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Need help with a delicate situation


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  #1  
October 4th, 2011, 07:26 PM
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I really don't know how to handle this situation, but it definitely needs to be dealt with sooner rather than later.

Since Leah started school, we've asked her about her new friends at school and who is in her class. She seems to have a lot of friends, which is great. But there are two girls that she has told us she doesn't like. When we asked her why, her answers shocked us. She told us she doesn't like the first girl because she is fat and she doesn't like the second girl because she is dark brown.

We couldn't believe these words came out of her mouth. We know people of all shapes and sizes and live in a very multi-cultural city. Also, my SIL (Leah's aunt) is indian and very dark skinned, as is her cousin. Leah has never, in her 4.5 years, said anything or asked me about people looking different, so I assumed it was a non-issue. She became best friends with a girl in preschool last year who is a little person and she loves her to pieces. Actually, she did ask why her friend was so little, but DH and I just explained that people are all different sizes and used ourselves as an example (DH is 6'4, and I'm 5'4).

When she told us about these two girls, we explained that people come in all different packages, but that is what makes everyone beautiful. That it wasn't nice to decide not to like someone just because of how they look, but to take the time to talk to them and get to know them. She just sort of shrugged us off.

I need help. I guess because we don't have those thoughts, we just assumed Leah wouldn't either. I thought this was a learned behavior. But no matter how these ideas got into her head, I want to get them out. All suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thank you!!
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  #2  
October 5th, 2011, 05:01 PM
LovinMyGirls's Avatar Proud Working Momma
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Maybe a book from the library (The crayon box that talked) or What I like about me and more talk about the fact that it's okay to not like someone. But that it's not nice to dislike someone for how they look.
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  #3  
October 5th, 2011, 05:42 PM
Twinkle's Avatar Platinum Super Mommy
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I think those book options would be a great way to start. My first thought is that she is picking up on what other kids are saying about these kids. Maybe some of her new friends are bullying these other kids?

I guess, if I was in your shoes, I'd talk to my child about where she was hearing these things, then read some multicultural books. If she continued expressing these types of things, I'd talk to her teacher... see if this is classroom wide issue, or not.
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  #4  
October 5th, 2011, 09:40 PM
Radish4ever's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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My son will be 5 in January and he has said similar things. I am SHOCKED when he says it.

We went to Ikea last month and he stopped in his tracks and begged us to sit at a different table than we'd already chosen. When I talked with him about he, he told me that he didn't like being near old people or brown people. WHAT in the WORLD?!?! Mortifying and disturbing!

I have had many conversations with him about how people are ALL different... and no one can CHOOSE their age or their skin color - we are ALL people and all deserve respect and kindness. I am hoping it is getting through to him, but I'm not sure since it rarely comes up outside of our conversations... Hopefully that means it is working... :-/
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  #5  
October 6th, 2011, 04:49 AM
D@mnedYankee's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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ok I may be lynched for saying this but....
While I am not condoning the behavior and agree this is a subject you should talk about with your child but IDK if you can blame it 100% on what she is picking up around school. We are evolutionarily wired to be leery of people who dont look like us (it was a protection thing... they dont look like us so they arent part of our group so they may be dangerous).
So yes bring it up and yes the books might help but I wouldnt panic you can only do so much at this age with this topic. It will come with time and re-enforcement
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  #6  
October 6th, 2011, 05:27 AM
Momof4Boyz's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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I wouldn't let it worry you too much, she's pretty young and the adjustment to the diversity of school can be a challenge. We had this problem at the start of the year, well even before school started. We just moved to FL in June from PA. The area of PA we were in was 99.999999% white so our 5 yr old had never really been exposed to anyone of a different race. So we got here and settled in and started going out and to the local park and pool and one day he told me that he, "was not going to be friends with any of those black kids". So we had a talk with him about how those kids are exactly the same as him just a different color, same with the hispanic kids - all kids, just different colors and that it's not nice to not be friends with someone just because of their skin color. I was worried that he'd start school and have problems and the first few weeks he was leery of the other kids but now he doesn't even notice skin color. His friends are a rainbow of colors and the only comment he's made about them is that they have "cool names" lol, they do have some very unique names that you don't hear often.
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  #7  
October 6th, 2011, 06:29 AM
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I have to agree I would not worry too much. I think it warrents a serious talk (in a 4 year serious way) that all people are different. Show her pictures of famous darker colored people) the president, basketball players. Even her aunt. Tell her that everyone is different, and how would she feel if someone didn't like her aunt because hse had pretty dark skin. It would make her feel bad so we don't want anyone to feel bad kinda thing.

She's 4, they don't understand differences. Don't make a big deal about it and she won't either
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  #8  
October 6th, 2011, 09:55 AM
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I honestly think all kids go through this sort of stage at some point. They start realizing other people are different and it just freaks them out at first. You just need to talk to your daughter about how all people are different. And be sure to let her know that it IS OK to not like certain people, but you don't base that on how the person looks or dresses but how they act.
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  #9  
October 6th, 2011, 11:29 AM
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Thanks everyone! These are great suggestions. I'm feeling better about it. I've found a couple of books at the library and we'll talk about it this weekend. It's reassuring to hear that it is a pretty normal phase for kids to go through.
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  #10  
October 6th, 2011, 04:30 PM
LovinMyGirls's Avatar Proud Working Momma
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It's definitely something kids go through..but I certainly think it should be discussed in a "kid friendly way".. Ignoring it..is the reason IMO we have issues still today with prejudice
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  #11  
October 6th, 2011, 06:25 PM
*Valerie*'s Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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I think you have gotten great advice and I wouldn't ignore it, but I wouldn't worry too much. I think having conversations with her is important and also make sure (which I am sure you do) that you have friendly interactions with all types of people.
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  #12  
October 6th, 2011, 06:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D@mnedYankee View Post
ok I may be lynched for saying this but....
While I am not condoning the behavior and agree this is a subject you should talk about with your child but IDK if you can blame it 100% on what she is picking up around school. We are evolutionarily wired to be leery of people who dont look like us (it was a protection thing... they dont look like us so they arent part of our group so they may be dangerous).
So yes bring it up and yes the books might help but I wouldnt panic you can only do so much at this age with this topic. It will come with time and re-enforcement
I completely agree. And by making a huge deal out of it may make the issue worse in the long run.
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