Thursday, February 09, 2006

Am I raising sissies?

Reading the comments on yesterday's post about Ihsan's lost shoe reminded me of the time when he came home from school crying.
I did not get on the bus to pick him up that day, so I don't know what exactly happened, but he came home and said Hyun Bin and Ziy@d had called him 'nugget boy' and laughed at him.
After calming him down, I asked him what he was feeling and he said he felt like hitting those kids. I told him that that was not a nice thing to do, irregardless of what those kids did to him. If he had hit those boys, the boys' mothers and I would be very mad at him. We finally settled on walking to the boys' houses and me having a chat with their mothers. That made him feel better.

The next day I rode the bus to pick him up from school and chatted with Noran (the other bus monitor) about what had happened to Ihsan and I told her about Ihsan wanting to hit the boys and what my response to Ihsan was. It was meant as a funny anecdote, but I was really suprised by her reaction to it.
She said "No.. you should let them have their revenge. It will make them feel better".
I, of course, disagreed with her, but only in my heart (because being a Malay, we are often taught not to offend other people).

I am the kind of person who believe that being defensive is better than being offensive. So I would rather equip my kids with skills on how to avoid a potentially dangerous situation and how to handle being 'attacked', rather than how to exact revenge.

Once they get on the bus, I tell them to keep their hats and jackets in their bags, so that the other kids won't even think of playing with their hats or jackets.
I tell them to keep their toys in their bag till they get home, not only because I don't want them to lose them, I want to spare them the heartache that they will get when other kids see it and take it away from them.
I try to teach them how to ignore teasing and taunts by thinking good thoughts in their heads instead of talking back to the teaser (though that does not always work).
I tell Ihsan to wear sandals to the park so that his feet doesn't get sweaty and hot and he won't have to take off his shoes (and other boys won't play with his shoes and throw it up a tree again).
I teach my kids how to 'trade': when they want something some other person has, offer them something you have that they might like.
I try really hard to teach my kids that hitting someone is very very bad. (unfortunately I am not very good at teaching them this)

Sometimes I wonder if I am raising my kids to be sissies. Am I?

But then again, when I watch the news nowadays, I think I'd rather be raising my kids that way rather than see them burn buildings just because some bully somewhere rattled their cage.

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