While starting my shift at the tutoring center I work at on the side, I observed my supervisor assisiting a child with a problem. My supervisor was standing behind the child to observe the problem. Casually, the child leaned back, looked up, and grabbed my supervisor’s breast! :eek: Maybe I’m not used to being around children of that age, but witnessing this happen was a little unnerving- my supervisor didn’t stop the child or anything, just told her to pay attention to what she was working on.
I guess with young children, its best to act calmly and casually when they do something awkward like this, but I’m not very acclimated to handling it so well.
Our center rewards good marks with little magnets that the kids can trade in for prizes. Two weeks ago, a 10 year old boy was demanding I give him a magnet I owed him. I started to reach in my pocket to give him one, but he just thrust his arm out to try to take one out of my pocket. I stepped back out of his reach, and suddenly he jumps up and tries it again. Only he accidentally sticks his hands down my pants :eek: I yelped in alarm and told the child to let me GIVE him the magnet; its innapropriate to reach in people’s pockets and take things. Well, my (different) supervisor pulled me aside and basically chewed me out for yelling at the kid. I was so frazzled by all this I didn’t argue about it, but was kind of annoyed that somebody gave me ‘bad touch’ and somehow all that is my fault. I guess I’m not allowed to act instinctively in these situations. Some of these children seem to lack all boundaries and attempting to be patient with them just causes them to blithely ignore me.
Unless you’re dealing with special needs children, I would say that your reaction wasn’t necessarily out of line. My father used to teach and would constantly come home with stories of kids rummaging through his desk, using his things, etc.
Schools these days are so lawsuit-defensive that they dare not say or do anything that could possibly be perceived in any light as being negative or limiting a child’s ‘self-esteem’.
While it may be natural for kids that age to try to push boundaries, and not fully understand societal ‘regulations’ I think that a reprimand or soft scolding is definitely in order.
Unless you screamed at the kid, I don’t think that your supervisor should have reamed you out. IIRC, when I was that age, I had full knowledge and understanding of the whole personal space issue. A 10 year old should be able to learn what is appropriate, especially in a school setting.
Most of these children are not mentally handicapped; the one that did the ‘bad touch’ to me definitely wasn’t- he was just very impulsive. I think part of it might be that the children there see us as these benign individuals, shuffling about and helping them with math problems or spelling, but not acting like their parents in the case of yelling, threatening, and general parental body language. Some of them know we’re not going to react very significantly to anything they pull on us, so they kind of test us to see how much they can get away with.
XJETGIRLX, suppose a child grabbed your breast. What reaction would you have? (just curious). Lets suppose you don’t see that its a child grabbing you?
I told a (female) friend of mine about these incidents and asked her how she would react. She told me she would have slapped the child; she absolutely cannot tolerate an unfamiliar person touching her in certain areas. I told her she probably wouldn’t last long in my job
10 years old is old enough to know better. Unless you totally went berserk on the kid, your reaction was correct and completely justified, IMO. I would be appalled if I had a 10 year old who thought it was ok to reach into peoples’ pockets.
If any kid touches my breast, he better be under 5! If he’s in school, he should be taught what is appropriate touching.
Being that I have to work with young children for both my jobs (crossing guard and tutoring coach) I’m always aware of what I am doing at any given moment, since usually when I am around children parents are there as well. I worry that some casual action I do might get misinterpreted by a parent as obscene or threatening to their child, so I try to act as benign as possible when I am around them. I think being male makes this worse, so I avoid touching the kids and any body language that might get misconstrued as obscene.