Cliques – it is something that we all deal with in school. It even follows us into adulthood. If you are like I am someone who is an HSP it can be very difficult.
The Buddy Bench is about creating an opportunity for inclusion and eliminating loneliness. It is a simple idea to create awareness and empathy in the playground. Awareness of your play or classmates. To pay attention to others around you and be kind to each other.
They have these new Buddy Benches at my girl’s School. I think about this topic a lot. Even before she began school I worried about how she is treating others and being treated at school. Luckily she turned out to be an outgoing, caring and sensitive child and so far in he primary years she is thriving. That can all change and so I am a very watchful parent.
While the Buddy Bench disturbs me a bit I also think that it is a great project. It also brings about a lot of discussion about bullying, peer pressure, and cliques. The hope is that it will create an opportunity for kids to see and engage each other in activities. There is so much that goes on unnoticed by parents and teachers.
We talk about bullying in the framework one or more kids intimidating another(s). It is so much more. I think we have to realize that there is a difference between being bullied and feeling left out or just someone being mean and inconsiderate. These overlap but we can still look at them separately.
Cliques – are groups of friends that leave others out, leaving no room for other interactions. They make it hard for others to be part of a group. It can be for different reasons that a clique forms but the result may be the same. Feelings are hurt. Sometimes people act differently when they are part of a group and that can be confusing.
“Why are they acting like they don’t know me? Yesterday they were smiling and friendly towards me”.
Everyone handles these situations differently and we have to look at different personality types and consider that while some are OK doing things on there own and are content with quiet spaces others are not. Introversion and Extroversion.
How do we teach kindness and empathy to our children. It is not something you can learn in a week long lesson plan. It is an ongoing process that needs to be encouraged. Values that need to be instilled as they grow.
Whether it is parent, other family members, friends we need to live what we teach – do what we say ourselves. Hopefully they will live by example.
Acts of kindness and inclusion are contagious!