Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Standing up for yourself . . .

My daughter is exposed to a couple kids who aren't always kind. It is difficult to teach her how to be assertive yet kind at the same time. I don't want my child being made fun of or mocked, but I also don't want her being one to do the same to another child. I don't think 2 wrongs make a right. I also don't want my child being the one who always runs to the adult without attempting to solve the problem herself.

I hope to teach my child to be out spoken. I want her to feel free to say things like, "You know, the way you are acting is not very nice." I want her to be able to tell people that it's okay if you don't like what I am wearing, I do. I want her to know it is okay to be different. I want her to feel good about herself and confident in her decisions no matter what others may say. I want her to be kind and considerate, but able to stand up for herself. If not, she will end up being a doormat who has no idea how to handle herself when she is wronged.

When I was a PreK teacher I had a philosophy about kids who did not play well together. It would be easy to say, "Just stay away from him" but that solves nothing. I made certain those children were in a small group together. I made sure those kids were on the same team in a cooperative game. I made sure that they learned how to work together. Now, I always made sure it was times when I could be right there, near them, guiding them and helping work through anything that came up because I am not totally stupid. Those kids may have never been the best of friends, but they learned that when they had to work together they could. It not only gave them skills to do this, but confidence that even if you don't like someone, you can work together. That is a particularly important skill as a adult.

My daughter was not very fond of her teacher this past year. To be honest, I was not either. She was very good at imparting skills to the class and did have a knack for teaching, but she did not let kids be kids. She seemed to squelch fun in the classroom. She did not seem to value kids for kids. My son had her a few years back. It would've been really easy for me to go in and request a change before school started, but I knew that it would be a good learning experience for my child to learn to behave and thrive in an environment that she would exactly care for. It is good a good life skill to learn. We may not always like our boss or our co-workers, but graciousness and kindness get us far in this world. And who knows maybe we can even make a difference in the way they view the world.

Those are the skills I hope to impart to my kiddos. I want them to be assertive and stand up for themselves, but I want the to do it in such a way that honors other people. I want them to know that most conflicts can be resolved peacefully. I want them to know that you don't have to agree with someone to respect them and their opinion. I don't want to think that they can come crying to mommy and I will rip them out of the situation without trying to make it work first just because I can.

I want them to know that we are all in this together . . . and that takes work.

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