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Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Assertiveness Training for Ali
If you are a regular reader of this blog you know that I write about my son Will (7 years old) every once in a while. He does get a lot of blog space in comparison with his sister Ali (4 years old). Fear not! This post is all about Ali (okay, it's about me too) and illustrates one of my basic tenets of parenting, We're not in the Sh*t business.
I was driving Ali to preschool yesterday. Ali is very energetic and... assertive. On this day, however, she was more laid back.
"How are you doing back there?" I asked.
"What if kids make fun of my band aid?" She replied.
Now Ali has a band aid on her forehead. She had taken a mild "header" down the stairs (3 stairs) on our deck and the mandatory band aid was planted on.
"No one is going to make fun of you.." I answered with the lazy Dad response.
"The kids at the gym made fun of me," she replied.
I did not know that.
This is when I pulled out my parenting protocol, We are not in the Sh*t business. To paraphrase Polonius (from Hamlet, he was the "Neither a lender nor borrower be" guy): Neither a bully nor bully-ee (as in a recipient of bullying) be. The principle fully stated is thus: Do not give other people sh*t, do not take sh*t from other people, you are not in the sh*t business. This is a difficult road to travel. Even though Ali can be alpha-girly with other kids (like any other 4 year old) she is sensitive to her peers. And the problem with raising basically nice kids is that they can get rolled over by others. This is far preferable to the problems of raising a sociopath (I've seen it up close, it isn't pretty), but it's still an issue to be tackled.
I stopped the car at the stoplight and turned to her..
"If any of the kids at any time make fun of you, you tell them to STOP IT," I used the "voice". The voice is the voice of command, the voice I learned from my father. One of the secrets of using the voice is the ability to turn it on or off at will.
"OK?" I asked, using my normal tone.
I dropped her off at school and upon picking her up later that afternoon I learned that none of the kids had given her any grief over looking a bit different because of the band aid.
Even if they did I feel Ali would've had the correct response.
You see, she's not in the sh*t business.