Repost: Nuances of Behavior

October 7, 2011 in Repost,soccer

Reposts are from a blog I started when my girls were younger. I’ve changed nothing about their content so you can read my thinking process when my girls were younger.


When Bug started playing soccer, I was struck by discrepancies in parents’ language. Four-year-olds have been told most of their life—share, don’t grab, don’t be rough. Then we put them on the soccer field and start telling them to steal the ball, don’t let that other girl get the ball, break through the mob(aka be rough). One teammate last fall consistently cried early in the season because the other girls weren’t sharing. Well honey, I’m afraid the rules change in life more often than anyone will tell you.


Soccer isn’t the only place where our carefully taught lessons run amuck. I remember when Bird was toddling, she kept sharing her sippy cup with other kids. I wondered how confusing it was for her to have me praise toy sharing and yell “NO!” with sippy cup sharing.


And this morning Bird accused Bug of lying. Bug was playfully poking Bird when her back was turned and then denying the poke. Bird was mad because she knew who had poked her. 


I tried to explain that adults play this same game. They tickle a kid or hide a toy behind a back and claim to have no part in the event. Then they do it again when the child’s not looking. It’s more like playing a trick than lying I told Bird. Often, adults push these games just to the point of upsetting a kid. Why do we do this?


I rethought my answer and my many admonitions to stop doing something if your sister doesn’t like it.  The line of appropriateness can be faint, a bit mobile and so hard to explain.
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