Monday, April 19, 2010

When It Hits Close to Home Part Deux

As Laura Ingalls Wilder’s mother often said, “All’s well that ends well.” The experience that I reported last week has ended well.

The school administrator handled everything beautifully, first speaking with my daughter and then asking if she would like to be present when she spoke to the student who had slapped her. She did want to be present.

With the administrator’s kind guidance, it remained a conversation between two middle school girls and an adult facilitator rather than escalating into an inquest. No one was labeled and no one was blamed. I was happy to hear that my daughter assertively expressed herself and held the other young girl accountable for her actions when she said she had only been playing around. Slapping is not playing around, and that was made clear.

I also liked that the administrator asked the girls what kind of relationship they would like to have. Did they want to remain friends? If so, she told them it would require work and respect.

They agreed to do it.

Many gifts came from this experience. My daughter felt empowered to define how she wanted her relationships to be. Her friend learned limits. Both learned that friendship takes energy and understanding. I learned that the concepts in Redirecting Children’s Behavior™ that we have used in our family for over a decade really do inspire inner-directed, self-reliant and influential children.

It not only ends well, the next step begins well.

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