Saturday, August 28, 2010

the worst part about being a mother

Today at Artic Circle, Tempe was her usual happy-go-lucky self on the playground--until a slightly older girl decided that no one was allowed to play with the steering wheel or go in the tunnel.
Tempe came up to me several times, teary-eyed, saying "That girl is being naughty to me." I hugged her, kissed her cheek, and told her to ignore the girl and play where she wanted to.
Then the girl pushed her.
Tempe sobbed for 10 minutes--her feelings hurt more than anything.
What worried me most was Tempe choking out between sobs: "It's all my fault!"
How do I handle that?
How do I teach her to be assertive, but not aggressive? How do I help her stay sensitive, but be able to brush off the mean things kids say and still be happy?
I know I can't protect her from fighting and teasing. It happens to everyone. So how do I equip her with the tools to handle it the right way?
And how do I stop wanting to cry when I think of my little girl--my beautiful, sweet, compassionate, happy little girl who wants to be friends with everyone--facing the real world for the first time, learning that not everyone is nice and not everyone will like her and treat her kindly?


Lisa said...

That's so hard, Kate. Some children just don't play well with others; some, like Tempe, want to be friends with everyone! Help her know that she can choose her own actions and reactions. She can be happy, friendly, and kind, even when she sometimes encounters children who are not kind. We're all on this earth to learn these lessons, so continue to teach her these values at home and on the playground. Remember that with children this young, it's not really a matter of who likes who, but of territory ("that's my steering wheel, and I'm not going to share it!). Help Tempe know that she is loved and valued!

gjan said...

Your last paragraph reminds me of just how I felt sending Jason out in the world. He was so kind and gentle and I knew he would find that not everyone cared about other people the way he did. I'm a much more assertive mom now, I would have gone over and had a chat with that little girl on the steering wheel (and her mother). Refusing to share is one thing, pushing is quite another.