‘You’re Not My Best Friend!’ Social Issues at Daycare
This phraseÂ began to run rampant at daycare. Whoever started it, all the kids caught on. It was the go-to response whenever someone wouldnâ€™t share a toy or take their turn. If they wanted to play a different game or made fun of your art project. Whatever the issue, my daughter and her group of four preschool-aged girlfriends would solve it with, â€œYouâ€™re not my best friend!â€ It got so bad that my daughter started saying it to me.
My daughterâ€™s newest line was normally accompanied by crossed arms and a raised eyebrow. Sometimes sheâ€™d even shake her head as she spoke, in a terrible characterization of an angry drama queen. On display was my daughterâ€™s stubborn attitude at its most passionate. For how frequently she used that phrase, it always seemed to pack a punch.
Finally, her daycare provider and I decided to put our feet down. The whole saying was outlawed. Those five little words brought about early bedtimes and took away countless toys. They inspired plenty of timeouts and ended more than a couple trips to the park. Unfortunately, it was the only insult my daughter knew and she was determined to hold onto it.
In pre-school and daycare, everyone is your friend. No matter the childâ€™s attitude and behavior, their peers must be accepting and kind. Itâ€™s the only time in your life when youâ€™re simply not allowed to dislike someone. Thatâ€™s a difficult lesson for toddlers to accept, but I think itâ€™s an important one. Itâ€™s the beginning of every relationship with a co-worker or in-law that isnâ€™t particularly rosy. Itâ€™s the way we teach kids to adapt and accept diverse opinions and characters. And while we allow children to forget this early lesson over a decade of schooling, I still thinks itâ€™s important.
No, not every child is going to be my daughterâ€™s best friend. But sheâ€™s not allowed to use her favor like a bargaining chip. I donâ€™t want her to throw her dislike in someoneâ€™s face like a weapon. More than anything, I want her to know that no matter what our personal thoughts are, we must always be kind and polite to our peers. She doesnâ€™t have to enjoy playing with a child who refuses to share or hits, but she canâ€™t scream her disapproval in their face.
Weâ€™re still working on the eradication of â€œYouâ€™re not my best friend!â€ It still pops up at inopportune times. And very seldom, she still gets sent to her room for screaming it in my face when I refuse to let her eat a popsicle an hour before dinner. Hopefully, the first time my daughter has to kiss up to a boss she canâ€™t stand, sheâ€™ll appreciate this early lesson in self-control and biting-your-tongue.