A couple of days ago, I called home and learned that my 3 year old daughter got into a little scuffle.. it was literally “little” in that it was pretty minor.. from what I heard, she was at a playground with one of her friends and I guess they were squabbling over a toy or something and her friend, who is 4 years old, pushed her down into the sand.. my daughter got up off the ground, walked over to the 4 year old and punched her.. at that point someone broke it up.. but when I heard, I didn’t really know what to say.. on one hand, you don’t want your 3 year old learning bad habits or thinking its OK to punch, beat, or hit other kids, much less older kids.. but on the other hand, you want her to be able to stand up for herself.. although physically standing up for oneself involves some kind of violence, no matter how small.. but being that she’s only 3, I think its a good thing that she has the concept of standing up for herself.. and given her relatively limited communication skills, using physical “force” might have been the only option she knew.. so then I was thinking, the correct response as a parent would be to teach her that she has other options other than physical force.. but then, when what happens if a verbal response does not solve the problem? what if the verbal response only results in an even strong physical response from the 4 year old? Is she supposed to tell a grown-up? Would that set her on the path to being a tattle tale and not being able to stand up for herself? Is she supposed to just walk away even if she’s “right”? Would that set her on the path to not being able to stand up for herself? Or worse, would she learn to be apathetic? I think being that she is a girl, its more difficult in that I think for boys, part of growing up is getting into a fight.. as much as some parents, or even society may look down on it, I think its a fact of life.. parents can teach their kids that fighting never solves anything.. but that whole notion is tossed out the window once they bear witness to the 3rd grade bully who gets everything he wants through physical force (or simply the threat of physical force).. I dunno.. I’ve read articles about how parents should teach their kids not to respond physically and just walk away.. but personally, I think these writers have simply forgotten what its like on an elementary school playground.. walk away and deal with the lifelong name calling? tell a grown-up and be labelled as a tattle-tail all their life? at a certain age, sure, (some) people learn that name calling doesn’t mean much or can be quickly shrugged off.. but at such a young age, I can’t see that happening :roll:..
When I was in 5th grade, I had a friend named Jason Monroe.. he was the youngest boy in a family of 3 boys.. I remember always being impressed with his fighting ability and his “quickness” to allow a situation to escalate into a physical confrontation.. the one fight I clearly remember was when we were out riding our bikes (I had an S&S Rainbow, BMW bike, by the way.. got stolen 3 times, recovered twice :sad:) and we decided to explore some drainage tunnels in the forest (don’t ask, I don’t know why kids did it, they just did).. when we came out of the tunnel, 3 kids were standing over our bikes.. Jason asked one of the kids what they were doing.. the ring leader said something stupid, you know, like “what are YOU going to do about it?” and I remember it being very quick.. Jason just walked over to the guy and started punching him.. the other 2 kids jumped back while their ring leader got the beat down.. after that, the 3 kids took off and Jason laughed about it.. when we got back to his house, he told his dad he got into a fight.. his dad asked him “did you win?” and he replied, “yes”.. and his dad said “good!” and gave him $5.. yes, he got rewarded for getting into a fight and winning.. but thing was, Jason was never a bully.. at least not in the time I knew him.. he just didn’t take any crap from anyone that was trying to give it.. isnt that what most people want for their kids??
Anyhow, I’m headed home tomorrow for a 3 week vacation from Hell.. I’ll be back in Taiwan in December at which time I’ll have 1 month to go before we pack up and get the hell out of Dodge :cool:..