Tuesday, 4 October 2016

My daughter changed the world today (in her own little way)

My 9-year-old daughter was having problems at school with a boy called Marco. Marco is a 12-year-old in her class. I was a bit unsure about the way they mix the ages in classes when I first arrived here but am now convinced it’s a great idea. Poppy’s own age group of girls can get quite clicky and bitchy at times and she now finds solace in the older friends she has made in class which is lovely.

But she didn’t like Marco. She said he was very mean. She mentioned Marco's 'nastiness' again over the weekend and when I questioned her further she admitted he was mean to most people but ‘especially’ mean to her. And on further questioning the meanest thing she could remember him saying is that she is ‘rubbish at gymnastics’ (I had to stifle a giggle here because my daughter has become opposed to sport and activity in general, much to my despair) I said what did you say to that? She said she blew a raspberry at him. I said ‘Do you think you could have responded in a better way?’ She said ‘no’.

So I had a little think and tried a different tactic. I talked about Marco and the fact that he had been kept back from progressing to secondary school last year. They seem to do this quite a lot in Switzerland - holding a child back a year if they are not ready to progress. But of course it can be tough on the child involved, especially when they are left behind in primary school.

I discussed how Marco might be feeling and challenged her to try and make Marc smile once this week. She guffawed and said in an exasperated tone, ‘Mum! That will be impossible!’ I just smiled and said, ‘Just keep a lookout for an opportunity’

And do you know what? She arrived home yesterday LUNCHTIME grinning her little butt off, yelling up the stairs (we live in a third floor flat) ‘Guess what? I didn’t just make Marco smile – I made him laugh – TWICE!’

Then later at bedtime she said, ‘Marco has changed somehow.’ I said ‘For the better?’ She smiled and said ‘Yes!’ Before I turned the light out I said: ‘Poppy you changed the world today.’ And for once she didn’t argue.

12 comments:

  1. This is such a lovely story and what a great suggestion you gave her!! I will remember that for us. Z struggled a lot last year with a naughty boy, who was being physically violent with her.. If I may only give you one observation from own experience, asking ‘Do you think you could have responded in a better way?’ doesn't work for us because it imposes she did it wrong way, Z always gets defensive and also says no! But asking what she could have responded differently usually opens conversation.. Loved it, very inspiring

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    1. I am so glad you found this inspiring. Yes, you're right about my question, as I also found out! I feel I often say the wrong thing in these situations, which was why I was so glad I eventually got it right for a change :) I guess we have to keep on trying and hope something resonates here and there. Thanks again!

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  2. What a funny (pun intended) solution ;-) Glad you didn't say what so many people say "boys are mean to girls they like" which I find terrible and implies it's ok for boys to be mean or equate meanness with affection! Yikes!

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    1. Yes indeed, what a message to spread to your children! Glad you liked my unusual solution. Hoping for more successes from time to time!

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  3. Such a sweet story! And interesting about the mixed age classes. Is that ongoing or a test?

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  4. Thanks Kate. This is normal at our village school. All classes are mixed between three years. Scary when we started but we have grown to love it!

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  5. Such a lovely story. What did your daughter do to make Marco laugh?
    Btw. we have also mixed classes - my son is now in the 1st class together with one year older. I think their teacher is not quite happy with this system, but as she said: "It has come from higher up..."

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    1. Thanks! They were in games and Marco started to try to take the ball away from Poppy and her friend who were throwing the ball to each other. Poppy said, 'Hi Marco, do you want to play piggy in the middle?' And on leaving school for lunch later on, she caught him up and played the 'What's that over there?' joke. 'Made you look, made you stare...' She said he was really laughing! His attitude towards her has really changed over these two ice breakers. :)

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  6. That's wonderful – thanks for sharing! I'm storing it away for future use, along with this story a friend told me about bullying: her mom advised her to ask the bully for a fiver. So she did. Just, "Lend me a fiver?" Bully was completely confused, said no of course, but walked away and left her alone after that...

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    1. Haha, I guess it's that unexpected response that just freaks them out and works so effectively. I'll definitely remember that one, I'm sure it will also come in handy. Thanks Robynn!

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  7. This is a lovely story and you're absolutely right: Your daughter changed the world in a small way. I bet it ripples out, though.

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  8. Thanks Liz! Yes, I'm a big believer in making those ripples and imagining how far they go :)

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