July 13, 2004

Poor Kid.

I'm trying to determine if my daughter's recent behavior is reflective of her age or her disposition. It seems a couple of girls have been making fun of her name at the summer program she attends. Of course, this hurts her feelings. However, she's not been telling them that it hurts her feelings and is too embarrassed to say anything to the teachers. I asked her why and she said because that would be mean. She seems particularly sensitive to this type of treatment and doesn't seem to have the confidence to stick up for herself. I try to explain to her that letting her feelings and disapproval be known to the offending parties does not constitute "meanness," but she's not interested in listenting to that. My husband just says she should punch them out. Luckily, she's a smart girl and usually responds, "DAD!!! That's not the right answer." Of course, I'm silently agreeing with the old man, but we can't really let her think that's a legitimate coping tool. I just don't know how I managed to produce a child with such a dearth of violent tendencies considering I usually was one of the kids who hit first and talked later. That only happened a handfull of times, but still, I'd hit 'em.

So I'm left trying to figure out how to get her to stand up for herself. I changed tactics a bit and tried to explain to her that she can't control other people's behavior, but she can always control hers. I told her she doesn't need to be hurt by these girls because they have no impact on her life if that's what she chooses. They're vapor and as consequential to her life as dung beetles. Strangely enough, she seemed to grasp that better than contemplating speaking up for herself. Explain that one to me.

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