Dealing with Monsters

 

There’s a common woe that all kids have and it’s being small. Not only in stature, which is daunting on its own, but in power. Feeling powerless is scary!

Once in a while, I get on my knees and look at my toddlers’ world from their viewpoint. Whoa! Everything seems an obstacle. How courageous they are to navigate this world of giant things. An adult, in that situation, would probably cower in a corner. Now add loud noises that you have never heard and places you don’t know how to get to. Then there are bigger humans saying “No” and “Don’t touch”. There are so many things you want but(like a stroke victim) you can’t find the words to ask for them.
Well, this is the world of a two-year-old. Frankly, I think they handle things far better than I would.

You may have thought that this post’s title would be about the “monsters” which are commonly known as misbehaving children. In the real world we adults, and the unknowns, are the “monsters” to kids. It’s so often unintentional yet stems from the forgetting of our own powerless days of childhood. How many of you pretended to be Superman or Wonder Woman as a child? Do you think there’s a connection? I do.

Today’s efforts to relieve children from every thought of violence are not all positive. Many child care “institutions” disallow kids the opportunity to feel empowered when they exclude super heroes and the battling of monsters from “positive play”.

Just yesterday, a little fellow in my care, burst into tears recounting a recent event when his uncle repeatedly threw him into a swimming pool against his wishes. I hugged him first and then told him to start a “Kick Your Butt” list. This list would hold all the names of those who had hurt his feelings. We agreed that he would not always be small and powerless, and one day, he’d be capable of kicking each of them in the butt! He smiled and his posture straightened.
He changed from a curled up defeated little boy to a Super Hero who would weld his power to place people on that “list” when he was cornered. I told him that he probably wouldn’t really kick anyone because he was such a kind boy but the list was his only choice for the “monsters” and they’d better be careful not to be at the top! You should have seen his smile.

There’s a wonderful book about this :

indexI’m afraid the current trend of totally “disarming” kids, may be more harmful than good. I wonder, if the recent teenage violence might be, in part, to a sense of powerlessness? How are we helping kids feel powerful if we take the “pretend” violence away? Certainly, worth considering.

 

 

 

Say what?

Ah, my first post centers directly on the true Dumb Peas, which are adults. We cannot seem to talk to kids in other than ambiguous terms. I’m no better than all the rest.

Just yesterday, the kids asked for some empty coffee cans to be used to collect rocks. Happily, I retrieved two of them from an avalanche created just by opening the cupboard door beneath my sink. (Did I mention that day care providers are wonderful at recycling? )
As I set them off outdoors on one of the first warm spring days, I shouted, “Don’t collect too many.” Say what?
What does too many mean? It should have been obvious, to a seasoned professional, that “too many” translates differently in a kid’s world. Yet I distinctly heard myself say it!

While we’re at it, STOP has a clear dual meaning. We adults will never learn that “stop”, even when shouted, means “pause and wait for the adult to turn away” to children.

How about the ever popular, “Be careful.” ? ¬†This is voiced by each and every adult when sending the kids out to play, without hesitation or embarrassment.

But my favorite will always be, “Don’t fall.” offered freely to toddlers learning to run and to bigger kids hanging from trees. Really?

When I consider all the stupid things adults cannot seem to overcome saying, it frightens me a bit and makes me wonder, who really is “in control” at my house.