As I’ve been navigating through the Parenting Manifesto program, I’ve obviously been much more aware of the lessons I am teaching kids through my example.
I am more conscious of who I am, my own behavior and reactions as I more and more see them reflected back at me from the tiny human mirrors.
The way they snatch something out of their siblings’ hands. Something I often do without thinking in order to remove a contraband item or break up a fight.
The times I see one child comfort another hurt or upset child without prompting. A pat on the back, a hug, and a “Is Oh-Tay?”
Their obsession with my iPad and iPhone…
It’s clear that children learn by example. Monkey see, monkey do.
2 and 3 year olds have no understanding of Monkey Do As I Say.
I’m not sure many children really do.
I’m not sure many adults do either.
Recently, My Bestie Amelia posted on her Facebook (which we have already established is purely for stalking):
Obviously I heard more on this matter from Amelia. The child in question called Isobel, amongst other things, a c*%t.
And the restorative justice system the school has implemented called for the children to apologize to one another.
The swearer was made to apologize for swearing (“horrifically” was the teacher’s description of the event) and Isobel was made to apologise for her choice in scarf upsetting the boy.
Which she has no understanding of. As far as her seven year old self is concerned, she was asked to apologise because the swearer swore.
And even if she did understand, as Erin from eat play bond pointed out – teaching a child to apologise for something they like sends a terrible message.
In my opinion it seems to be just as horrific a message as allowing someone to scream c*%t into her face with no more than a flippant “sorry” thrown her way.
And of course Isobel is not completely innocent in the situation. I mean, she did wear a scarf in support of her favourite footy team and most definitely would have reacted to having someone screaming in her face.
Her version of events involved a small group of boys all teasing her about her scarf. To which she replied with some hand on hip action and some sass. Obviously.
It was then that this other boy (not involved with the original group) got involved and began his tirade.
“Mum, he called me a CRUNCH!”
I’m particularly glad it wasn’t me who had to explain what a crunch is to my daughter.
As far as the school is concerned, the issue has been addressed and a solution found.
They have spoken to Amelia and explained the situation. But have given her no indication of further action concerning the swearer’s parents, and how a situation like this will be handled should it happen again.
If the swearer had spoken, let alone screamed, those words to a teacher, what would the repercussions have been? I’d hazard a guess that the swearer would have had to do a little more than apologise. And that the teacher most probably wouldn’t have responded with “I’m sorry for breathing”.
Surely it is just as important to teach children to respect and honour their peers as their elders? After all, it’s their peers they will go through life with – at work, at home, in social situations.
If Isobel had made a comment regarding the colour of the swearer’s skin what would the repercussions have been?
Why is it still acceptable to use a name that describes (viciously and harshly) female anatomy to insult and discriminate against a female?
Especially when discriminating against a person due to race and background, and using a person’s skin colour as an insult, is so unacceptable.
And as a society we think we’ve come so far.
This situation makes me reminiscent of the old days. The early 90s.
Where kids were put on detention.
At one of the schools I attended throughout my illustrious primary school education, this involved standing against a wall in the shade during lunch time. If you spoke to another student playing, left your post or showed any kind of insolence, you were made to sit down, turn around and face the wall while you ate your lunch.
Of course there are all sorts of issues with that kind of punishment these days. Scarring for life, social ostracism and all the rest.
But seriously, isn’t there something more than “say sorry”?
Because along with teaching a young woman that being insulted with her own gender is acceptable, a young man has just learned the same lesson.
**This is obviously my opinion. I don’t work for the school and am not privy to the ins and outs of their policies. I do believe that in this one situation, the solution and explanation thereof was particularly lacking for a parent.**