Tuesday, March 20, 2018

On Speaking Up

The other day, the Koalid was playing with an older boy. They seemed to be getting along well. As she was running over to me to leave, she tripped and hurt herself. Nothing serious, but enough to make her quite upset.

In her distress, she told me that she didn't like the boy she'd been playing with. I asked her why and she said that he was scary.

Apparently, the boy was playing teacher and, in the role of teacher, pretended to be angry and yelled at her. I guess he also put her in jail. Maybe that's a thing teachers do. I don't know.

But it was quite upsetting to the Koalid. I asked the Koalid if she had told him that what he was doing was upsetting her, and she said that she hadn't. I asked why she hadn't said anything, since she's certainly not shy about telling me if I do something she doesn't like, but she didn't really know.

I had seen her, on other occasions, tell him that she didn't like something, and he had stopped immediately, so it's likely he would have stopped this behavior as well, but, for whatever reason, she endured it rather than objecting.

The boy in question was 8, and, as far as I can tell, he wasn't doing anything too terrible, since I was watching from about 50 feet away, but he did raise his voice, and I'm sure that the Koalid was quite upset by it.

This raises interesting questions. There's no way that this kid could have known that he was upsetting the Koalid, especially since she did not tell him or respond in any way.

As a father, it made me wonder, why didn't she say anything? And more importantly, how can I teach her to stand up for herself and assert her discomfort in the future. Because when she's older, the thing that a boy is doing to make her uncomfortable may be a little more serious than role playing an angry teacher.

Fathers of daughters often think back to how they were with the girls they cavorted with. Fortunately, I was not so much of a cad as others, but I had my situations where I made someone uncomfortable and did not know it. Had they told me, I certainly would have backed off immediately, but for whatever reason they did not think they could.

So, that gives me some years to figure out how to teach the Koalid to stand up for herself.