Monday, August 12, 2013

Raphaela , No Swiping!

I have begun to understand the educational value of the Dora character, Swiper the Fox.

When Raphaela was in Gan, she rarely took her mini-backpack to school, but now in English Camp, she not only fills it every day with her snacks and her toys, but she also uses it as a security blanket of sorts;  apparently, according to the staff at the camp, she wears the backpack all day and they have stopped suggesting that she hang it up like all the other children.

Every afternoon when we return home, I ask Raphaela to empty her bag so we can talk about her day, and so I can anticipate the disastrous clean-up job of her lunch box.  Inevitably, my daughter has brought home a souvenir from the camp:  a brightly colored spoon, a piece of a puzzle, a hair clip or bow.  And every day I ask her to whom these small objects belong and Raphaela will answer consistently, "I asked Tania if I could take it home and she said 'yes'!"

And the next morning I surreptitiously sneak that object into my pocket and return it to the camp without Raphaela noticing.

My issues and criticism of Dora revolved around that Swiper personality, the Kleptomaniac Kid who seemed driven to steal and swipe, who every show apologized and said he would not do so again, and lo and behold, steals and swipes the very next show.  I felt that it taught children that it's OK to engage in bad behavior as long as you apologize each time, and that if you perpetuate the action long enough, people around you will accept it as part of the natural order.

I realize now that children this age like to snag mementos, even knowing that it might be improper to sneak the object into your backpack when you think no one is looking.  As a mother, I must teach Raphaela a value system which includes "Don't Swipe or Steal," while allowing for normative behavior.

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