I just read an awesome post by Katie Couric (OMG, Katie Couric) who guest posted over at NYC Mom's blog (too cool) and it reminded me of something my husband said yesterday. My husband has been able to tone down his total over protectiveness of his family, but you still do not want to mess with his kids.
He "coaches" the pick-up soccer for the kids in Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade on Thursdays after school, and as a professional youth soccer coach, he really believes he's there for more than just teaching them soccer. He gives them little academic trivia questions and insists they show respect for him and their teammates or there are consequences. And he actually studies what kids can handle at different ages.
Yesterday some 1st grader accidentally kicked a ball into our son's face, and K started crying. The kid responded by calling him a loser. Now I've read that making someone say they are sorry is not the best method for teaching compassion, but sue us, we still do it. And that's the rule in this game, when you've ignored the rule of looking where you are kicking the ball. My husband showed great restraint, I thought, by essentially telling the kid it's not nice to say mean things, it hurts kid's feelings, and if it happens again, especially with the coach's son, he won't be playing again.
What I heard him say next was quite disturbing. He explained how when the boys tease each other like that, the kindergartners still cry. By 1st and 2nd grade the kids have learned to ignore or hide their feelings. Gee, I didn't learn that until I was about 25, I said. He said he thinks he still hasn't learned it. And now it's at 6 or 7? They've stopped showing their feelings, that's so sad. What he does tell the kids, is that if someone says something to you that simply isn't true (that you're a loser, for example), to try to remember that and it's easier to ignore. Okay, he says it better, working with kids every day.
So what do you think, oh 3 readers of mine with small kids? I know I cried as a little girl, but do boys really not cry by 6?