Learning to Speak Up! (Boundaries, Personal power, Self-respect, Doing what’s right)

This morning, we took her friend to school, too. After they had played for a while, I suppose because he is older and in her class and I’d like him to look out for her, I quizzed them about bullying. “What would you do if someone was talking meanly to her?” He thought a good while and eventually determined he would tell the person to stop and ask a teacher for help if that didn’t work. My girl echoed the sentiment. So I upped the ante.

“What if the person saying mean things was your friend, and he said he would stop being your friend if you told on him?” My girl soon chimed in with a repeat of their answer to the first question. I added, “Right, if a friend insists that you allow him or her to be mean to someone or lose their friendship, that’s not a friend you need.” For a moment, I wondered if I had turned their morning into a serious affair. No, they went back to playing.

After school in the car and eager to connect with her, I was being a little silly and obnoxious with a sound I was making. She asked me to stop, and I did it again. She asked again, and I repeated the sound. “Stop,” she said firmly. Decided to do it one more time.

Now, to be clear, if I am tickling her or we are wrestling, and she asks me to stop, I do so instantly. It’s one way that I teach her that she should expect and insist on her physical boundaries to always be respected. Anyway, I digress. Back go the car this afternoon.

Decided to make the sound one more time, and she belted out a very clear and forceful, “Stop!” as she pecked away on the tablet. I stopped instantly, pleased and proud. If she can speak strongly to her Dad when she feels she is not being honored, she can do it with others. I felt like my antics, though not received in the playful spirit intended, had turned into a useful exercise. Then we went shopping and had good fun.

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