1. How to stand up to a bully. Even though Sarina's just 3, we've already had a couple of encounters with older girl bullies. One, just the other day, tried to take my daughter's bracelets. I asked Sarina if she wanted the girl to take her bracelets, or if she wanted them back. When she affirmed she wanted them back, I suggested that she tell the girl, "I'm sorry, but those are my bracelets and I would like them back now." She did, and when the girl fiddled with the last one, Sarina said, "That one is mine, too." I was very proud!
2. How to be a real friend. Sometimes, the bully isn't targeting you, but someone else-- someone weaker, who needs help. It's so difficult and so important to provide other kids with emotional support so they can be stronger, too, even if it means risking becoming the bully's next target.
3. Who to trust. This is a lifelong lesson that adults struggle with, too. As a kid, it can be even tougher to figure out people's motivations. It's hard watching our kids get hurt when they try to befriend the "wrong" person, but it's also a necessary part of the process, so they'll learn when to be open with people and when to keep their guard up.
4. How to love learning. Kids have natural curiosity that can be squashed when adults try to impose too many rules and restrictions. Fanciful questions deserve fanciful answers. So squirrels like to ride on unicorns' backs when no one is looking? Sure they do! Forcing adult logic into kid questions will make academic learning an automatic turn-off.
5. How much we can matter. When we raise kids who believe they can make a difference, we improve the world. All the good we see in humanity is because people believed their little lives might matter.
I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Nanny McPhee Returns blogging program, making me eligible to get a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.