Friday, 24 October 2008

Pietro's Kind Words

Yesterday I found out that my little proteges aren't as indifferent to me as I originally thought. It was when Ludovica, Emanuele and I were watching Juno late in the evening that Ludovica turned to me and said...

"You'll never guess what happened while you were out at the movies tonight!"

Visions of children hurling water over the side of the bath, screaming up and down the hallway, having uncontrollable 'capricci' (temper tantrums) while yelling "bruta" and "cattiva" in my direction sprung immediately to my mind. Curious as I was, perhaps I didn't really want to hear what I had missed that night after all.

Seeing my apprehension, Ludovica quickly continued...

"No, no, you'll like this! Apparently, when Marta was complaining about how you hadn't let her and her friends put their backpacks in the bathroom, Pietro came to your defence! He said: Heather's not mean, she's nice and beautiful! We love her! We should teach her lots and lots of Italian and we must learn more English!"

"WhHHHAAAT?? This is not the Pietro I know!" I thought. (And apparently, Ludovica had said the same thing at the time!) Pietro, out of all the children, is the one I am the most strict with. He calls me the most names, and the most trouble, and has the most averseness to speaking English, so to have him say such a kind thing about me really took me aback.

I think that Pietro's acceptance of me is proof that an easygoing attitude with children is not the key to ultimately gaining their respect and affection. It takes rules and order to have a good relationship with young children since they feel more confortable when there is a structure in place. After all, if there weren't a structure, they wouldn't have the opportunity to break the rules, and that wouldn't be any fun at all! This being said, a caring, and most of all, forgiving attitude must go hand in hand with the strict rules you put in place. Children do not understand the concept of grudges, so it does no good continually resent a child for something they did one week, one day, or even one hour ago. Rather, the most effective method is to tell the child off when they do something wrong, let them hate you at the time, and forgive and forget once all is said and done. At least, in Pietro's case, it seems to have worked.

3 comments:

Steph the WonderWorrier said...

Hit the nail on the head here, Heather! Absolutely true that children need discpline and structure in their lives, and they will absolutely respect you more for it.

Sounds like you're doing an amazing job! Don't worry about following through with your rules; you are the caregiver and you make the decisions for their well-being. Let them stew about it if they need to, they'll get over it soon enough and you'll be all the better for having made proper decisions for their lives rather than giving in to children's whims. :-)

Sorry I haven't been commenting regularly, have been a bit busy! But I'm still reading!

Mamma Mia said...

Hey,
You are making great progress. It must make you feel good to know that you are using the right tactics with Pietro. Doesn't it make you feel good?
Love Mamma Mia

heather-in-italia said...

Absolutely! But sometimes I feel like I've gone back to square one with him. I could be really successful with him one day, and have no luck the next - it really depends on his mood!

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