I am sure most people do not realize that in many ways we groom our young women to be victims, and no one likes a victim it seems. We have no problem making children accountable for what happens to them but not so good at making they accountable for what they do. We are society of “blame shifters”.
I have been saying for a long time that we need to educate our young women about narcissists and teach them self respect and how to set boundaries at a young age but it was a call from someone this weekend that gave me an epiphany.
- Names and some of the circumstances have been changed to protect the privacy of the people involved.
A six year old little girl takes her rock collection to school for show and tell and the rock collection gets stolen. The teacher says, “If you wouldn’t have been taking your rocks out and showing the other children they would not have been stolen.”
Nothing earth shattering there, we have all heard a teacher or parent say the same thing but can you see what is wrong with how it was handled?
What was stolen is not the issue, it could have been a bag of rocks or a bag of diamonds, something important to the little girl was taken from her and she feels bad; her feelings were not acknowledged and in fact she was blamed it happening. Whoever stole the rock collection is given the message that it is ok to steal or take whatever he/she wants.
15 years down the road the girl is a young woman who gets too drunk at a party (perhaps her drink is spiked?) she passes out behind a dumpster and a young man rapes her. His father later says that his son is having to pay a stiff price for a few minutes of fun, the girl is blamed because she was drunk.
How can some seemingly insignificant event in grade school end up with rape? Simple really.
They say that a person’s self worth and personality are formed by the time they are 6 years old. Until the age of 7-8 a child absorbs every bit of information they receive without the benefit of logic and reason.
The teacher missed a golden opportunity to teach an important life lesson to her class and could have done damage that will manifest later for the children and in the very least perpetuates one of the biggest contributors to the cycle of abuse continuing.
How c+ould she have handled it in a positive way? By explaining to the class that it is wrong to steal and by asking the little girl how she felt about her rocks being stolen. The teacher could have taught empathy by asking the students to share how they would feel if something valuable to them was taken. There could have been an opportunity for the thief to apologize and return the rocks. But at the very least the little girl’s feelings would have been acknowledged.
The message that was sent was; it’s your own fault when someone does something mean to you. The little girl will hesitate to speak out when she is abused because she doesn’t want to be blamed and will grow up thinking that her feelings don’t matter.
Teachers have a lot of influence over our children, not all teachers have the skills to do their jobs well, luckily most do. I encouraged the parent to take this as an opportunity to teach the teacher by explaining calmly how she could have dealt with it in a more positive way. If he didn’t get a satisfactory response then go into the school and talk to the principal. The parent was worried about the affect on his daughter and was very angry, I explained that the teacher may not be as aware and that there are good teachers and bad teachers; what is important is that the parents consistently support their children and ensure that the child always knows that no matter what they can go to their parent and be listened to.
We all have to be very careful of the messages we send to our children, messages we send every day without even being aware of it; verbally, visually, by what we do and what we accept. “It takes a village to raise a child” has never been more true. And fathers teacher your daughters how they should be treated by setting an example and showing her how a real man treats women, after all they usually marry someone just like their daddy.