Tag Archives: friendships

He’s not my boyfriend, he’s my buddy.

12 Jun

There was a struggle at bedtime at my house the other night, but it didn’t involve the usual “one more story,” stalling or “can I have a glass of water?” Nope. The struggle went a little like this:

“Mommy, Lucy’s boyfriend Noah is going to Kindergarten with me. He doesn’t even know me, but I know who he is because she showed me a picture of him.”

“You know, there are no boyfriends in Kindergarten, right? Everyone gets to be buddies.” Continue reading

The Support of Friends

18 Apr

Photo Credit: The Bully Project

If you’ve seen the film ‘Bully,’ then you understand why I am still thinking, talking and blogging about it. This powerful documentary highlights the stories of 5 kids and families who are affected tremendously by bullying. One courageous and charismatic 16 year-old, Kelby, eloquently discusses and describes the cruel abuse she endures as an openly gay youth in her small town. The strength and seemingly eternal optimism that Kelby displays throughout the film made a significant impression on me, and I’m certain I am not alone. Her resolve in the beginning of the school year to return and face her tormentors, and her determination to be a catalyst for change in her community speak to the strength of her character and left me wondering and reflecting on the sources of her resiliency.

Continue reading

The Birthday Dilemma

2 Feb

My five-year old was recently invited to her first girls only birthday party. It was a fairy themed party on a beautiful, warm Sunday, and everyone had a really nice time. The kids all got wings when they arrived and ran around outside in-between cake and craft projects. It was a sweet and wholesome party – but, half the class was excluded.

Lego Friends Misses the Mark on Friendships

12 Jan

I hold my memories of working at Gray Elementary School very close to my heart. It was (and still is) a fabulous Chicago Public School, with passionate and innovative teachers and supportive and forward-thinking administrators. While the learning happening inside the school was quite progressive, the school structure itself dated back to 1911. Remodeling and updating took place over the years, but certain elements of the original facade were preserved – namely, the separate boys’ and girls’ entrances.

Set on opposite ends of the building with words etched in stone above, these doors had long since brought boys and girls into school separately. And the sight of this historical signage never elicited any type of negative feelings from me. In fact, I appreciated the history it represented. If anything, it was a reminder of how far we’ve come (in education and as a culture), and an incentive for continuing to push for change and improvement. Separate entrances for boys and girls – a thing of the past, ancient history, olden times, distant memories….  It’s 2012 now for goodness sakes. It’s a time of inclusion, progressive thinking, and ingenuity.

So could someone please explain to me why an industry that has the resources to be all of this and more has created the likes of Legos Friends? Continue reading

Norms and Expectation (Solutions 7 & 8)

26 Oct

Whether it’s in school, the workplace, within the community as a whole or at home in a marriage, the world is coed, and boys and girls would benefit from strengthening their skills to work and communicate together. But because boys and girls socialize each other in such different ways, we face a challenge in enhancing these skills. We must figure out ways to bring them together and confront the norms they have come to accept. Which brings me to today’s solutions (yep – it’s a combo again. It may be a cop out, but it really was difficult to separate the two)….Solution 7: Normalize the Boy-Girl Friendship and Solution 8: Communicate Expectations. 

What do our kids think about friendships between boys and girls? Do they view these relationships in the same way they do those between their same-sex friends? Continue reading

Best Practices

5 Oct

Best practices emphasize the importance of diversity in children’s play experiences and friendships.

But in reality, Continue reading

Time Together

21 Sep

Preschoolers typically interact with same gender peers 3 times more than with opposite gender peers.  Gender segregation begins around age 3 and increases dramatically during preschool.  By the time children reach age 6 ½, they are interacting with their same gender peers 11 times more than with opposite gender peers.

Same gender play and friendships continue to increase and peak during elementary school.

So, when children spend significantly disproportionate amounts of time with their same gender peers, how can we get boys and girls to learn successful strategies from each other?

The Great Divide

9 May

I was walking out of my kids’ preschool the other day with another mom. She has two kids 15 months apart (bless her). Her younger son, Jonathan, is in Molly’s room and the older one, Noah, is in Pre-K. We were chatting about our kids and work and how we’re always running late. Then we got to talking about the intervention I’m involved in at ASU. I was telling her how we’re trying to increase contact and positive experiences between boys and girls in hopes of bringing kids together who, at this stage, are beginning to spend more and more time apart. At this point she stops walking and says to me,

paper chain close up by stitchlily

paper chain close up by stitchlily

You know, that’s so interesting…. I swear, just now, when I dropped off Noah, it looked as if the teacher had said, ‘Girls over here – Boys over there.’ The kids were all so into making these paper chains, but the girls were all standing around the teacher turning them into bracelets and earrings, and the boys were all off on the other side of the room tying each other up! I don’t even think I noticed at first – everyone was just having fun. It’s funny how you can walk into a classroom, see everyone working happily, and not really think about that division.

Continue reading

Tales of a Superhero Princess

2 May

My preschooler, Molly, has recently become obsessed with superheroes. Well, maybe the more accurate assessment of the situation is that I have become obsessed with her interest in superheroes. It all began before her little friend Jackson’s birthday party. He had sent out Spiderman invitations, and to a 4-year-old, no further explanation needed – he was having a Spiderman party! Now as a side note (and a topic I’d like to explore further at a different time), Molly is quite taken with Jackson. He is a super cute, fun, happy kid. He’s the kind of kid that others are really drawn to. So it goes without saying that when the arrival of the invitation coincided with Molly’s discovery of a Spiderman t-shirt of her very own , it was on!

Continue reading

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