Friday, April 4, 2014

Reinforcement of Life Lessons

At the beginning of the school year, a particular Mean Girl in the class was verbally assaulting Raphaela at every chance possible, and sometimes getting to the point of inappropriate physical behavior.  At first I told Raphaela that when people act out, it's not about Raphaela, it has nothing to do with her, and we must learn to ignore the stupidity of others, even feel compassion for them, and not take it personally. As well, I encouraged a zero-tolerance policy regarding hitting and the like.

I also taught her that when this girl or any other person says something nasty to her, she should say, with conviction, "I don't care!  I'm not listening, La La La."  Together we practiced the technique in imaginary scenarios.  Though she hasn't needed to use this tactic often, Raphaela has gotten quite proficient at deflecting.

Today after Gan we went to the park nearby and witnessed the following scene:  six or seven older girls had come to hang out and one particular girl felt that she was being left out and persecuted by one of the ring leaders.  After some mild mocking, this red-headed freckled girl shouted with confidence, "You can say any hurtful words you like, it doesn't bother me, it just makes you nasty. I don't care."

The other girls in the group were unsure whose side they should take, the popular leader girl or the one who was clearly being treated badly.  Within two minutes, everyone - including the Mean Girl who saw she was being left behind - supported our heroine and they all got along nicely again.

Raphaela sat on the bench with me, watching this whole story play itself out, and then she turned to me with awe in her voice, "Mommy, she said, 'I DON'T CARE,' and it worked!"

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