I always knew Z had a heart of gold and was an easy-going person. He was easily the most popular boy in pre-school because of what a nice boy he was. Before he started primary school, we had always prepped him on the possibility of bullying in school.
He was not bullied in school, thankfully.
However, he seemed to be caught up in an eager-to-please and over-obliging mode. I noticed that most boys were less sensitive, considerate and mature than him. I never thought it was an issue until I realized he took taunting, names calling and threats of un-friending seriously.
When I asked why he gave up certain items that he liked, he would tell me doefully that so-and-so threatened not to be his friend. Mr H and I explained he was better off without such friends.
When he came to me sadly after giving out all his snacks and cried whinnily, I berated him and taught him to look out for his own interest before sharing. He had not anticipated that non-friends would come demanding from him. We had to teach him that the basic human nature was greedy and ugly. He had to be firm and discerning.
When his friends boasted and inflated their stories, he believed how great his friends’ capabilities were until we explained that there was a difference between tall tales and reality. He learned that his friends were just spinning tales. We believed he developed an inferiority complex just by listening to his friends’ far fetched stories.
When he obliged his friends’ demands, he was unhappy and gave in to them unwillingly because he was afraid that they would complain to their parents. He ended up giving up the very best of what he had to other people. We taught him to stand up for himself, that we would support him and be able to judge if his friends were reasonable and logical.
We had a trusting boy, a kind-hearted boy and a boy who gave in to everyone, at the expense of his happiness. He made sacrifices because he thought it would make everyone happy. He had no idea how sad it made his mom feel when she saw him wince in submission.
Because he was such a trusting boy, he believed every cruel (unintentional & immature) word sprouted from the snapshot unkind mouths.
Because he was such a kind-hearted boy, he treated everyone with genuinity and kindness, and felt hurt with the lack of recipocration.
Because he was such a giving boy, he sacrificed his self-interest and allowed others to abuse his favourite toys; or to the extent of horsing around and hurting him physically.
He learned 人之初心本善。
Unfortunately, the reality of life was ugly. We had to keep him grounded, reminding him that nice kids like him were far and few. Most kids could get away being meanies, bullies or pushing others around because most parents prefer to feel thankful that their kids were bullies instead of being bullied. That was a sad and selfish fact that he had to learn at this age.
Defence, firmness and confidence were some of the traits Z should develop. Coincidentally, I came across this article which highlighted how polite children can behave in a way which did not make them pushovers. The writer advised how children can learn to say no to other assertive children.
Well, what can I say?
Definitely sounded like a level 3 parenting module at the moment.