My kid is pretty clever, spends too much time on screens that we don’t adequately regulate, scores average or above average on standardized tests, is generally liked by his peers, and still doesn’t fall into that magical perfect harmony when it comes to the bell curve of ease in school. Up to his first year in preschool (he had two different schools), he was the most popular kid (What?!), gentle, and often asked his peers how he could help when they had fallen, for example.
We started to notice that he doesn’t fall into that perfect bell curve when he moved from the play-based preschool to the academic-focused pre-k, and we were called because he punched a kid in school. Turns out the class had 14 boys and 4 girls and a very inexperienced teacher. When he moved to kindergarten, we got a similar call. When we dug deeper, we found out that our kid was stuck in a corner while the hordes of children were coming in from an activity. So, we did as good parents ought to, and we sent him to professionals. We have now been to no less than 10 professionals to try to “fix our kid.”
Our kid doesn’t need fixing. He is PERFECT the way he is. Our SYSTEMS need fixing. Last year, a very difficult year, I was introduced to Dr. Ross Greene and his thinking in Collaborative and Proactive Solutions. This infographic is a great summary of what he has researched and teaches.
Check out the link too, put out by a Canadian group. It’s a great toolkit for educators. In the scenarios I mentioned, there were stressors that created anxiety and shame in my kid and he reacted thus. It was the environment that created the thought, the feeling, and then the action in my developing kid.
Dr. Greene says often, “Kids do well if they can.”
That means the onus is ON US to create environments where kids can thrive. That means the onus is on us to create environments where kids can do their best thinking, to have great feelings, to do amazing actions.