[This is a post I decided to share on the roundtable instead of my own site]
This Dad in the Classroom moment is brought to you by Finding Kind, an organization created to bring awareness to and combat girl-on-girl bullying and violence in schools across America. This morning we watched the 90-minute documentary separated into female and male groups. For the boys, we watched it with the idea of looking at it as it pertains to bullying in general.
As a teacher, this opens up the opportunity to do something great in the school, and create a discussion about how to change the educational and community culture to combat bullying in all its shapes. However, I couldn’t help but watch this with my “DAD-EYES”!!! My wonderful, precious, and perfect little girl has started kindergarten this year. What am I sending her into? My wife and I have been conscious to try and talk with her about what to do if someone is mean; go find someone who is not mean, do not gloat or brag, tell people you beat in a game or race that THEY did a good job, and to be nice to everyone.
What happens when someone says something mean to her, and she believes them? What happens when she gets home? My wife and I are trying our best to create the parental relationship that will allow our children to ALWAYS feel comfortable talking to us. This is not a friendship, but an engaged parent. We understand that as she grows, it will become less about teaching her about how to act, and more about helping and guiding her through the social and emotional issues she will come up against. This is a difficult task if your child doesn’t want to talk to you.
I am relying heavily on my wife, who had this kind of relationship with her parents, to help us get to this place as our kids get older. For me, by 7th grade, I stopped talking to my parents about anything internal in my life, and only shared the obvious external experiences I had. Every day, my mom asked me how my day was, and in order to avoid getting into a lecture, or feeling like I did something wrong, my answer was always “fine.” Friends, crushes, triumphs, and struggles were NEVER discussed, because I never felt like I was talking with my parents, but only being talked to by them.
Value what your kids have to say. Value who they grow into. Discover their interests and hobbies with them, and they will feel like they can share things with you.