Sunday, December 19, 2010
I was sharing a meal with a young man age 7 and my son age 6 and we were having an interesting discussion about school, friends etc. This little seven year old got upset when my son touched his shirt. Instead of using his words to simply say stop, he screamed and whined, a reaction I would think I would see from someone more like three or four years old. This reaction caught my attention and I asked him, why did you do that instead of use your words. He just looked at me. I asked him if anyone has helped him to know what to do if someone does something that bothers him. He responded no. That opened the door for me to offer some suggestions. We talked about using his words to get his wants out. I said be clear. "What do you want him to do, or not want him to do." He responded "to not touch me". I said "than tell him that directly". I also gave him two to three more steps to do if this does not work such as telling an adult, moving away or touching him back if he does not stop. When interacting with me and my son, I notice how he looks down a lot. I encouraged him to look me in my eyes when talking. Looking someone in their eyes when speaking to them shows you are interested, paying attention, confident and showing respect and expect respect back(though in some cultures this is the opposite). We practiced that the rest of our conversation and by the end he was smiling and had loosened up a bit. I felt the need to share this experience. It is so important that we are parents, educators, mentors and adults take the time to pay attention to daily interactions with children all around us and that any moment can be one to learn, grow and hopefully help or touch another. We can not expect that children no matter the age know what to do in each situation. We learn by observation, being talked to and with, by someone taking our hand and showing us what to do. We must also be sensitive to a child's emotional response to situations as they are just as important as the action its self and can play an essential role in how someone reacts.
Posted by Ms.B at 8:24 AM