Thursday, December 13, 2007

Overheard at the Kinsons, Advice welcomed!!

This is a personally upsetting version of 'Overheard at the Kinsons'. Read on and you'll see why...

I picked up Sweetness (aka 3 year old son) from a preschool program and we walked out at the same time as another little boy, whom I shall call P, and his father. We got in the car and
I say: P seems like a nice boy. Did you play with him?
Sweetness: Well, I don't really like P. (this shocks me because Sweetness loves everyone)
Me: Why? Is he not a good sharing buddy?
Sweetness: Um, no.
Me: Does he play rough?
Sweetness: Um, no.
Me: Then why don't you like him?
Sweetness: Because his face is not bright like mine.

P is black. I was absolutely horrified that Sweetness would judge on skin color because he surely doesn't get this vibe from home! At all! I can't stress this enough.
Goodness - we're Bermudian - so many many many friends are of African-Bermudian or Caribbean descent.
Needless to say, I was shocked to my core and had to resist the urge to shout at him for saying such a thing. I calmly explained that people come in all shades... etc etc... but I'm not sure this was/is enough.

Any suggestions out there? How else could I have handled this?


Bonnie said...

Oh my goodness, Wylie. I think you've handled it the best way you could. You may want to see if this opinion is one that he "borrowed" from another friend.

Of course, I 'm a woman with five houseplants and an angry kitten, so what do I know?

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

This is where you go for Mr. Rogers: Everybody's different and different is good.

We talk about that a LOT in my household. We also have a lot of friends who are culturally diverse, and I always get excited when we meet someone else.

Wylie Kinson said...

Hey Bonnie - that's a good idea. I'll speak to his teacher.
So, do you find that your ferns snub the ficus? ;)

SHG - Ah, the world needs more Mr. Rogers. I never faced this with my oldest (who's two best buds were quite a bit darker than himself) so we're in new and uncomfortable territory.

Amy Ruttan said...

Yes, definitely find out if it's another child influencing Sweetness, because that is shocking since you came from Bermuda.

I constantly reinforce with Brianna that just because we are all different we are all the same.

The other little girls tend NOT to play with one particular Islamic girl, I don't if it's her glasses or because she's shy (she's really shy) but Brianna plays with her.

You're doing the best, don't yell at Sweetness, but reinforce the we're all the same, you're doing good. It's probably the influence of another child.

Shelley Munro said...

It's a tricky one, Wylie. All you can do is lead by example, as you're doing already, and maybe find out if this comes from the other kids.

Red Garnier said...

Wylie you handled it beautifully.

And you know my little one when he was 3 observed some odd things in people. He once asked an old man right in the middle of the mall why he was missing most of his teeth, and he told a friend of mine, "I don't like you, your voice sounds like a chicken's." HUH?! I was mortified too. Also every time he saw an old man he said, "BAD MAN, BAD BAD BAD MAN." I had no idea how to clear him of this misconception.

Anyway, I'm rambling. LOL!

You did the right thing and maybe you should find a book or a TV kid program where he can can be exposed to people or characters of different ethnic background. I think all he needs is to realize he can relate to, and have a lot in common, with so many different looking people. Different is good. ;)

julia said...

Just explaining to Sweetness how you feel is the right thing, Wylie. He's starting to feel his way and knowing how you feel helps give him something to hold onto.

Anonymous said...

You've gotten such good advice, and I really can't add any more -- but I'm sending hugs. Sounds like Sweetness picked that up from another child at the school.

As Shelly said, the best thing you can do is lead by example. Sweetness has an excellent example to follow in you and in his home environment. :)

Barrie said...

Any helpful books at the library? Or picture books about different kids getting along and becoming best friends? I know we have a picture about a grasshopper and a frog becoming friends (or maybe it's a frog and snake) despite both sets of parents.