Monday, August 13, 2012

On Tickling and Teasing: Disrespecting young children

"We've all seen this at the beach" -- this month we spend so much time outdoors and in public recreational areas -- "screaming toddlers and preschoolers ... carried to be thrown into the water" to their intense distress. This is not how to play with a child. -gw
How does one follow the lead of the child? By respecting that young children need to explore, discover, and construct their own learning and understanding, and by allowing them opportunities to do so.
Adults need to remember that they should not over-stimulate their children. Observation is key. The clearest example of over stimulation is tickling. Kids love to get tickled. But then they reach a point where they become over stimulated and it's no longer fun for them. You have to watch for physical signs and cues that kids have reached their breaking point. Babies will turn their gaze and their bodies away, older kids will say "no," "stop" or "no more." Crying, tantrums, any behavior - even laughing - where the child's emotion is escalated indicates over stimulation. It's just another reason observation skills are so important.
... it’s certainly common for adults or older kids to tease young children unmercifully, to justify their actions by saying they’re “just teasing”, and to become angry and even punish the child who displays distress when teased intensely. School-age children exposed to this treatment usually learn how to evade the adult’s attention, but younger ones naturally respond to distress by approaching the people who ought to be protecting them--  the very ones who are tormenting them.  We’ve all seen this at the beach, as screaming toddlers and preschoolers are carried to be thrown into the water, or in other situations where an adult picks up a child and won’t put her down, or threatens to throw away a toy or harm a pet. These situations often conclude with some type of punishment of the child, who is then characterized as a “wimp” or a “sissy”.


O Thou kind Lord! These lovely children are the handiwork of the fingers of Thy might and the wondrous signs of Thy greatness. O God! Protect these children, graciously assist them to be educated and enable them to render service to the world of humanity. O God! These children are pearls, cause them to be nurtured within the shell of Thy loving-kindness.
Thou art the Bountiful, the All-Loving.

Posted via email from Baha'i Views

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