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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
but I wish I could have done so from a more grounded place and have been able to have offered constructive alternatives.

My son was taking a four week little linker golf class. Today was the last class. I had been upset over a time out I witnessed last week; where a young child probably four had been left for twenty minutes on the side line. When the instructor finally went over to him, the child just sobbed. I had wanted to go to the child, but I was pretty sure his mother was around; so i didn't want to interfere - if she felt it was ok.

Today we had a different instructor. He took the boys to the putting green and had them stand in a line. One four year old boy, I'll call him Luke, had missed last weeks class. Standing in line, he kind of stomped his putter into the green. Once, and really it was not that hard. The instructor; who is a big man, freaked. He yelled at the kid. "No, that is not OK! You dont' do that!" He then walked over and yanked the putter out of his hand. " You will not get this back until your mother comes." The little boy just stood there looking stunned.

I turned around and his mother was making her way over as she had her other little son probably around 2 years old. She hadn't seen anything.
I couldn't handle it. I walked over and put my arm on Luke's shoulder and looked at him and said something like "It's ok." Then I looked at the instructor and said "Luke was not here last week. He doesn't know." My heart was racing so I wasn't able to really think about what I wanted to say. The instructor looked at me and said " He doesn't understand english" The little boy is Chinese and his english is fine. I felt angrier. I just stared at him and said "He understands." He said something about "where is his mother?" I said she is coming. She was now coming closer, but still had no idea about what was happening. I went up to her and said something like the instructor has taken Luke's putter, you need to go to him.

She thanked me after when I told her what happened.

But you know, I feel like I didn't say the right thing. When I said "he doesn't know" - I wish I had said something like, Instead of grabbing the putter away, could you show him what you want him to do with it. That these are young children, they need reminders. This is all new to them. Please treat them with respect.

My neighbour gave me the name of the person who is in charge of the golf programmes and suggested that I send some feedback. I want to do this. The instructors are good at golf, they don't seem to know how to work with young children and I want to give some specific examples for alternative ways to interact with them.

They also did some stuff that drove me crazy. Started making the play really competetive. "Who can hit the farthest, etc. Whoever wins gets a gold star and a ride in a golf cart?" The week before everyone had been promised a ride in the golf cart. After today's class no one had gotten gold stars or a ride in the golf cart. But when they started making it competitive, the atmosphere changed, from just learning and playing, to focussing on how the other kids were doing.

Anyway, confrontation is really hard for me and I don't like doing it. But I think it was the right thing to do - I just wish I could do it from a much more grounded place. I feel like my inside is in panic mode.
 

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Good for you for stepping in, intentionalmama! So many others would have said or done nothing. I think, to Luke, it doesn't matter exactly what you said, the fact that someone was standing up for him is what makes the difference. And if he had been my child and I had not witnessed what had happened, I would be very grateful to you for stepping in and doing the right thing. Even if Luke had been there the week before, he is 4! How many 4 yr. olds do you know that need to be told something only once? The way this man acted was wrong.
I think following up with some suggestions to the director is a good idea, especially if it is in writing.
I know what you mean about having instructors who are good at the sport/topic/etc. but that does not always translate to being able to relate to and understand little ones. I have started looking into programs much more in depth before giving them my money. My daughter had a swim instructor this summer who had no clue how to talk to kids, ignored all the kids that were afraid or having trouble engaging in the class. These were 3 year olds! Anyway, it just clicked for me that from now on I am going to talk to the actual instructor first and ask them questions like, "What would you do if a child was mistreating equipment?/straying away from the class?/upset about something that happened in class?"
If a kid's camp or sport class or whatever wants my money and my good recommendation to my local mommy friends, they will only get it by interacting well with my child in addition to teaching them the subject.
 

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That is really great. I'm pretty sure I would have had the same experience as you, pounding heart, forgetting what to say...

The great thing is, is that now that you've gone through it, if their is a next time, you'll be able to do so calmly and with more confidence.

Poor little guy, you did the right thing. And, I'm sure it made a difference to the child.

--Jennifer
 

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I'm like you; I get all panicky too when I have to intervene about something. It's something I try to make myself do, and usually I am proud of myself for saying/doing something - as you should be! As another poster mentioned, I'm sure it made all the difference to the little boy that someone came to his aid, not so much about what was said. Hopefully it made the instructor think too - but definitely a written follow up would be a good idea. Great job momma!!
 

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Good for you and luke! Getting passed the "shock" of witnessing something like this and to act and speak is quite something. Too many times I am too dumbfounded to react quickly because I don't expect bullying, disrespect, etc.. Again kudos
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I would definitely give the feedback. The instructors have not been trained in dealing with small kids. They need to know that they are acting inappropriately.

It sounds like you did a good job to me. I either get so nervous I can't say anything, or I act like a total psycho. I'm working on that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you everyone for your responses. I feel that having a child, and being part of this mothering group really brings the issue of respecting children to the forefront. Speaking up completely takes me out of my comfort zone, but reading so much on this site -makes it harder and harder not to.

Sept15lja wrote:"but definitely a written follow up would be a good idea." You know - I had decided to call in and speak to the woman next week when she is back from holidays. The idea of writing something down - made me feel uncomfortable. But I see now, it is just because confrontation makes me feel uncomfortable. I was thinking if I call in; I can just chat with her about some of my observations and make some suggestions. But, I also realize, it would be much better in writing - as then they have the information to refer to.

I will try to send something that is not angry and blaming even though, I was really feeling that the instructor was acting like a big bully. I want to try to incorporate more of the gentle discipline approach. Saying why I think the person acted the way they did: ie)probably was really worried about the putting green, etc. and then suggest some alternative ways to handle things. Plus as some of you mentioned really highlighting how I think young children (the class was 4 -6) should be treated. ie) important to understand they will need to be reminded of things many times, telling them what they can do, keeping things simple by not giving too much information, focussing more on having fun rather than competing with each other,, and above all remembering that they are people and also need to be treated with respect.

So thanks again for reading and your responses. It is so good to be able to connect with others who care about children.
 

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Sounds like he had no business teaching sports to kids that young. Dealing with that age group requires an understanding of a) short attention spans, b) their tendency to use tools in a manner that is not usual and c) being sensitive.

I co-coached a season of street hockey for 3-5 year olds. We were constantly needing to remind the kids that "no, we don't use hockey sticks that way".
 

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None of what the instructer did or said was appropriate, but what bothers me the most was the fact that he thought, because the child "doesn't understand English", that it's especially okay to yell at him? Not that he should have been yelling at the child regardless, but to excuse his own behavior because "the kid doesn't understand anyways"? That really irks me.
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I think you should definitely write a letter to his supervisor, and it sounds like you have a good plan for what kind of letter to write. When I was a young inexperienced teacher, I did some things that were not appropriate because I was inexperienced and didn't know any better. When parents got angry, it was hard to hear, but I took it to heart and tried to do better. My supervisor was wonderful at giving me feedback in a way that didn't put me on the defensive. Today, 15 or so years later, I consider myself a master teacher with a specialty in preschoolers. So, by writing a letter, he might change his ways. Or, he might decide that dealing with little ones is not for him.
 

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I think calling is actually a better idea than writing a letter. With a phone call, you can answer questions and make suggestions as they come up. I just don't think a letter will suffice in this case. Also, how will you know that they got and even read it? You did a good thing by standing up for that little boy and I think the way to get some changes made is by calling the people in charge.
 

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Definitely the "doesn't understand english" is part of this, make sure you bring that up. That's culturally insensitive bordering on racist, and just shows the bullying nature... if he actually doesn't understand english, then what was the point in talking to him at all?

Ugh, I could rant for pages about this incident, but I think you all know, so I'll save my vents lol...
 
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