Thursday, November 17, 2011

No Peace Table in Sight!

My girls are sweet girls.  I know we all think our kids are sweet but mine truly are.  They are almost 4 and 5 and would never hurt a fly (other than one another, of course).  Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t say they were angles but they are nice to people and in return they expect people to be nice to them.  And that my friends, is a whole different story.

My babies attend The Montessori School in Clemmons, NC and at the wonderful institution, among other things, the children learn “conflict resolution.”  It is wonderful.  Sally stepped on my art work and instead of hitting her, stepping on her art work or pouting the rest of the day and refusing to talk to Sally I am going to invite her to the peace table.  At the peace table I am going to explain what I am upset about, Sally is going to apologize or defend herself, we will “declare peace” and get on with it as friends.  Most adults could use a lesson in conflict resolution but I digress.  So the problem comes when my little, “peaceful” ones encounter another little not-so-peaceful one.

So, we were at Chick-fil-a on a Friday night having dinner.   The girls were shoveling food into their mouths with the ultimate goal of getting to that playground before it was time to go.  At the exact moment the last chicken nugget went into my older daughter’s mouth out came the words (mouth full) “mommy can we go now?”  I let her go ahead while I cleaned up; after all I could see her thru the window. 

As soon and my daughter entered the play area I saw a little, very different acting boy talking to her.  Whatever he said made her hang her head in sadness.  Infuriated I went into the play area and asked what happened.  She told me, tears flowing, that he called her a “stupid lady.”  Seriously.  I could not make this up.  “Stupid lady,” yeah.  Anyway, she was upset and there was no peace table in sight.  Her little sister told her to punch (she is all talk and very sensitive about her older sister) him because she was infuriated as well.  I struggled to figure out what to advise her to do but we got cleaned up and I sat there while she played and the little hoodlum whose father looked completely helpless left.

Over the next few days I spoke with some of my teacher friends who gave me some advice.  These were different teachers with different backgrounds but all know my girls from an educational setting.  There was an overwhelming consensus about how I should have my girls handle such a situations in the future.  You see, I wanted to tell her to walk away and just not care what the little shit said but I was told that if I do that then she will eventually get bullied because this is only the start of her interactions with such ill mannered children.  The teachers told me that I should have her stick up for herself.  If someone says something she does not like and that is rude she should respond with firm words.  Something like “do NOT speak to me that way,” or “get away from me” is completely appropriate.  I am the type of person who truly does not care one bit what people think of or say about me and that has served me well.  I was trying to make my girls the same way so that they can just walk away without hurt feelings.  The fact is that you can have both, a child who stands up for themselves AND one who is not hurt by what people think!  Who'd have thought?!

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