Teaching Kids to Be Kind
For awhile now, I’ve been trying to figure out how to successfully navigate the world of kids, friendships and conflict. I’m trying to learn the ins and outs of it all. One thing I’m realizing: I don’t think there is enough focus on teaching kids to be kind.
For the most part I’ve been quiet, just trying to figure things out for our family as we encounter these new experiences during our daughter’s first years of school. Are we normal? Are we eccentric? Different? Awkward? Unique? Abrasive? Nerds?
Yes, we are definitely all of these things. We are all of that. And then some.
But in addition to that, we try to be kind. We do our best to teach her about treating people right.
We Try to Teach Kindness
But we keep running into mean kids.
So today, today I need to ask for something much needed. Here it is. We NEED for people to be teaching kids to be kind.
My husband and I, we are a bit different. I get it. We aren’t the most popular, we don’t swing in the social circles. We aren’t hip. Oh we are definitely not hip.
We may be rough around the edges and certainly not very cool. Additionally, I’m pretty sure I am socially awkward most of the time, I’ll admit that. But one thing we are not….we are not just outright mean to people.
By default, I feel like our child is not mean to people. Currently, I’m conducting a text poll. I’m texting friends to make sure my kid is not an a-hole. So far, they tell me she is not.
So….therefore….why do the mean kids always find her???
At the current moment, we’re looking at three, maybe four, kids who make fun of her. They tease her for creating trash sculptures on the playground and making “grass, sand and rock soup.” Is making trash sculptures typical? Kids tease her for having short hair. For being too thin. They tease her for just about anything.
This Mama Is Over It
She’s different, I get it. I encourage her creativity. She likes different things than other kids. She marches to the beat of a different drum.
As far as I am aware, she tries to keep to herself. Yet, there have been several children who ridicule her on recess. They tease her about how she chooses to spend her time. More often than not, I hear about how she has been teased for the games and projects she has created.
My girl is strong. And independent. And special. So we talk about these situations. We discuss kindness. We discuss conflict. I realized that she is going to continue encountering this situation. That is simply part of life, so she might as well start learning now how to deal with it. I just didn’t expect it to start this soon.
We talk about being true to yourself and standing strong, being your authentic self and not following the crowd. What really surprises me is how children are already behaving at this age and how quick they are to start ridiculing anyone who is different.
Sure, there are different interests. There are different personalities. Different backgrounds. There are lots of differences.
However, I feel that the differences should be accepted and tolerated, if not celebrated. I encourage everyone to have some dialogue with your child about individuality and acceptance. You also might want to discuss the power of being your authentic self. Finally, if you do one thing, maybe talk about kindness.
Just Be Nice
It’s something worth exploring, don’t you think? The alternative? My daughter has a lot of her dad in her….and trust me….that does not bode well for your kid. (Aw, just kidding.)