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    Stepping Back

    Your child will be better prepared to tackle the bumps on the road of life if he has been given the gift of guided independence.

    Jacquie McTaggart

    dock pip

    Pip is thoroughly enjoying pre-school.    I lingered a bit longer than usual one morning when dropping Pip off, and she came up to me and said, “Mama, why are you staying here so long?”  She wanted me to leave.  She enjoys her time in the magical world of Daisytree.  She has been known to utter the words, “I love my school,” as we leave the little door of her pre-school behind us and head for the car.

    During the drive home I typically ask Pip about her morning.  One morning last week our conversation went like this, “What did you do at school this morning?”

    “Well, I wanted to play Castle with Annie and Mavis, but they kept saying I was a bat.”

    “What do you mean?”

    “They were both princesses and they’d look at me and say, ‘Oh No! There’s a bat!’  and I told them I was not a bat, but they still said it.”

    “Hmm,” said I, “that must have been frustrating.  Did you ask Lily (the teacher) for help?”

    “No.”

    At this point in Pip’s story I was already contemplating a discussion with Pip’s teacher.  Because Pip is such a sensitive creature, I sometimes fear that she won’t speak up for herself when she is in an uncomfortable situation.  When I was a classroom teacher, I always encouraged parents to come to me if their child was unhappy about something that had happened in class.  My philosophy was that I would rather nip a situation in the bud instead of having a child feel anxious about something.

    At the same time, I want to encourage Pip to find her own voice.  My job as a parent is to help Pip become independent, and even at the tender age of three, she needs to know that her father and I believe in her.

    Back in the car, I asked Pip how she had felt when the girls called her a bat.

    “I didn’t like it, Mama.”

    “I can understand that, Pip.  So what did you do?”

    “I left the castle and played with Tim.”

    I was ecstatic with this turn of events, but I tried to curb my enthusiasm, “And did you enjoy playing with Tim?”

    “Yup,” Pip finished.

    PERFECTION.  Pip handled the situation beautifully.  She spoke up for herself, then left the scene when her friends weren’t playing in a way that she enjoyed.  It was far better than asking a teacher to intervene.  Pip’s finding her voice.  One experience at a time.

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