Friday, March 11, 2011

Should we blame the school?

Because we FINALLY had some nice weather today, and because the kids are finally over their fevers/coughs/sore throats, I took them to the park this afternoon. Before then, they spent some time out in the backyard, working with plants. I was so proud of them; they were pulling weeds, watering plants and checking on flowers, all without my asking! Anyway, after the park, we piled into the car and went to the grocery store. Everything was going fine, we were in the freezer section picking out dinner, when Jesse pointed at someone and said, "Hey! You're stupid!"

Jennifer looked at me in shock. I double-checked with her to see if he had said what I had THOUGHT he said. Yes, she confirmed that he did indeed call a complete stranger "stupid."

I grew up in a family where name-calling ran rampant. I myself called others names, but what hurt me the most was my father often calling me "stupid." This left a wound that has never really healed. But this is why I am so against name-calling. I just won't stand for it. We don't call names at home, so I had to wonder why Jesse was starting to call people a name.

It's possible he heard it on a TV show. But my husband thinks otherwise. He thinks Jesse has been exposed to name-calling at his preschool.

This is not the first time he has blamed Jesse's preschool for something. Sometime after Jesse started preschool, he began hitting and kicking us. We don't allow that kind of behavior at home. We don't hit and kick each other! (Unlike how my own childhood was like.) So after he started doing this, my husband thought Jesse picked up on that behavior at school.

I cannot really tell for certain if this is true. I HAVE quizzed Jennifer a couple of times on what goes on at that school, because she has spent the day there a time or two. She said that hitting, kicking and name-calling NEVER happened at the school. And believe me, I know Kim! She is one of the most gentle and nonviolent people I have ever met. She has enormous patience with those kids.

But, still...we have to wonder. What if a child did call someone a name? What if Jesse did pick up on that from his preschool?

Then again, we must remember: He's 3. He doesn't need to be exposed to these things at preschool for them to happen. He's a boy, he's a toddler, he's working through his emotions the only way he knows how.

And of course, I'm probably just making excuses here....

We have made it clear to Jesse we won't tolerate name-calling. In fact, at dinner, he called Jennifer a name and my husband had to remove him from the table to have a face-to-face talk with him about this name-calling business. I only hope it is enough. I don't want to take Jesse out of preschool just because he is exhibiting this behavior. Hopefully, something will click for him and the next time he sees a child calling someone a name, he will know that that's bad instead of copying it.

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