Little Bert is the youngest in the school and has such a fiesty temper. He is such a loving and sensative boy, however if he thinks someone has wronged him he will be on then in a second with all fists and feet flying into his target. This often results in him being pryed off another child by an adult and put in time out to calm down. Much of Bert’s frustration results from his communication difficulties and not being able to find the correct words to express what he is thinking, feeling and needs. This is a common problem with children who have communication difficulties and is a key area for behavioural problems…it all comes down to being understood.
Bert has learnt a few choice words however. He is clever enough to have figured out that if he swears and gives rude gestures he will get the attention he wants from both children and adults and generally something will be done about it.
This particular day we were out on a school trip to an outdoor playground where there were many other school groups, teachers and adults around. Bert came up to me with a very angry look on his face. His forehead was crinkled, his lip out and I could see him stomping across the playground to tell me something has happened that he was not happy about at all!
What happened next was just one of those moments where you don’t know where to look or how to react…especially in a public place.
Bert stomped over to me, arms crossed and yelled at the top of his lungs…’JELLY’ (that is the name he calls me as he can’t pronounce my real name) …BOY… F###ING…ME!!’ And procedes to stick up his two middle fingers at me sharply with a glare, waiting for me to respond.
So what do I do? Every adult within earshot is looking at me. You can imagine what they are thinking? This gorgeous little boy has just been violated in some way, what are you going to do about it?
Personally… I know what he is trying to say and am trying to hold back my laughter at this whole situation, I mean you either laugh or you cry with embarrassment. But neither reaction is socially appropriate at this time with all the adults glaring at me hanging onto my next few words and how I am going to manage this horrific incident?
So I take a deep breath and ask Bert …’Did a boy swear at you?’
‘YES’ he replied abruptly.
‘Did he stick up his middle finger at you?’
‘Do you want me to come and get angry at him?’
‘Ok, I will. But we need to use the word ‘RUDE’ from now on. The boy is being rude to me.’
And off I went to find the culprit before Bert took the law into his own hands.
And with that I could feel the relief in the air around me from all the lookers-on, and hear the muffled giggles as I went to deal with Bert’s ‘rude’ boy.
I’m just glad he came to me…imagine if he had approached a police officer nearby?
Communicaton… it can be our greatest asset or biggest liability!