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The Power of Group Discussions in Cultivating Compassionate Children

Childish group interactions lead to discussions about language used and how it disturbs the peace that is brought about through mutual support and respect.



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Be it a child or an adult, sometimes, words come out in a state of anger, irritation. There could be multiple causes for that state, but none of them justify an outburst targeted at anyone. Worse, if the language begs for a remedial measure. It upsets everyone. It disturbs the group agenda. End result, everyone loses.


Yet, sparring through words happen everywhere, even in adult interactions. Children imitate or derive ideas from what they watch on T.V. No matter what the influence is, talking about how it affects everyone and doesn't benefit anyone is important.


Standing up for oneself is important. It doesn't have to be through insults. It can be through clear communication opening up newer friendships and closer ties, is it not? Adult intervention goes a long way in remedying such situations by showing children the bigger picture and the possible positive roles they can play, if only they try.


Why do children bully?

I found the answer to this question in the most unlikely place- children's literature. Books such as The Julien Chapter by R.J Palaccio and The Night Bus Hero by Onjali Rauf opened a new window to me. Both books present the side of a bully who has much to say but does not know how to express it in a productive way. It only becomes worse when they are compared with someone who is better. This may be a conscious or unconscious comparison. They end up getting branded, automatically picked up for acts that they did not commit but people are quick to assume and point fingers. It is hard to imagine what that would feel like unless one goes through that repeatedly.



It is so easy to judge and instantly brand them. They unknowingly do the same mistake and get branded all over again. They stop caring. When their victims stand up for themselves, they begin to care, get scared, only to run away momentarily. But the need to exert their power to feel good about themselves in a world that brands them, catches up once again. They return to their old tactics.


Changing the equation

Instead of making them the highlight for trouble, focusing on their strengths and the importance of their contributions to a classroom conversation changes the scene for them. For the first time, they begin to see themselves in a different light. They are considered important for who they are and what they have to offer. Emphasizing the fact that, their contribution is not useful as taunts or funny comments but more in terms of their thinking with respect to a subject in discussion distracts them from their own misery. Gradually, they begin to enjoy the more positive image that is associated with them. They become healthy contributors.




This helps change the way the rest in the classroom also look at them. Children can extend their hand to make a friendship leaving differences behind in no time. Connections begin to grow and common interests are discovered. Then there is no turning back but steps being built for a healthy society for the future in which collaborations play a big role in progress of any kind.

 

Both weekday and weekend batches are available at the Young Readers' Club. While this program is for the 8-12 age group, the Young Writers' Club program for the 13-15 age group offers a weekly platform to read and discuss curated articles from the news, observe writing approaches and practise one's writing skills.

NEW! Musings from the Young Writers' Club is an online magazine showcasing the work we do at the Young Writers' Club.


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