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A Manner of Speaking Jan/Feb '95

by Bonnie Neugebauer
January/February 1995
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Article Link: http://www.childcareexchange.com/article/a-manner-of-speaking/5010168/

All was quiet in the corner of the three year old room. Natasha and Adam were putting their doll babies to sleep, whispering sweet nothings to them. Natasha smoothed the flannel blanket over her baby, whispering, "Night. Night." Adam couldn't find his baby's blanket, so he borrowed the one covering Natasha's baby. In brief, a struggle erupted and escalated.

As the teacher moved closer, Natasha punched Adam, who howled his shock and sorrow. The teacher drew both children to her, examined Adam's wounds, gave him a hug, and turned to Natasha, saying, "Use your words, Natasha. That is our rule. We are not allowed to hurt each other. Adam feels very hurt and sad. Now, tell Adam that you are sorry."

It only takes a quick look at Natasha's face to see that she is really not sorry at all. She is still angry and a bit frightened at the ruckus! When we ask her to say that she is sorry, and really, she is not, what message are we giving this child? We are creating the understanding that words really don't have to mean anything; they are ...

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