Control-Freak Much?

I am not entirely certain what the purpose of this story will be – I suppose to ask for advice on the situation more than anything.

Over what has now been almost two months of working with these kids, I have caught on fairly quickly to who they are and certain personality traits each of them has. Previously I have elaborated on London’s lovely tendencies, but that is surprisingly not where I am struggling. Georgia, the grade 3 girl, is whom I am finding difficulties managing. Being the older sister of Texas, the youngest boy, I knew from the get-go that she liked to control him and all the lovely traits that all older siblings have (okay maybe not all of them, but definitely a good number). My favourite and first moment of knowing her these past months was the first morning she and Texas came. Texas and Hastings were off fighting somewhere, or likely having some sort of competition with the skipping rope and, upon seeing their antics Georgia turned to Harbour (the oldest girl who is in grade 5) and I, exasperatedly rolled her eyes and sighed, “ughh, boys!” – before she ran off to ‘show them how it’s done properly.”

Now, she is a darling girl with a lot of personality and spunk, but she can be excessively controlling. While trying to boss her brother around is one thing, she has gotten it into her head that if she suggests playing a game that she then gets to make up the rules, dictate how to play, change the rules mid-game whenever she wants, and she has to approve everything anyone else does while playing the game. For the most part it is not too bad, Harbour will sometimes play with the younger kids but is willing to just go with the flow of what Georgia says and Texas is used to being bossed around by his older sister, however Hastings and London have already developed their own ‘alliance’ and I fear for what chaos might ensue if one day they do not agree with something Georgia says. They are both strong-willed kids and, though normally fairly flexible in how they let their games play out, occasionally over react to who-knows-what.

What I am getting at is this: while so far there has been only minimal issues when all the kids are playing together, how is the best way to handle a bossy kid without sounding critical, mean, or angry with them for wanting to control? And how do you handle the situation when the other kids notice she is bossing them around and they do not want to listen to her anymore? Georgia is a good kid and is actually a real sweetheart, but I am giving her the benefit of the doubt and hoping that she just does not realize how controlling she is trying to be. Help?!

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Fragile or Dramatic?

Now it has been awhile since my last work-related posted, oh the joys of childcare. I inevitably have many more entertaining stories, but I feel as though this should be shared first.

So London, the youngest girl (who is also one of the two kids who return after school) has made herself known to be a bit of a tantrum-thrower – awesome. At least I caught on to this early on. My first hint: it was her dad’s birthday and he was there to pick her up. I offhandedly suggested that she and Hastings sing happy birthday for him, to which Hastings decided that he did not want to and would instead let us do the singing and he would follow-up with a special performance. Now I am not a singer, or at least I do not sing happy birthday – I have a thing – long story short, once London realized she was singing a solo she was not too impressed. She stopped mid-song and went storming off saying we lied to her because she thought we were going to sing with her. Her dad quickly dealt with his distressed child and took her on her way. My second hint: later that same week, London and Hastings were playing in the gym with some bouncy balls. My supervisor-overseer-figure came in and told London that someone special was waiting for her and it was time to go. London became immediately excited to see who this special mystery person was, but as she approached the room where they get picked up she became visibly disappointed with who it was. Once again she stormed off, floodgates opened, and said that my supervisor had lied to her because she thought that someone special meant that her mom was picking her up instead of her dad. I felt bad for this poor dad who had basically just been slapped in the face by his 5-year-old daughter. Nevertheless he took over her situation and off they went. Since then there have been many-a-day with London breakdowns, but so far I have found that the tough-love sort of relationship is working fairly well with handling those instances.

The point of this post? Well I suppose it is mostly the reminder that kids take everything that you say incredibly literally and will believe everything you say. If you say you are going to do something, then you best make sure you will actually do it. It is also important to remember that everyone has breakdowns and just needs to get it all out now and then. Now if it is a frequent occurrence something might need to be dealt with, but every now and again is normal. Lastly, do not let kids get away with everything they want just because they start crying. I feel sorry for the parents who do, we will see how they last in 10 years.

Adventures of working with children

Morning crafts at work.

Morning crafts at work.

So far the program has had a slow start and of the five kids we have each morning only two of them return for care in the afternoon, Hastings and London.  A few days ago they were playing a game in the gym and, though I was left questioning the specifics, it had something to do with a giant evil rat god trying to kill them.  This imaginary giant rat was strangling Hastings, but he managed to escape by electrocuting it with his jedi powers.  London then found a small rat (still imaginary thank goodness) that she wanted to keep.  Hastings told her it was the sidekick of the giant rat, but he had changed sides and was now helping them so it was okay if she kept it.  Then, after placing it in a safe place (a garbage bin that the balls are stored in), she spoke with it and made this proclamation: “He said to me he has powers, and he told me what his powers are.  He said he could run really fast to the end of the world.  And then when he’s at the end of the world he will run up the end of the world.  And then he’ll be on top of the end of the world!”

Lesson of the day: Kids do not know everything, and that is OKAY.  They may have the craziest imagination that completely defies all scientific laws of this universe but that is okay too.  As adults we tend to try and contain that imagination because it has to make sense and be logical, often because we think it is important for them to understand how things work – there is nothing wrong with that – but they will learn that soon enough.  Let their innocent and pure imaginations run wild while they can, before the world puts the harness of reason on and reigns them in.  Let them have fun.