Why We Don’t Always Choose Kindness
Ok, before y’all get the pitchforks… hear me out.
I am in no way talking about marginalized populations. We strongly encourage our kiddos to engage in play or conversations with anyone who seems left out or excluded. That type of kindness is not what this is about.
I’m talking about jerks. It’s tricky when a child is mean. It can be easy to dismiss their behavior as ignorance or a lack of positive role models. Maybe the child had been hurt and they’re own coping mechanism is to hurt back…? I understand there are so many reasons, and they are rarely the child’s fault, that kids can be hurtful and mean. BUT I do not believe in subjecting my own child to those behaviors in order to “be kind.”
Bullying has really taken a new form over the last 15 years and because of that I feel there is some confusion between being polite and civil and being friends.
It is NEVER okay for my children to be rude. Any time someone compliments my kids on their manners, I am so proud of MYSELF. My husband and I have worked our butts off teaching the importance of manners. Saying please and thank you is not something learned in the womb. We have repeated it 678,987 times and will continue to teach and instill the importance of respect, in all its forms, to our kids.
My sweet, polite, well spoken, sensitive, loyal to a fault, son will be a punk to someone at some point, but he is such a pleaser I am petrified at what elementary school could throw at him. We had an incident in kindergarten of a classmate taking his glasses during rest time, every day. I only found out after my son drew a picture of it. We later received a birthday party invitation for this boy. I was quick to decline, much to my son’s disappointment. He learned a hard lesson that day. Sometimes kids in your class, are just that. Not everyone is your FRIEND. Friends don’t treat friends that way. I do not believe in retaliation but I do believe in the art of walking away and ignoring. He needs to understand you teach people how to treat you.
If you won’t stand for disrespect, those people will change or you won’t be their friend. It may not be KIND, but it isn’t mean.
I am concerned about the present and long term effects of my son’s people pleaser mentality. I want him to know there is a tribe for everyone. I never want him to feel like he needs to be different in order to have friends. There is always someone else to play with. I have to teach him to not only be respectful to others, but to also have respect for himself. That means recognizing when someone doesn’t have your best interest at heart. That means understanding the difference between a friend and an acquaintance.