Monday, October 10, 2011

It's Never Okay To Hate

My youngest walked in the door from school, her head was hung a little low. It was obvious that something was up. J picked her up that morning and proceeded to tell me why the long face. Apparently as they were walking home from school he overheard a little girl in G's class tell her nanny, "That's the girl that hates me." She pointed to my daughter. When I heard those words from my husband, my heart sank.

HATE?

My 4 year old used the term HATE loosely with a classmate? Of course a discussion and reasoning is sometimes difficult with a 4 year old, the conversation turned into a complete tear filled meltdown. Allowing G many moments to think and an incredible amount of patience, I tried to gather insight into why such harsh words were exchanged at school.

Unfortunately my daughter has a very friendly personality and can be quite the charmer, but also very distinctly craves personal space. She went through a phase when she was 2 or 3 years old, when she wouldn't even let us lie down on her bed with her. It was her space and she put up those boundaries very confidently. With that said, desiring personal space, never, ever in my mind would justify using such hurtful words. In our home, we simply don't use the word hate. We have always embraced allowing the girls to form their own opinions and let us know when something just didn't feel right to them, but HATE, I just don't like it. Nor do I tolerate my daughter openly using it with classmates.

Through out our discussion about the conflict, G finally shared that the little girl likes to touch her hair, sit very close to her, and always holds onto her dress or clothing when she is next to her. Of course we talked through how to appropriately tell her classmate that she needed some personal space in a way that was kind. While I struggled with contacting the teacher to alert of her of the situation and possibly intervene, ultimately I allowed G to apologize and share with the girl her need for personal space. It was important for me to give G the opportunity to recognize when someone made her feel uncomfortable and handle it in a manner that was not intentionally hurtful.

After school the next day, I confirmed that G apologized straight off to the girl. I made sure to witness a calm resolve between the two before we set off on our walk home that morning. I'm not sure if the way I handled the situation worked, but I do know opening dialogue and working through things has a positive impact on G. I hope she can take those lessons with her through her school years. I'm much happier when the worst part of the day was when she could only have one snack, not two.

4 comments:

  1. Did your daughter actually say she hates the other girl, or did the other girl assume she hated her because she was getting annoyed at her boundaries being crossed?

    It sounds to me like you handled it well. We don't allow our daughter to say hate either, although I admit that lately I've been a bit lax on that because it felt like she was using the word because of it's power and so I quit saying anything when she uses it at home in the hopes it would take the power out of the word and she'd lose interest in it. Now you have me rethinking that.

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  2. I think you handled this perfectly. I'm making mental notes for the future...

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  3. I do think you handled things perfectly. It's so important to be aware of what are doing/saying in school, who they are friends with, and what's troubling them. And it's our job to guide them in the right direction. It can be hard sometimes, huh? The first few weeks of grade one my son complained that the boy that sits next to him kept poking him with a pencil in his ribs an it was hurting him, and even though he was telling him to stop he kept doing it. I wrote the teacher a note, and she talked to the boy, and he hasn't done it since. I also nicely told the boy's mom because I always saw her before school, and she made her son say sorry to my son and then they ran off to play. I think I did okay with that situation... totally different situation, and sorry, I'm rambling now!

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  4. I agree. And looking at the words from other commenters, it's not an isolated thing. I remember the first time a swear word was uttered from my children's lips - the first thing I did in every instance was remember when I'd last said that word. It's so hard to remember that parenting is not channeling yourself through your children, but guiding them as they make their own journeys. You're a fantastic, strong woman who I'm proud to call a friend!

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I always appreciate the gesture to stop and take a moment to comment. Thank you!