Posted by the prisoner's wife On 9:53 PM
(my son, the ham)
My son, in all his three-year-old glory, loves to be around other kids. He loves running, jumping, kicking balls--the usual--and gets so giddy when he sees other little people around. Although, he used to be THAT kid (borderline playground terror), he's turned out to be quite a nice little boy. But as he gets ready to enter preschool, I'm starting to get a little nervous about the habits he'll pick up from other kids.
One thing I've noticed is that my son is usually so eager to play with other kids, that he can be a little too over the top. Often times he follows other kids around the playground, gets really close to them (in a nice way), and can't seem to get the hint when they don't want to play with him. When we're on the playground, I often have to call to him and tell him that so-and-so doesn't want to be followed around. When kids shun his friendliness, his feelings are completely hurt, and he comes to me crushed and on the verge of tears. My heart can't help but ache a bit, and I'm quick to give him some mommy love.
As I hold my son and try to assure him that someone else will want to play, I sometimes wonder how I'll teach him to be a confident, respectful kid who won't be a follower and will not be devastated when kids are mean.
I posted my question on twitter, and got some sound advice from another mother:
Although I'm starting to have more and more conversations with my son (and I feel like he actually UNDERSTANDS what I'm telling him), it never occurred to me to have him address not only me, the adult, but the offending child as well. It's so simple right? But gearing up for preschool I was so worried about him being mistreated and allowing it to go on, or worse, reacting to it and then being blamed, that my first bit of advice to him was, "tell your teacher if someone's being mean, ok?" He usually nods his head and then runs off a whole list of people he'll tell (mommy, daddy, abuela, pawpaw), as if we'll all swoop down to his defense. While I'm happy he knows he can count on us, I'm more interested in teaching him how to deal with these sorts of situations on his own.
So how do you teach your kids to stick up for themselves respectfully? How can I prepare my munchkin for the newness of preschool, and protect him from picking up new bad habits?
I'd love to hear from the mamas (and the papas) on raising confident, respectful kids. Comment!