When kids are kicking a fuss or throwing a tantrum, they are unaware of how they look. Phoebie recently started making this particular face whenever she didn’t like what I was saying. I’d say that the face she makes isn’t nice and I would ask her why she was making that face.
She has been doing it so often recently, whether knowingly or unknowingly, that I decided it was time to show her how she looked.
First I took a photo of her making the “n-shaped mouth” face.
Next, I asked her to smile.
I showed her both pictures and asked her which one she liked more. She chose the one where she was smiling. I asked her why and she said because the smile is nicer. I then asked her which one she thought I liked and she said the one with a smile.
Finally, I asked her if she felt that it was nice if people talked to her and she made a face with the “n-shaped mouth” and she replied, “No.”
I explained to her that not everything that people say or do will make her happy and that it is okay to be angry or upset. But if she kept quiet and made that face, people would not know why she was upset. The only way that people would know what was making her angry was if she spoke up.
I reminded Phoebie of the time when she told me about a girl in her class whom, for a few months, had told Phoebie that everyone was her friend except Phoebie. Phoebie was upset about it and I had suggested that she spoke to the girl, and to tell the girl that she didn’t like the girl being mean to her. Phoebie talked to the girl about it and the girl realized she wasn’t being kind. After that, they were friends.
Using this example, I reminded Phoebie that making a face when she heard something she doesn’t like doesn’t tell people why she is upset. She agreed and said that she should speak up so that people will know what is upsetting her, and things can be worked out or talked through.
Times like this, I’m glad we can use smart phones to teach children something.