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Teaching the Golden Rule to Preschoolers

by Joe Lawrence | February 3rd, 2015 | Preschool, Social

little girl (400x400)Being a parent to a preschooler is a constant adventure. Everyday there is something new to learn and discover. Sometimes the lessons are as simple as what colors are made from mixing others together. Other times, the lessons are universal to those of any age like social interactions with others.

Not too long ago, my little lady came home from school and was upset about a boy in her class. He evidently was chasing her and made a face at her. At first I tried to explain he was just playing with her and I thought she understood this. Then as I was tucking her in that night, she explained she was going to make a face at him the next day.

My first instinct was to laugh (but I kept my composure) at her resolve. All day long she had been stewing on this issue and decided the best solution was an eye for an eye.

My wife and I try really hard to raise our children using Christian principles like the Golden Rule and loving your neighbors as you love yourself. Even if you are not a Christian, these are universal principles and great ways to teach your child to respect others.

First, I asked her how she felt when he made those faces at her and she explained how upset it made her. Then we went over if she wanted to make someone else feel that way. At first the answer was a resounding ‘yes’. She was out for blood.

I then employed a different approach. Instead of focusing on the negatives, I asked her if he did anything that made her smile. She said he was very funny and liked to play games with her and the other kids. Knowing this, we concluded he was not a mean kid; he just did things she did not like. I then guided the conversation to let her solve the problem. Her new plan was to tell him that she did not like the mean faces and she would ask him to stop. Also, she would tell him all the things he did that she liked. Evidently her plan was a success, because now he is a friend she talks about all the time.

Oddly enough, I was faced with something similar in my own life. I was not too pleased with the actions of a coworker. He was not making mean faces at me, but it was an adult equivalent in the way he was treating those in my office. At first, I wanted to meet him head on and then I thought of the recent events with my preschooler. She had taught me that all I needed to do was talk to him.

It made me realize that the same social interaction issues follow us from childhood into adulthood. The same solutions do as well.

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