I recently received an email about a topic I talk about in both my behaviour course, and my social competency course (both run for Early childhood teachers.)
I’ve posted the email and my response below. It’s my firm belief that we need to teach our “good” children who are being bothered by unpleasant behaviour around them to resolve the problem themselves as much as possible – by making a decision about whether to stay in the situation, or to go.
We have such high rates of domestic and family violence in NZ. I’m sure part of this is because we do not teach our children they can make choices to protect their own happiness. Sometimes that may mean making a decision to leave an activity, if it means leaving behind a person who is not behaving positively towards them
That doesn’t mean the child displaying negative behaviour “gets off”. It’s our job as adults to help redirect that child, model positive behaviours and help create new ones for the child. However, it is our job to help both sides learn- both the perpetrator and the victim.
If we teach them that it’s someone else’s job to rescue us when someone treats us badly – what are we doing to our future generations?
Here is the email:
I attended your PD on Social Competence and found it really informative, especially the information about introverted children.During your talk you stated a good strategy for children to learn is to move away from a child who is annoying them. I was talking about this with other teachers some days later and we were wondering whether it was fair for the child who is quite happily playing to have to move and miss out on continuing with their play while the annoying child gets to do what they like. Could you help us understand this strategy a bit more, thanks.
This is my response:
Every child has a choice. We are just letting them know that. We are teaching children that they get to choose – and sometimes that choice might mean a short term annoyance of missing out on a favourite activity.Sometimes – they may choose to stay, even if annoyed, because they really want to do that activity. Other times they may choose to leave, and enjoy peace instead.
We are teaching children who would otherwise see themselves as the victim to instead see themselves as someone in control.