Serious illness can be a tricky thing to explain to children at the best of times. While it’s relatively easy for them to understand physical pain or injury, how do you explain mental illness to children?
Do you have a perfectionist child? A child sets extremely high standards, and is then frustrated and unhappy if she cannot meet them? A little bit of perfectionism needn’t be a bad thing, but a person who can rarely be satisfied with their efforts, will rarely find pleasure in completing a task. Emily’s daughter is a perfectionist, and she tells us today how she deals with her.
The second in our three part series on bilingualism – Millie Slavidou makes the case for bilingualism here, and in the next post, will take a look at children with special needs.
Today Millie has suggestions on how to support bilingual children, particularly in the tween and teenage years. This is a tricky age to keep them motivated, as they are often immersed in the local majority language, and may not be interested in their minority language.
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My daughter comes home with a badge pinned to her school uniform: DEPUTY, it says in proud capital letters.
“I’m a deputy teacher”, she tells me. “Miss Jamieson* moved me to sit next to Jack and Max because they don’t behave and I do. It’s mostly the boys who don’t behave so we need to model good behaviour for them.”
She’s not wrong: it is the boys. “Boys will be boys”, they are told. It is the boys who talk during quiet time, wrestle when it comes time for silent reading, tear the art supplies and shout out at assembly. The girls’ learning is interrupted again and again while the teacher deals with their male companions. They are asked to change seats to calm the boys. They are asked to lay down their advanced reading books to help their male friends catch up.
Meanwhile, my daughter is proud of her role as gatekeeper. She stops what she’s doing to shush the boys when they get rowdy. She reports to me after school that Jack is sounding out longer words now, but she’s worried because Max had to sit in the quiet corner and maybe the teacher will take her coveted title away.
Whenever there is a news report about teaching kids about consent, we hear the same responses. The Daily Mail shouts about primary school kids being taught about rape and abuse. Someone will complain that #notallmen are rapists, and how dare we suggest otherwise. A male student will object to being invited to a consent workshop. The weird thing is, that teaching kids about consent isn’t actually about sex, and it isn’t at all radical. It isn’t even part of an anti-man conspiracy.