I just got a phone call from my daughter’s pre-school, apparently my daughter slapped a kid.
Upon deeper investigation, I was told that a little girl touched her face trying to get her attention and my daughter slapped her HARD. She now has a yellow ticket. I guess that’s like a yellow card in soccer. So if she gets a RED card is out?
My question is, how did the other child touch her face? Was it a gentle glide across her cheek or did she grab my daughter by the face and turn her head? We will never know because the incident wasn’t seen, only described by the two girls. This bring up the question of the “NO-HITTING” rule.
So much has been in the media about bullying I wonder is this where it starts? Do we create rules that are supposed to work in adult society but need a little modification to fit the undeveloped emotional minds of children? What is the definition of self-protection? Where are the boundaries?
There is a youtube video I posted a couple of months ago about a bully that was punching a kid until the “victim” kid picked him (the bully) up and slammed him on the ground. The video went viral. There are lots of opinions about the moral of this encounter but the short version is that kids are kids. they haven’t the interaction skills that adults do and we have a responsibility to educate and protect our children.
So what’s a parent to do? My first response was similar to what many might feel. that my child was defending herself and the other kid “got what she deserved”. But how do I know that? My child will always be my favorite and I have to make sure that my personal bias isn’t getting in the way. I also have to remember my martial arts training. The goal is always to prevent conflict or diffuse not escalate and that’s not always easy.
For myself, I’m going to have a conversation with my daughter about this incident and get her perspective and I’d like to interview the other kid as well. My current position is that they are 4 years old and won’t remember this tomorrow. But I still need to discuss it with her so she will know that I’m interested in how she feels about it and what can be done in the future.
So what can be done? Kids are never going to stop testing boundaries and there IS a pecking order in the school yard. I’m also going to introduce a program (http://www.ihsa.org/education/conflict_resolution.ppt) to the teachers and see if we can institute a mediation program into the school system. I also know that we need to get a “buy-in” from the parents or it’s going to take longer to get this information into their little bones, if ever.
If we are going to live a world where there is conflict then we are going to have to find a way to solve it.
If we don’t, we are going to have yet another generation that grew up the way we did and we will have yet another crop of bullies to deal with.
It one thing to talk about conflict resolution but it seems to me that until it gets personal, like with your own child, that you really don’t know how it feels. I was surprised that my response was initially so visceral I can see how it’s possible that people chose to do something other than consider long-term consequences. For me the long-term will always out-weigh the short-term, it’s just how I’m wired.
The short version for conflict is:
If there is a problem remove yourself from that situation, as quickly as possible.
Tell someone and keep telling someones until you get resolution on the problem.
The FREE Power Point for this is right here.
If you want more information or to book an appointment with Michael Harris, PhD emai