Friday, May 7, 2010

Mean Girls and Rude Boys

I don’t know what happens between ages 3 and 6, but something within some children’s personalities goes horribly wrong. I have taught 3 and 4 year olds who were the sweetest, kindest, most generous souls. I could only imagine glowing futures for these angels who I was proud to teach, observe, and nurture for a short time in their lives.

Flash forward to kindergarten and some of my little angels have drastically changed. The girls are mean, spiteful, and fresh. The boys are just plain rude. They are not nice to each other, and disrespectful to their teachers and parents.

Recently, I witnessed one of my three year old darlings stand up from her seat when another little girl sat next to her. She made a face of disgust and moved to sit with another child instead. I was heartbroken. I flashed forward two short years to when she’s in kindergarten and becomes a mean girl.

I would like to offer words of wisdom of how we can ensure that this doesn’t happen, but I don’t have a proven recipe. In this case, I spoke with the child about what I had witnessed and how she hurt her classmate’s feelings. I explained that she doesn’t have to be friends with everyone, but she has to be kind and respectful to everyone. How would she feel if someone treated her that way?

I urge parents to continue to demonstrate appropriate behaviors that their children can learn from. When your child hears you or a sibling making fun of someone else, she learns how to be mean. When a parent is rude to her spouse or a friend, she is teaching her child how to be rude.

It takes hard work to demonstrate kindness, patience, and understanding of others. You are your child’s primary teacher and you are the on the first line of defense in keeping your little angels sweet throughout their lives. Let’s at least work harder to get past kindergarten.

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