Monday, September 12, 2011

This is how mini Psychologists get started or how mindless zombies/robots/borg are created.

So the kids are back in school now. It's been about 19 days since my last post and I have been busy. 

Ok I get it you want something new to read from me.. so here I am. I have been busting my ass trying to get a job where I can sit down. I have had 1 interview for the school district, I have been to Wyoming Work Force so much that I am on a first name basis with everyone there. I have submitted my resume and cover letter to every place that I know that will take it. Still nothing. The small town has a Who I know vs What I know policy which I hate very much as it keeps companies from hiring me. Fucking get over who you know because eventually they fuck up and it makes you look bad.

Like putting in a good word and if you don't live up to that well you're screwed.

Ok I am off that soap box only to get on another. I have had papers upon papers to fill out. Thanks for ruining the environment by killing a tree; school districts. I mean really what happened to using recycled paper. Half the paper you send home gets thrown away anyway. These are the papers telling us parents what is in line for this year and while I am happy to know what you will be teaching my impressionable young child, I sometimes worry what the benefit of it will be especially when you come up with Social Emotional Skills training. 

What the fresh hell is this? You have a bullet list of how many units you will be teaching and then a subset of how we parents can do to help the kid at home practice these skills. 

Unit 1: Empathy Training. (your definition) Children learn about feelings and ways to show understanding and caring towards others. 
My thoughts - First off my child knows about feelings. They run the gamut of feelings at home and they can see that in others as well. I mean seriously. my child(ren) see me cry they immediately want to know why. Isn't that caring? This to me shows they have an understanding of what feeling is being used and what is the appropriate response. You guys at the schools don't give them enough credit.

Unit 2: Impulse Control and Problem Solving (your definition) Children learn new ways to solve problems and practice skills such as calming down, apologizing, interrupting politely, and making new friends.
My thoughts - What the hell?? I get that they learn how to problem solve that isn't the issue but really they need to learn how to interrupt politely? I never heard of that. There is no such thing as interrupting politely. It's called wait til the conversation is over or jump into the conversation because you want to put your perspective on it then there is your opening to direct the conversation towards what you want. My kids also don't have issues making new friends. It's spending time with new friends that is the challenge. In this day and age Parents can't be too trusting of others considering the crazies that run around.  Also? Let me just say for the sake of everything that these things should be taught at home. My kids know these lessons like the back of their hand. I mean isn't time out a way to calm down and after corner time is up the apology comes next? I take it a bit further and make them do something they really don't want to do .. hugs. Yep hugs. This gets them every time especially if they are mad at each other. The LAST thing they want to do is hug each other. They usually are calm after that and continue playing as if nothing ever happened. 

Unit 3: Anger Management (your definition) Children manage their anger in ways that do not hurt others. 
My thoughts- Wow. At home my kids get put in time out unless they exceed the warnings I give them then its a spanking. So it occurs to me that I have no idea what ways you are talking about when you say they are to manage their anger so that it doesn't hurt others. Do you seriously think that they are going to just walk away from what pisses them off? I say being angry is healthy. Why? Because for crying out loud they aren't robots. They are allowed to be mad, upset, ticked off, irritated, irate, annoyed etc.. for whatever reason.. Maybe they are just having a bad day.. Granted they shouldn't take it out on others and probably should either talk to someone about why they had a bad day or like every other kid I know shrug it off and go play with someone else. I can understand that you don't want violence from any child but if it seriously comes to blows for some kids maybe YOU aren't paying attention? My kids are always the second mouse getting the cheese or being caught retaliating because YOU didn't see what provoked them to begin with. What's the point of having teacher aides and playground aides so that you don't see that kind of thing going on. If you were diligent enough you would have seen the first kid start it and could have prevented the provoking. Make sense?

 This being only the beginning of the third week you are just now sending home this letter to inform me that you are teaching my child about Empathy. Your definition - identifying and understanding your own and others' feelings in order to get along better. My thoughts - hmm you might be on to something... Wait.. they learn this from day one. They pick up on it at home. They know how to read body language and they know how others feel by whatever emotion is being portrayed. Then you give us ways to practice Empathy with our child. 
1. Identifying their own and others' feelings by looking at faces, recognizing body clues, and listening to voices and watching what is happening. You say we can help the child practice noticing by commenting on their disposition. (i.e. You're smiling, then you ask the question Are you happy? Why?)
My thoughts- First off the kid is smiling. This kinda goes without saying that the kid is happy. Second off don't be Captain Obvious and ask them why. Chances are you just surprised them with an ice cream cone or promised them something amazing. Also? I just mentioned above that my kids are adept at reading body language to know if a certain feeling is being shown. If they are unsure they know to ask. 
2. Recognizing that people may react differently to different situations. You say we can help the child practice by saying to them "You like to play _________, but it scares (which not all kids are scared of situations maybe they just don't want to do it?Did that ever occur to you?) your friend. What can we do about that?" (Not a damn thing. You don't force another kid to do something they don't want to do.)
My thoughts - I couldn't resist point out that not all kids are scared of things. Some probably don't know how to say no or just plain don't want to do what your child is doing. Remember its a freedom to do what they want I think its expression. Also you don't make someone else's kid do something that they don't want to do. I should also point out that while I am all for the kid to try new things if they genuinely don't want to do whatever it is you are trying to make them do then don't force them. Maybe start them off with small steps on how to get to the point where they want to be able to do the activity. It's like trying a new food .. small bites first.. then if they don't throw up on you then its a start. 
3. Predict Feelings. You say  we can help our child practice this skill  by asking them "How do you think your friend might feel if she asked you a question and you didn't answer?" 
My thoughts - They get this at home. Worded like this: How do you think that makes your sister feel when you pull her hair? Would you like it? The general answer is NO. I mean they don't need to relearn this particular skill and I have no problems incorporating it with what I teach them at home. But I am not raising my kids to be Psychic either. They shouldn't learn to predict feelings because generally that could get them in trouble. Case in point. You didn't answer me, how do you think that makes me feel? (this is where you ad-lib the other person's answer and depending on how snarky you are determines the answer.)Most people ad-lib this: It makes you feel upset (which is usually said in a sarcastic tone and for emphasis there is a rolling of the eyes.). Which just points out that you predicted they would be sarcastic and not very Empathetic to your feelings.. which then I would think defeat the purpose of this exercise. 
4. Learning the difference between accidents and things done on purpose. You say we can help the child by asking them "Do you think he really meant to knock over your bike?"
My thoughts - WHY did you ask them that question?? You know through "Predicting Feelings" that the answer to that is going to be YES. This irks me to no end because you can show by actions the difference between doing something on purpose to doing something on accident. KIDS know how to manipulate this feeling! Case in point. My daughter was reading a book. Her brother comes along and knocks it out of her hands. His excuse was he was just playing. She knew he did it on purpose and that it wasn't an accident and knew he was just doing it to piss her off. He knew it wasn't playing and he knew he did it to piss her off. He also knew that when he did it that it was wrong. Now when they are doing something together and one knocks over a juice cup reaching for something (that he should have asked for to begin with) that is an accident and she knows that as well. No use crying over spilled juice if communication were to be recognized. What I mean is that usually in an accident the other doesn't have an awareness of what is going on such as stepping on toes or reaching for something and accidentally knocking something over. Now if you have the attention of the person you and you deliberately stomp on their toes its not an accident and again you give the kids too little credit concerning this. I think they like to lie. ( I will elaborate in a min.)
5. Sharing feelings. You say we can practice this with the child by sharing our feelings with them. 
My thoughts - While it may help your child understand how you are feeling it doesn't necessarily mean its the truth. You can smile and at the same time be hurting inside. That is what it means to be a parent. Its the ability to keep grown up feelings to yourself rather than spew them onto the poor child giving them a burden they can't bare. While sometimes you can tell them that you are crying because someone hurt your feelings or that someone outright hurt you, it only appeases little kids. When you have tweens that is a different story. They want to know why and they want to know if you are going to be ok. Teens don't care because they are dealing with their own imbalances and feelings.  Sometimes grown-ups can't share their feelings with little kids because it will get them into trouble. (You know I had to go there because way too many adults take this literally and end up on THAT list, if they are caught "sharing" their feelings with a minor.) While I know that you probably didn't mean that kind of feelings or sharing I am aware that its a fine line for most people hence the reason I had to go there. I stress this to you because most feelings adults have are too much for a kid to handle and there for adults should not say anything or keep it minimal. It's not the child's burden to carry.
6. Understanding and accepting differences in others. You say we can help our child practice by saying "It's okay for your friend to be different from you. You two are alike in some ways too. How?"
My thoughts- First off the kid knows that their friend is different because of the obvious. They deal with diversity better than adults do. They aren't prejudice of race, sex, or anything else and you want to point out to them the differences. That is how hate is started. That is how bullies come into being. You want the kid to pick up on the differences of why their friend doesn't look like them because of the way they dress or how they act and its no wonder we have cliches, cliques and groups of people that don't get along with the others. You also ask the child how they are the same and they will give you the basic run down, they are a boy just like me or they are a girl just like me. The way they wear their hair or what kinds of things they like etc.. I mean this is the common factor of why they probably became friends to begin with so asking them that you are going to get that famous eye roll and a mom/dad please look. 

 So basically while you think that parents aren't doing their jobs in teaching these skills at home you are putting one more nail in our coffin about how you know better than we do about parenting when most of you don't have kids of your own or forgot what it was like having kids of your own at home. Not many parents are going to be receptive to this idea of you implementing social skills on their children. I know I am not. 

I want to say that while you thought this was a good idea to teach to the masses; only a few families need this in their daily routines because you can just tell by looking at the kid (there we go again with predicting feelings and identifying others' feelings) about who could benefit from this program and whose time it would be wasting by making the child learn it from both home and school. Leave the social and emotional teaching to the parents unless you know what goes on behind closed doors. And this is considered nosy unless abuse is suspected. 

You shouldn't implement something of this magnitude and not expect repercussions from parents. some are going to flip out while others silently fume  and others hop on the bandwagon. I am not one to turn my kid into a miniature psychologist, or psychiatrist/counselor. They should be able to be free with their emotions and not have to talk about their feelings not to mention be themselves. To me you are turning my kid into a germ-a-phobe not to mention a sissy where they either tattle because their "feelings" got hurt or that instead of confronting the issue they have to analyze it which is two different things. I am sure that you know the difference between confronting something and analyzing but just in case you don't. Analyzing something means to understand it; confronting something means you have to come to terms with that is how its going to be or confront the idea that you can change it. I want my child to be able to understand that they have the right to feel the way they do and not have to justify why they feel that way by analyzing their feelings of what happened to make them feel the way they do. If that makes sense. 

ok Soap box over. I think I will post tomorrow random things that happend on 9-11-11. And I am soo glad you made it to the end. When I soapbox I tend to ramble and for that I am sorry. It's also 2:10 in the bloody morning and I have kids to get up to the bus stop by 6:45. Go me. 

So anyway comment. It's not going to kill you or turn you into a mindless robot/zombie/borg. 

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