May 15, 2006

Teach your children well

You have to instill certain values in your children. I subscribe to the unpopular view that children are essentially savages, people who have no self control, no ability to separate desire from action, people who will take the shortest distance between wish and fulfillment, even if that means trampling all over someone else. I know that conflicts with the widely held belief that children are innocents, fuzzy little creatures of inherent goodness as glimpsed from afar through a pastel, impressionist like lens. Phooey. Because I believe the Lord of the Flies was probably a lot closer to truth than to fiction, I have (as I believe I have mentioned before) tried to raise my little ones to hit back and to hit in defense of each other. Simplicity itself, really.

If someone hits the Girl Child, she hits back. If she sees someone hit her brother, her obligation is to get her butt over there and defend her brother with her fists. These two concepts are so very useful. First, they are simple to understand. Second, it makes the Girl Child empowered -- she is responsible for defending her little brother (who, of course, is supposed to do the same thing for his sister) and there is no "I'm a girl" garbage and I can't hit. My little girl will learn to defend herself, will learn how to solve her own problems, and not rely on the kindness of strangers to either defend or protect her. In essence, I am trying to make her self-reliant.

It may be working.

We were at brunch with my parents and my mother in law yesterday for Mothers' Day. We took them to our little beach club and after lunch the kids played on the lawn with some of their Summer friends, the kids they only see at the beach during the Summer. The Boy Child was amusing himself with a purple frisbee when some older child tried to snatch it out of his hands. The older child did not take no for an answer and hit my son. The Girl Child practically flew across the lawn, after witnessing the altercation, and smacked the kid. The kid then hit my daughter who, immediately, smacked him back much harder and the kid retreated from the field.

Telling you that I was bursting with pride would understate my feelings. She stood up for herself, she made it clear that she would not accept being hit or being a target, and she protected her brother.

They both came running over to tell me about it, not knowing, I suppose, that I had seen the whole thing. My son was all for saddling up and heading off in hot pursuit of "that stupid boy", but I gently dissuaded him, trying to let him down gently that the moment for hitting back in his own defense had passed now that the "stupid boy" had run away.

They acted just the way I had hoped they would. Without hesitation, to protect each other.

I guess they do listen.

On a different topic, I thought that the Boy Child said something very charmingly profound this weekend.

Boy Child: Pappa, are you an grownup?

Me: Yes, I am. Are you a grownup?

BC: No, I are not an grownup. I are an someone.


Posted by Random Penseur at May 15, 2006 10:50 AM | TrackBack

That's a great story, thanks for sharing RP.

I wholeheartedly agree with you about the self defense, kids like that boy see prey, kids they can pick on and pounce. Kids have to stand up for themselves and their siblings to drive off the little pricks, just like your daughter did.

It's a difficult concept to a peace-loving kid like my son, he just gets upset when other kids take his toys etc. Although I HAVE seen him push other kids back and retaliate, many times he picks the more peaceful route because something else interests him more.

He's coming up on kindergarten years soon, and I've seen the kids in my neighbourhood so yeah, I'm going to teach him how to punch too.

Posted by: Oorgo at May 15, 2006 03:17 PM

I love it. I had nothing to do with it and I'M proud of them. I can only try to imagine your experience at the time. :)

Posted by: Tuning Spork at May 15, 2006 07:24 PM

And that is a great quote from the BC. Out of the mouths of babes, indeed...

Posted by: MCNS at May 16, 2006 01:13 PM
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