Last school year I had a kindergarten student come to me and complain that two of the others were ignoring him, that they had told him he wasn’t their friend anymore. I decided to do a little “digging” I spoke to both of the other boys, they told me the first child had pushed one of them down and hurt him. This was a pattern for this child, he would push, hit, otherwise hurt a classmate then say it was an accident. He had apologized to the boy he pushed but the two boys were mad and you know what I couldn’t blame them as the first child had done this before and wasn’t changing his behavior I’d be mad too.
It made me begin to wonder when we require kids to include all others are we doing the right thing? Those boys had a right to feel angry and to use words to express those feelings to the first child. Is it right for us to then tell them because he apologized they have to play with him??? Are we not providing proper feedback to the child who pushed by letting them think an apology excuses all behavior, we all know sometimes an apology just isn’t enough! By not allowing those kids to refuse to play with this other child are we asking them to sublimate their feelings, are we telling them their feelings aren’t valid?
There has to be a middle ground here and we need to find it.