Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Children and their friends. So important to play nice together, not to leave anyone out and to say you're sorry if you do something wrong.... adhere to the social rules, if you like. The foundation of life's lessons. The golden rule for parents of course is to never. ever. get. involved. EVER. Monitor from a distance but let them sort it out for themselves.
It's bloody hard at times though...
These social rules exist when playing outside at yard times, or on the road. Things go wrong, kids fall out and generally things get sorted pretty quickly. If they don't then there's usually an adult that sees or has heard what has happened and apologies can be 'elicited'.....and accepted and lessons can be learned.
Nowadays there are more ways for children to interact with each other as they play together on online forums, all from the comfort of their own homes. Like on xboxlive, for example. They get to play nice together, not leave anyone out and to say sorry if they do something wrong.... the social rules apply here too. Don't they?
Or do they.
* At break time two children ask another to play football with them at lunchtime and the child says that he will. When lunchtime comes the child changes his mind and explains (nicely) that he no longer wants to play, he's playing with another child. Not very nice, as he previously agreed to play but what's the correct response from the boys? Do they grudgingly accept his apology and play with him again the next day or do they 'remove him as a friend' never to play with him again and refuse all apologies? It's likely that the former is the more usual response. If it isn't then it will soon be noticed in the class and perhaps teacher would intervene to encourage a more appropriate resolution.
* At break time two boys ask another boy to play online with them later that evening and he agrees. An unexpected (and rare) play date materialises and he has a friend over. He's asked to electronically 'join the party' but explains (nicely) that he doesn't want to right now...(his friend can't join in as he hasn't got a headset)...and the immediate response is to be 'removed as a friend' by both friends. All offers of apologies refused. For days.
Am I the only one who sees something inherently wrong in these scenarios?
Why is 'removing a friend' considered an immediate response to a relatively minor misdemeanor online when it wouldn't be so in real life play?
Do the children actually understand the function of 'removing a friend'? I'm assuming it's more for the child's own protection so they're not bullied by others.
Do children need to be specifically taught/reminded that social rules, as such, apply to all forms of play?
Should this issue be included in any school Assertiveness type talks?
I've had a chat with my son and he says that he never 'removes friends' like that. In fact one boy didn't accept his 'invite to join the party' once. He says he was annoyed about it but he accepted it and didn't 'remove him as a friend.'
Thank God, my boy gets it.
Yes, that's right.... the child with the alleged social skills deficit (when younger, clearly not now) gets it.
Or am I way out of line here?
NOTE: Image credit clipartof.com