Wednesday, February 3, 2010
A couple of the girls start bickering. We won't name names.
Much to Audrey's chagrin, I pulled the van over, put on my hazards while the other cars went around me. I called the two queen bickering bees up towards the empty space in middle of the van. FOUR PRE-TEEN GIRLS LITERALLY DYING WONDERING WHAT THIS CRAZY LADY WILL DO NEXT.
I make them turn to one another, hold hands, look each other in the eye, and tell each other "I love you." One of them is CLEARLY more in touch with her feelings than the other. However, by this time, they are giggling and laughing and they go back to their seats.
This is the parenting method my Mom used most during sibling conflict, so I like to pull it out of my trick bag every now and again for the sake of nostalgia. I remember it working during childhood, but I then I also recall the moment fading quickly, quite like my husband's memory. Growing up, as we would turn away from each other, just moments after the lovefest, my brother would haul off and punch me just as Mom was out of sight.
Tonight, as soon as everyone got back in their respective seats, my darling daughter starts bullying one of the two girls in story above. Did she not understand that I was serious? This time I was not messing around, and I yelled out, "Audrey!!! You stop that bullying crap THIS MINUTE!!", at the top of my lungs. A N D, she stopped.
I don't know if in my childhood, parents understood the bullying that went on or realized its degree - because goodness knows, no one stepped in to stop it - but, it is the one thing that I can confidently say has the potential to negatively imapct a child more than anything else his/her peers will do. There are alot of things I let slide with Audrey, but bullying will never, ever be one of them.