of the other little boys were standing together. J spotted me and I waved hi as I stepped towards him.

Then out of nowhere, THWACK!

NC slapped my son.

Of course, I rushed to my son's side to give him a hug. He was so surprised that he didn't even cry, not until I had hugged him and kissed his ouchie. He buried his face in my neck and started crying, not the loud wails that I expected, but a scared and surprised kind of crying. NC's mom and dad apologized profusely to me and scolded their son and made him say sorry, so I told them that it was no problem. It happens with kids. They looked really contrite and embarrassed so I assured them that it was alright. Then I found out that NC had also hit one of their other classmates. The boy's yaya, who came to pick him up, was indignant on behalf of her charge.

Today, J and NC were once again the early birds in the class and they were playing together. They were seated close to each other and I was keeping an eye on them both because of what happened in the previous session. (This time, NC was unaccompanied. His mom had dropped him off and would not be joining them in class.) Again, out of the blue, NC reached over to hit my son, but luckily, the class yaya was there to pull back his arm so J wasn't really hit that hard.

To make a long story short, before the class had even started, NC had hit two other classmates and kicked another in the shins. All these incidents were unprovoked. The children weren't fighting over anything. I was already concerned, but relieved that the incidents were witnessed by the teacher, who firmly reprimanded NC for his behavior and made him apologize to his classmates.

I got to thinking though. What should I do if the incidents were to continue? Big C and I tell J that hitting is not okay and that he should never hit others. Yet, as I comforted him after another child hit him, he heard me tell the other mom that it's okay. That's confusing for J. I understand that NC is just a little kid and he's still learning how to behave, but I have a responsibility to my son, to teach him what's right and to protect him from harm.

Still, I also think, what if I were in the other mom's shoes? She was obviously not happy with what her son is doing, and she does reprimand him and tell him that what he is doing is not acceptable and that he should apologize to the other kids he hurts. But I don't like that every time my son is in school, he runs the risk of getting hit. Today, after NC hit him again and when he noticed that I had left the room already, he started crying in class and called out for me for the first time. Thankfully, he stopped after a while, but still, it disturbed me enough to write about it and seek advice from other moms.

So, there's my dilemma, mommies. Any input? It would be much appreciated.


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