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My neighbor's 4 year old little girl constantly asks if she can hold my 9 month old son. I always nicely say no which she then responds that our other neighbor, with a son the same age as mine, let's her hold her baby. I'm not comfortable with a child holding an infant so how can I respond to this little girl without hurting her feelings?


Pamela Waterman Replied: First, stick to what makes you feel comfortable (I happen to agree with you!) Come right out and say, "Everyone's different, and this is what makes me feel comfortable." Then, use that great parenting tool -- distraction. Say, "While I hold him, you can be a great help by holding this book of baby-face pictures and turning the pages for him. He's too little to do that -- and you're so big." or "He loves it if you'd play pattycake with him and make funny faces while I hold him in my lap."
Posted On 2005-09-20 11:45:53
Annie Fox, M. Ed. Replied: This little girl loves babies! When she sees one she has deep feelings of love and nurturance that she's eager to express. Those are good things and should be encouraged. However, if you're not comfortable with this 4 year old holding your son, then of course, that's where you draw the line. I'm wondering, though, does your discomfort have to do with the girl's age or with a general feeling you have toward anyone wanting to hold your baby? Of course this is completely your choice and you shouldn't let guilt sway you from what you believe is in the best interest of your son. But I believe you could find a solution (within your comfort zone) so that your little neighbor could express some of her positive feelings. For example, are you willing to let her touch tickle the baby's toes? Feed him while he's on your lap or in a high chair? Would you be willing for this little girl have your baby sit on her lap while she sits on a couch and you sit right next to her? Granted, it's not your responsibility to provide learning experiences for your neighbor's daughter, but when you provide safe opportunities for your baby to receive love and caring from others, you provide wonderful learning experiences for him! I hope this helps. In friendship, Annie Fox
Posted On 2005-09-17 10:37:56
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