Sunday, April 26, 2009

Understanding Children Fight

All children fight with their friends now and then. Let your children know that everyone, even you, gets into arguments, and that most people feel rotten about it afterwards. These fights are not the end of the world; they are not necessarily even the end of a friendship.
And part of feeling rotten after a fight is knowing that you said or did something during the fight that you regret. Let your young warrior know that there is absolutely nothing wrong with saying to the adversary: “Look, I’m sorry I called you a no-neck dweeb. I didn’t mean it.” Often this step results in a similar apology from the other person, and fences get mended. The point is that disagreements do not mean disrespect. But when making apologies, the combatants have to be careful not to rehash the fight as if it were a movie they saw together. That’s how fences get unmended very quickly.
Fights cause problems for noncombatants, as well. Suppose your youngster tells you that two “best friends” have had a fight, and each of them is telling your child about it.
Tell your child that the trick here is to listen without taking sides. The situation also presents an opportunity to act as peacemaker by telling each person separately that the other one is “really bummed out about the fight you two had.”

Child Etiquette in Party

Do you remember when you were invited to your first party? If you do, you probably remember the turmoil that went with the invite: What should I wear? Suppose I don’t know anybody? What will I talk about?
In regard to attire, your child can call the host and ask what he or she will be wearing. Or your child can call the parents of the host and check it out. But the attire problem is not the entire problem.
Whether your youngster wants to admit it or not, this is all about our old friend—shyness. When you talk to your child about it, you might want to call it nervousness. In addressing this subject, I often give a little talk about the Olympics. It goes like this:
If you have ever watched the Olympics, you have seen athletes push themselves
beyond what they thought were their physical limits. If you ask the athletes
how they do so and how they overcome the nervousness they must feel before
the competition, they will say, “Preparation.” They get ready physically and
mentally. They go over what they must do again and again, anticipating difficult
patches and challenges, and deciding how they will deal with them. By the
time the event begins, they are ready, excited, and confident. Tell your child to deal with nervousness about the party in the same way. Also, ask
your child what he expects to happen. Will there be dancing? Games? How large a crowd will there be? Tell your child to write down the answers.
Now, tell her to make a second list, a private one, of all of her best qualities. Maybe she really likes her hair or eyes. Maybe she has a great sense of humor that nobody knows about. Maybe she knows a lot about soccer or a certain kind of music. Recognizing these qualities will help her feel more confident and self-assured.
Next, tell your youngster to make a list of things he can talk about at the party. Magazines, newspapers, the radio, or television are all good sources for ideas. Now tell your child to imagine himself at the party, laughing and talking with others.
Imagine walking over to somebody who looks nervous and shy and starting a conversation with that person. One thing your child might say is, “I noticed that you don’t seem to know a lot of people here either. My name is ….”

Child Relations with Teachers

If a teacher pronounces your child’s name wrong, tell the child not to make a face. A youngster should never correct the teacher in front of the class. She or he should ask to see the teacher before or after class and explain how “my family” pronounces the name.
If your child gets blamed for something unfairly, it doesn’t help to argue the issue in front of the class. It embarrasses everybody and only makes matters worse. Instead, discuss the situation with the teacher in private. Your intervention could and should result in a public apology in class.
A birthday, Christmas, or end-of-year gift to your child’s teacher must not be extravagant and should be something that everyone in the class can contribute to. No one in the class should be embarrassed about not being able to afford to contribute. Super gifts are plants or CDs or nice chocolates. An even better idea is for the class to make something for the teacher, perhaps a poster with a signed class picture. Wrap it—and don’t forget to get a card that everyone can sign.