This post stems from a discussion the team had recently following on from a recent experience Mabel had at nursery.
She was stood at the top of the stairs ready to come down and leave with her Daddy in the morning yet I could sense there was something not quite right.
“Mummy, I don’t think I look lovely”
“Mabel you always look lovely! you are lovely!”
“Eve* said I will only look lovely if I wear a dress, these trousers are yucky”
(Mabel had never before, apart from to show preference for one thing over the other, actually said she didn’t like a piece of clothing specifically).
“Eve said I can’t use my special soap either because I am not special” (Mabel has a plain soap in the toilet as the antibacterial stuff the nursery uses irritates her eczema).
I would be hiding the truth if I didn’t admit to wanting to tell Mabel to advise Eve to shove the special soap where the sun doesn’t shine.
Eve is however only a year older than Mabel, and as much as I’ve taken an immediate dislike to this particular dress-only wearing 4 year old, I am (definitely) old enough to appreciate that you don’t manage unkindness with retaliation.
And then there’s Alex*, Alex likes to shout in Mabel’s face and take away whatever she might be playing with at any given time. Alex also likes to tell Mabel how much bigger he is than her and how much faster he can run.
Yeah, you just wait until sports day mate.
This is all very tongue in cheek obviously, I’m sure Eve simply picked up her expressions from the television or an older sibling and is usually a very sweet dress-only wearing 4 year old. Alex is simply intimidated by my daughter’s small yet mighty appearance, and really, who can blame him.
With children from a few months old to thirteen, the team have had our fair share of experiences when it comes to our kids being made to feel upset, hurt or unsure of their own self worth.
The general consensus was that we all do what we can to encourage our littles to respond to taunts or cruelty by simply saying “That is very unkind, please be kind“. Obviously I am directing this at pre-school/primary school age, I appreciate situations become far more fractious and heated as they become older and a few polite words are not going to have the desired effect.
I’m not naive enough to think Mabel has never dished out the (3 year old version) of an insult or upset someone else of a similar age. I just hope it happens rarely, and is in response to what she feels is unkindness, rather than simply deciding to be mean. I also thought when it came to dealing with this kind of situation I would know what to do, and sometimes I really don’t.
All I can endeavour to do is encourage her to be kind. Always.
How have you handled your children being upset due to taunts from other kids? What have you found to be successful in terms of talking to them about the situation and advising them how to deal with something similar in the future? Obviously I only have experience of a 3 year old, I would be really interested to hear about experiences with older children too.