Models and messages

As a mum I actively aim for the behaviour I feel is appropriate. I discourage pushing in, snatching and shoving.

Miss Bee is a fiercely independent and confident toddler who is also never physically pushy and will respectfully wait if another child has an item she wants.

Not so other children.  This is the nature of toddlers.  Me me me. Mine mine mine.  That’s normal.  It’s to be expected.  But what is not expected and quite shocking to me is the shift in parenting styles since I had my older children.

Frequently I see children pushing,  shoving and snatching while their parents either don’t notice,  choose not to notice or notice and comment without follow through. They tend to state what they see…AKA stating the bleeding obvious. “That little girl had that ball”. THE END.

UMM… NO?  What actually happened is that a younger child had something and your older child took it. You did nothing which confirmed their right to overpower a weaker person. If you commented then did nothing you’re actually making it even worse.  As you’re confirming their actions but not altering the outcome.

Which leaves me wondering if I am disadvantaging her in a dog eat dog world where the new black is selfishness? Could teaching respect, courtesy and empathy be just what leaves her used, missing out and exploited? It’s 0ne thing to have manners and be caring and thoughtful,  but could those very traits be a detriment to success in this new society?  If they are detrimental in terms of power is that a type of power I would even want for her?

I am also cross with myself for being too polite. When a child snatches or pushes Miss Bee I politely wait for the parent to correct their child.  Apparently I’ll wait forever as many won’t.  But so far my polite self feels it isn’t my role to correct for them. I am tempted to say SHE HAD THAT and snatch it right back.  But by not taking action am I am also perpetuating the message that it’s OK for a big boy to take what he wants from a small girl? I hate myself for not being her voice.  For not being the advocate she needed.

My plan going forward is to teach her to take something back if it’s snatched. Demand her spot if it’s taken.  Teach her to claim her rights.  Even if I get dirty looks.


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