Friday, January 20, 2012

Because Kids Can Be Mean

It has begun...ever so mildly, but it still stings my heart that it has begun...the establishment of a 'pecking order' at school.

I honestly hesitate to even write this because a lot of local people read my blog and I don't want to start anything, I won't demonize or canonize any 1st graders. I know that my kids aren't perfect. They are young and they are trying to figure it out. I just pray that as the adults in their lives we do our part to guide them.

Twice in a month one of my children has come home and reported hurtful unkind words or actions perpetuated against one of their siblings--not the type of bullying that would surprise anyone--just being called a crybaby and being intentionally left out of something (and then told about it).

Another one of my children has come home tearfully asking me what to do when they see one of their friends being repeatedly and intentionally left out by their crowd on the playground.

My children are beginning to learn that people are not always kind.

My initial temptation was to rush in and 'rescue'-- to call teachers, to call other Mamas. After praying about it I have decided to resist the urge to make that call or fire off an e-mail and to spend my time equipping my children for the next challenge instead. I reached this conclusion for two reasons: 1) They are OK. There has been concern and conversation, but not tears or any sign of emotional impact on them. 2) There WILL be a next time. Maybe not on this playground or with these same kids, but in some other setting with some other people. I am 37 and I still know bullies. My children will be far better served learning how to deal with them and not be one.

I am teaching them to put everything through the filter of Truth. My wise friend Holly taught me years ago to ask them to put the ugly and unkind things through the Phillipians 4:8 test:
Is it true?
The best, not the worst?
Beautiful, not the ugly?
Because these are the things God tells us to dwell on.

And then this morning I came across this beautiful post by my new imaginary best friend, Glennon, at Momastery. I am ABSOLUTELY reading this to my children tonight at bedtime! Because they need to hear it...and because I still remember the Adams in my past and it makes me feel sad and ashamed.


howitallbegan said...

I've been reading the Momastery blog now too ever since you linked to it. Love her writing and her honesty. Thanks for sending us her way! (Also, loved the Adam post, read it aloud to my husband, who then even used some of what she was saying in discussions with his young adult wayward son. We're never too old to hear any of that.)

Arlene @At Home with the Grimms said...

I think you are making the right decision in dealing with this situation JMOM. When I taught preschool, I saw this behavior in two year olds. We are never too young or too old to be mean! One of my younger friends refers to herself as Mama Bear when one of her cubs has been attacked! Being protective is a natural part of being a mother but we also have to teach our young ones how to cope with disappointment whether it stems from people or situations. Hang in there!!

Carol Vincent said...

As a teacher, I would encourage you to keep the lines of communication open between you and your children's teachers. Teachers do not see everything, nor do we hear everything. And while you might feel these comments or actions are somewhat insignificant, these are "teachable moments". Your 3 beauties are being brought up to be gracious and kind and ALL children need to be taught these life lessons - at home and at school. The values and beliefs of good citizens need to be taught at every opportunity and when 1st graders use verbal bullying like "crybaby" or purposely leaving someone out, the issue needs to be addressed. Certainly monitor theses little incidents, but do not hesitate to chat with a teacher. We do want to know. We can help.

Lisa said...

Same story in our house....first grade unkindness. We've done both; we tried to not intervene first and teach our guy all of the "strategies" to respond kindness. When that didn't work, I spoke to his teacher, who is a precious sister in Christ. I can't say it's gone, but at least I know we're all on the same page with handling it.

Claire said...

Oh I loved this! I'm a teacher and there's definitely something here I can bring into the classroom! Thank you.