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Classmates="Friends" How do you feel about that? - Page 2

post #21 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rose-Roget View Post

I've been bugged by that term since ds was a toddler in daycare and he would come home with notes saying, "J. was bitten by a friend today."  Uh, no he wasn't - he was bitten by another child in the room; friends don't bite each other.  Now that he's in first grade, I feel like it's especially contrived. 



 



Quote:
Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post



Toddler friends? Yes they do.

Obviously non-friends could bite too, but it is 100% possible for toddlers to be playing along happy as toddler clams, and the get into a tiff and chomp, or even just decide "hey, I wonder what happens if??"

 

The lesson to teach isn't that friends don't bite each other, but other kids do, it's that we don't bite people. Full stop. 

 

Obviously, I supervise, but I could totally see my dd suddenly biting the same friend that she hugs ten times a visit. There's been no sign of such a thing, but there usually isn't.



Ditto above.

 

It is developmentally normal for 1-3 yr olds to bite. Unpleasant, yes. But they usually *do* bite friends! (vs kids they dont play with). The very nature of toddler/young preschoolers is to explore with their mouths and also 'react' first- at that age it is usually a physical reaction to an emotion (anger, joy, frustration, etc) that they are still learning to express verbally. Some where along the line they develop empathy for others and understand that biting hurts and is not nice, use words , etc. But until then- yes kids bite- friends , family are much more likely to be 'bitten' than strangers or people that dont evoke strong emotions.

 

A large majority of the time, even little kids that say 'I dont like to play with x,y,z' will often play with or be cooperative with that child in a preschool setting. As kids age, that changes and a child that is not friends with another may never 'warm up' to them or work well cooperatively. 

 

I think , as adults, we layer our own complex emotions onto the connotation of 'friend'. Where young kids are much more transparent and open in the interpretation of 'friend'- they also are much more fluid in the definition and quick to forget/forgive than adults.

 

Adults are 'friendly' and polite because it is what society expects us to be cordial to others and respectful. Kids usually are nice because they honestly  approach people as being a source of positive interaction and potential playmates without really grasping the concept of 'respect' and larger societal picture.

 

Somewhere between ages 6 & 10 kids start to change their fundamental outlook on strangers (kids and adults) and 'choose' friends more carefully and with higher standards than before. Before age 5/6 ish (barring any unusual circumstances that would rely on early development of social discrimination or that rare child that is prenatally wary and cautious of other people) kids usually see the world in positive open views without the 'danger' connotations that older kids and adults place on it. Is a developmental shift--- so the term 'friend' really does suit kids under age 6 since most kids around that age or younger are potential playmates. And classmates, peers, etc suits older kids and is a good term to recognize the social shift that happens around that age.

post #22 of 29

It bugs me.  Not all kids are friends.  Why not just say classmates ?

 

 

post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ramama View Post

It kind of annoys me that classmates are referred to as "friends."  I can't really explain why.  I mean, not all kids have to be friends, right?  


 

I find it kind of amusing. In the British legal tradition, when a barrister (litigator) refers to "my friend" in court, s/he is speaking about the opposing lawyer who represents the other party in the lawsuit - truly not your BFF. It's a term meant to preserve a veneer of civility in the midst of a contentious legal battle. I suppose the school is trying to do the same thing in the classroom wink1.gif . 

post #24 of 29

Everything KCMichigan said.

post #25 of 29



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by KCMichigan 


 

Ditto above.

 

It is developmentally normal for 1-3 yr olds to bite. Unpleasant, yes. But they usually *do* bite friends! (vs kids they dont play with). The very nature of toddler/young preschoolers is to explore with their mouths and also 'react' first- at that age it is usually a physical reaction to an emotion (anger, joy, frustration, etc) that they are still learning to express verbally. Some where along the line they develop empathy for others and understand that biting hurts and is not nice, use words , etc. But until then- yes kids bite- friends , family are much more likely to be 'bitten' than strangers or people that dont evoke strong emotions.

 


I get that many kids go through a biting stage.  They also don't have real "friends" at age 2 - they have playmates who we may call their friends.  I'm just saying it bugged me to hear them call this child a "friend."  It's not a friendly thing to do, and some children (probably older than age 2) could get mixed messages about what "friendship" is.  There are a lot of kids out there with real social deficits (ds is teetering on the edge of this), secondary to a variety of diagnosed or un-diagnosed conditions, who do not truly understand the meaning of friendship.  Why not teach kindness towards others while at the same time distinguishing what constitutes friendship?
 

Also, the biting story is just one example.  In first grade, he's come home with notes about a "friend" tearing up his workplan or stamping up his arm with ink (not in a playful way).  The equasion of classmate with friendship is way overused.


Edited by Rose-Roget - 4/7/11 at 11:26am
post #26 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rose-Roget View Post



 


I get that many kids go through a biting stage.  They also don't have real "friends" at age 2 - they have playmates who we may call their friends.  I'm just saying it bugged me to hear them call this child a "friend."  It's not a friendly thing to do, and some children (probably older than age 2) could get mixed messages about what "friendship" is.  There are a lot of kids out there with real social deficits (ds is teetering on the edge of this), secondary to a variety of diagnosed or un-diagnosed conditions, who do not truly understand the meaning of friendship.  Why not teach kindness towards others while at the same time distinguishing what constitutes friendship?
 

Also, the biting story is just one example.  In first grade, he's come home with notes about a "friend" tearing up his workplan or stamping up his arm with ink (not in a playful way).  The equasion of classmate with friendship is way overused.

Yeah, I was just coming back to clarify that I knew it could be over used. For one thing, by kindergarten it's not at all developmentally appropriate to have a biting phase (and in 1st grade? OMG!) And even at the toddler level, I only support phrasing it as "a friend bit..." for cases where two kids who normally play together happily had a altercation. Phrasing it as friend to clarify that it's a kid who normally gets along with yours just fine, as opposed to a kid who is never around yours and just walked up and chomped, or something.

 

Besides clarifying for the parents that it's a negative interaction in what is normally a positive relationship*, I think it would be good to use "friend" with the biting kid even if they aren't friends, that is, to tell them that we treat everyone like friends.

 

 

*Mind you, that usage is only allowable for observant teachers who are accurate in reporting their observations. Anyone with doubts about a given teacher should do follow up questions "how often does Biting Child play with DC? What do they do? How are things usually?" etc etc.
 

 

post #27 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post
Besides clarifying for the parents that it's a negative interaction in what is normally a positive relationship*, I think it would be good to use "friend" with the biting kid even if they aren't friends, that is, to tell them that we treat everyone like friends.

I really dislike the use of "friend" and am grateful that DS has an older teacher who doesn't use the term. (I notice it's used 100% of the time with younger teachers in my son's school.) That said, I fundamentally disagree with the above. We should not treat everyone as a friend. We should treat everyone with basic respect, even if they are despicable people. I have a child who is, at her core, a pleaser. She wants others to be happy, and she's very nurturing. That can set her up to be taken advantage of and to allow "friends" later in life who aren't friends and who don't treat her well. If she's always been fed this line about everyone being a friend, then it's difficult to un-do that teaching to help her learn how to stand up for herself and how to know when she should break from others - and that it's okay being that everyone's a friend and all.

 

Beyond my concern about teaching this important social skill, I also prefer precision in language. Classmates may be friends, but they are not necessarily so. My husband and I have colleagues who are friends, and we have colleagues who are simply colleagues. That doesn't mean we dislike them or that we aren't polite to them. They simply aren't in our circle of friends, and THAT'S OKAY. Everyone doesn't need to be our friend. It's important to maintain relational distinctions to grant ourselves privacy and comfort.

post #28 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by VisionaryMom View Post



I really dislike the use of "friend" and am grateful that DS has an older teacher who doesn't use the term. (I notice it's used 100% of the time with younger teachers in my son's school.) That said, I fundamentally disagree with the above. We should not treat everyone as a friend. We should treat everyone with basic respect, even if they are despicable people. I have a child who is, at her core, a pleaser. She wants others to be happy, and she's very nurturing. That can set her up to be taken advantage of and to allow "friends" later in life who aren't friends and who don't treat her well. If she's always been fed this line about everyone being a friend,

Good point. A better message, as you suggest, would be to treat everyone with basic respect.
post #29 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by VisionaryMom View Post

Beyond my concern about teaching this important social skill, I also prefer precision in language. Classmates may be friends, but they are not necessarily so. My husband and I have colleagues who are friends, and we have colleagues who are simply colleagues. That doesn't mean we dislike them or that we aren't polite to them. They simply aren't in our circle of friends, and THAT'S OKAY. Everyone doesn't need to be our friend. It's important to maintain relational distinctions to grant ourselves privacy and comfort.


Well put!

 

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