On Being Teased

Friends.

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I read an amazingly insightful article on the Huffington Post website this morning that I have to share here.  Although Little Miss is far from ready to begin attending school, the concept behind this article is still valid and something to be considered.  Especially since I have time to cogitate on it and make sure it’s drilled into my head by the time she IS ready to don the tiny pointless backpack and learn to add and subtract.

The article is entitled, “How to Guarantee Your Child Won’t Be Teased! (Hint: Don’t Have Any.)” and it caught my eye, so I began to skim.  After a second or two, I stopped skimming, went back to the beginning, and devoured the article.  (I also read his biography and perused his blog…I may have gotten sucked into his writing.)  Anyway, the author, David Valdes Greenwood, talks about how he was teased as a child but because of the loving environment he had at home and because of the number of people in his life who cared deeply for him, the teasing just rolled off his back and had no meaningful impact on his life.

This afternoon, I decided to pose the following question to Husband: “If, at some point in the future, you were to find yourself a stay-at-home dad, how would you feel about home-schooling our kids?”  Without much hesitation at all, he replied, “I myself have no interest in home-schooling my children.”  I had assumed that would be his answer, but wanted to hear it directly from him.  And I feel the same way.

While I harbour no negative feelings toward anyone who chooses to homeschool their children, and was in fact homeschooled myself for first and second grade, we have chosen not to walk that road with our own child (and later, hopefully, children).

I think this is a topic big enough for its own blog post sometime in the future, but I want to touch on one of the reasons Husband and I have made this decision: Social interaction.

I know it’s possible to give children opportunity for social interaction while homeschooling, but there is something so different about being forced (yes, I’m going to use that word) to cooperate, share, negotiate, compromise, and generally get along with peers on a regular basis.  Sure, they may have siblings, but I think we will all agree that we tend to treat family much differently than we treat our coworkers at the office.

Admittedly I’m risking a heated debate here, but I really feel that homeschooled children miss out on the social interactions needed to build necessary skills for adulthood.  And while teasing may be a part of that, it’s not necessarily solely a negative experience.  I think even teasing can help a person grow and learn to handle some of the everyday situations we experience as adults.

And if you’re hoping to keep your kid sheltered from the “mean kids” at school, here’s a thought: If we all teach our kids not to be the “mean kid,” there wouldn’t be any mean kids, and school would be even more fun.  Just food for thought.

Now go read the article.  Really.  You’ll be glad you did.

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