I’ve mentioned in a previous post that Curly Headed Boy is struggling with his first year at school a little, but we have a plan in place to work on it, and I promised to mention the different things I try, so here is one of them:
He happens to be on a table with some very clever, but quite critical children (don’t get me wrong, he can be pretty critical himself, so it’s not like he doesn’t know how to do it too). Some have been criticising his work, telling him he’s doing things wrong, and generally having a little pick. Recently they have been telling him that he says ‘yellow’ wrong (it comes out ‘lellow’). He told me that ‘everyone’ was doing it. Now, this could be an opportunity for me to get all upset and a bit protective, and there is a little corner of me that did. But the rest of me explained a couple of big secrets about the way that the world works.
- You teach people how to treat you
- The world isn’t black and white, all one way or the other
You Teach People How To Treat You
This isn’t saying it’s our ‘fault’ if someone is mean, but it is acknowledging that we have a part to play in the situation. No one is going to pick on someone who feels totally certain about themselves, it’s one of those things about human behaviour.
So we did some role playing about how he could tell them thanks for their advice, but he’s perfectly happy with the way that he says ‘yellow’. Ironically, he was better at it than me, as he said my ideas for what to say were mean (must be that protective corner in me!). He decided that as he is a monster (thats a whole other post), he would explain to them that he was saying ‘yellow’ in monster language, and it was fine for them to say it their way, but he’d be sticking with his own. Poor chap, he’s got a southern Mummy teaching him to say ‘barth’ for bath, and the northern hairy husband telling him to get in the ‘baaath’, ‘stood’ for stand up, or ‘lurry’ for ‘lorry; he’s definitely going to have a weird accent at the end of this.
The World Isn’t Just Black or Just White
Now on the ‘everyone’ subject, I explained that the world is made of night and day, dark and light, north and south, happy and sad, grumpy and cheerful, mean and nice. I got him to imagine a basket that was always half full of what he thought was ‘nice’ stuff and the other half had the less nice. I said the basket would always be like that, so he just needed to look for the other side of the basket. Plus half the people in the world were always going to like him and half wouldn’t. So when he thought someone didn’t like him, he just needs to look at the other side of the basket for the people who do like him.
So it’s not ever possible that EVERYONE did something. A couple of sensible questions later and he remembers that his mate, also on the same table, has no interest in how he says ‘yellow’. Plus, the rest of the class didn’t say anything. You can use the same concept with your children if they are getting properly bullied at school. Ask them to look back at the incident with new eyes and really see. Yes, some people would have been ‘bullying’ in their view, but others were just there out of fear to make sure that they didn’t get picked on, and it wouldn’t have been every child in the whole school. This is only one step in the process, but it is incredibly important for them to know that not everyone sees them as the bully’s do.
Right, off to do some of my less favourite work: squeeze pages and marketing stuff, after all I did just get to do my favourite side of the basket by blogging!