This past weekend it rained all Saturday. We decided to enjoy the weather and just stop. We put on the breaks. We played hide and seek behind the curtains. We blew bubbles in between the rain storms. We discovered Jane has an allergy to strawberries that makes her poor little mouth break out. We also discovered Mabel hates it when we play hide and seek with Jane, so she shredded her toy in anger. We had a very, very good day. It was a much needed rainy stop.
I’ve gotten a couple of emails related to my last post. Some people have expressed concern about our teaching Jane to push someone who is biting her. Most have done so in a very friendly, peaceful way. Let me just say, thank you. While we may not necessarily agree with each other, it’s refreshing to receive emails that are tempered with kind words.
Here’s what I believe. As a woman, I believe in defending oneself against violence. We live in a country where domestic violence is the leading cause of injury for women, more than car accidents, muggings, and assault combined.
I hear you.
“Isn’t it a little early to worry about those kinds of things, Liz? It’s just biting.”
It’s biting now. But in elementary it might be a bully. In high school it might be a boyfriend who bruises her arm when he gets upset. We live in a society that places more emphasis on how girls look than how they feel about themselves. Our culture doesn’t teach girls to stick up for themselves, it teaches them to be pretty. What lies underneath situations like this is an opportunity to teach Jane that she is important, no matter how little she is. It’s an opportunity to teach her that she is important, that she is tough, and she doesn’t have to tolerate bullying or biting or any other physical incidents that make her uncomfortable. Little girls need to feel they have permission to say no. And defend themselves. As parents it is our responsibility to give her this permission.
So yes, I will teach Jane that it is alright to push someone away who is hurting her. I will teach her to yell for them to stop, to run, to tell a teacher, and make a big scene if she needs to. I want my sweet, gentle daughter to always feel it is her right to stop someone from hurting her, not to wait politely until said bully is through biting or pinching her, and then tell the teacher after the fact. I realize this probably cements the fact I’ll never make a good Quaker (although I really like most of what they have to say). I realize I’ll probably get a bunch more emails about the whole “feminism” issue. But that’s alright. The only thing that matters to me is that Jane feels it’s her right to stop someone who hurts her. If she understands that, we’ve done our job.