Yesterday, on the ride home from school, my girl asked for her lunch-bag. She then pulled out a note from her teachers about her punching someone in the arm.
It’s not the first time she has hit. In the fall of last year, she slapped someone who teased her. At that time, I reminded my girl that there are higher ways to solve a problem, but I also affirmed her need and right to stand up for herself. In fact, I replied to the school that I had reviewed how to handle situations without hitting, but that I was “proud of her for not taking any crap from a boy.” Her teachers did not respond.
In this recent case, after reminding her about not hitting, I calmly asked about the incident.
Best as I could understand, girl had run outside losing her place in the bathroom line but then rushed back to cut to the front. Isabella raced to the front but ended up being blocked at the door by the other girl who had beaten her. This angered Isabella, and she gave her a non-injuring punch in the arm. The other girl ran off crying, her feelings hurt. My daughter, rightly so, was called on her behavior.
I affirmed her right to take care of herself but then asked how else she could have handled it.
Asking a teacher for help
Explaining that the other girl had lost her place according to class rules
Coming from understanding that her friend may have needed the bathroom urgently and allowing her
It all, of course, required communication and remaining level-headed instead of reacting, something few human beings have completely mastered.
Me – “You just reacted. You needed to communicate.”
Her – “Yeah, I didn’t do that.”
She was seeing the situation now from a higher, more aware perspective.
Her – “I just forgot about the happiness inside of me.”
Because I wasn’t harshly condemning her, we were connected, and she was finding her way back home to her heart and inner sense of right and wrong.”
Me – “Well, we all do that, at times.”
Her – “I forgot about the love inside of me.”
Me – “We all forget about the happiness and love inside ourselves, at times, and we react. Forgive yourself, okay?”
Her – “Okay.”
Me – “Now, how do you think you can make it right? How can you make it right with your friend?”
She mentioned apologizing, but spring break was starting, and it would have to wait.
Her – “I could say I’m sorry to her in my heart.”
Me – “That’s a great idea. Why don’t you do that?”
Then the back of the car went silent as she spoke to her friend within and sent it through the ethers.
I was satisfied. Besides the fact that a 6yr-old’s brain is still far from full development in terms of regulating emotions, our discussion reinforced many things for her.
And, I have to say her words about forgetting about the happiness and love inside of me say it all, for all of us.