Thursday, January 17, 2008

Hands are not for hurting

Spanking is a controversial subject—give me a second while I put on Kidd gloves. I will acknowledge up front that I don’t agree with spanking. But this post was inspired by something a parent said today—the result of her words is definitely food for thought…

First, a little background info… I teach preschool and love it. I introduced the Hands & Words Are Not For Hurting pledge last week, because some of the children were having a difficult time not pushing and shoving. Here’s a link to the pledge website:

The program encourages respect for yourself and others in an effort to increase self-confidence and lessen violence/bullying. It’s presented in schools and women’s shelters in many states.

Three and four-year-old children have very little life experience. They watch everything we do, copying us…that’s how they learn about life. Country-song analogy...Rodney Atkins..."Watching You." Children are also growing—physically, emotionally, cognitively. Their little bodies are constantly changing, and they lack intellectual tools to understand those changes.

Adults have life-long experience, yet we lose our tempers every day. How we handle that anger says everything to children. “Do as I say, not as I do” translates to “I can break rules, but you can’t,” which leads to confusion and lack of trust.

Back to my preschool parent… She told me after class that her child had discussed the Hands Pledge, stating logically that her mother couldn’t spank her anymore. Of course, her mother didn’t agree with her, and I instantly understood why the child had acted out in class for the very first time today--pushing, grabbing, ignoring my words.

Her faith in adult logic had been stomped on. Why should she control her anger, when the most important adult in her life doesn’t?

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