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“Get a move on!” Road safety and parental rudeness

on September 18, 2015 in Communication, Conditioning, Consequences, Safety, Worry
Crossing fields...easier than crossing roads

Crossing fields…easier than crossing roads

I pulled to a stop at a red traffic light the other day. Two teachers began ushering a long line of primary school kids across the road right in front of my car bonnet.

All the children wore those bright-yellow high-visibility jackets and were around six and seven years old. The teachers were so close that I could hear them clearly through the open window of my car.

 

“C’mon, c’mon, c’mon, go, go, go”, said one, touching each child on the shoulder and kind of shooshing* them along.

 

(*Shooshing – a cross between a shove and a push, not truly rough, but not gentle either.)
A second teacher also did this shooshing thing and added her own “Move, move, get a move on”.

***
Both teachers seemed harried and irritated. Both teachers seemed afraid of the danger the children were in while crossing the road.
I felt sad watching this. How tragic is it that the teachers were so worried for the children in their care that they treated them like that? How awful is it that they thought there was even a tiny chance that I would begin to move my car before the children had all crossed the road?

***
Did they think these fear-inducing thoughts consciously? Were they aware of how their fear was making them behave rudely? I don’t know, but their behaviour certainly betrayed the fear they felt.

***
This is a classic example of how we often unthinkingly speak to our children in ways that demean them; that are offensive to their innate dignity as human beings.  We usually do this when we move  out of love and care and into fear. Most of us would not dream of speaking to an adult in this way. And if we did, that adult (if they were emotionally healthy) would not spend long in our company.
And yet our children cannot escape. Day in and day out they have to listen to our fearful exhortations. They have to suffer the indignity of being shooshed and barked at.

***
The situation was not all the teachers’ fault either. It was a busy junction. Maybe another driver would have revved or moved their car forward as soon as the light turned green. Our roads and drivers are frequently hostile to young pedestrians. Getting the children across the road as fast as possible was the right thing to do.
And I know I’ve spoken to my own children in ways that have demeaned them so I certainly don’t condemn those teachers for how they treated the children in their care.

***

But understanding where behaviour comes from doesn’t undo the consequences of the behaviour. Right before my eyes I witnessed adults behaving rudely under pressure to children.
Rest assured, the way we speak to our children will come home to roost.

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Who’s in charge in your family?

On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; and both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does that […]

 
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Should gay couples have kids? Should any of us?

on March 16, 2015 in Relationships

Courtney Love has tweeted she wants to burn her Dolce & Gabbana clothes because of the “senseless bigotry” of Stefano Gabbano’s beliefs that a child needs a mother and a father; that he could not imagine his childhood without his mother. I feel for Courtney Love: a woman whose own daughter has had to somehow […]

 
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What do you mean “Do I work?” I have two children and a husband!

on March 10, 2015 in Hope

I’ve just read a BBC article which concludes with the sentiment that the Japanese government wants to “fully utilise its female workforce”.  This means they want to get women out of full time at-home employment (i.e. supporting children and husbands and running a home – which is still called being a housewife in Japan) and into full-time […]

 
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What if my children are not ok?

on January 14, 2014 in Letting Go, Trust

What if my children grow up and they’re not ok? What if I’m making too many mistakes? What if they grow up and blame me for everything that’s “wrong” with them? What if they drop out of school? Or college?  Or life? What if the pressure is too much for them?   What if none […]

 
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How should we handle teenage bullies?

Pupils at a school in Yorkshire have assaulted at least 6 of their fellow pupils in an unofficial “Kick a Ginger Kid Day”. The school have called the acts “deplorable” and have “acted swiftly to send a strong message”.  It seems the pupils involved have been strongly reprimanded.  Furthermore, there has been a school-wide warning […]

 
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When parents hurt their children

on September 18, 2013 in Courage, Guilt, Safety, Thought for the day, Violence

Daniel Pelka was murdered by his mother and her partner because adults were scared of wrongly accusing his mother of abuse. Now that he’s dead people are shocked the abuse could get so bad without detection. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-coventry-warwickshire-24106823 But it’s not so hard to understand really.  These days we are not allowed to say (out loud!) […]

 
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When teenagers have sex…

I’ve just read a story about a 17 year old boy who jumped to his death from the Forth Road Bridge.  He was being blackmailed about online conversations he’d had with someone he thought was a girl his own age.  You can read more about this sad story here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2394520/Dunfermline-teenager-Daniel-Perry-17-kills-blackmailers-trick-Skype.html When will we begin to […]

 
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Helping kids with big changes – moving house, school or country

on June 10, 2013 in Change, Communication, Feelings, Moving house

How should we prepare children for big moves – like a new school, or a new house, or living in a new country? There’s a lot of advice out there: keep children involved in the process, get them to imagine the change, have them keep a diary of all the steps along the way, talk […]

 
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Should children have best friends?

on May 3, 2013 in Happiness, Over-control, Relationships, Trust

Earlier this week I was musing with my husband about whether all this well-meaning parental interference in our children’s friendships was hampering the development of those friendships and in particular, best-friend relationships. I’ve had plenty of conversations with parents who have said that their children do not yet have a solid best-friend. I recall that […]

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