The difficult child on the block
On almost every street there will be a difficult child who creates some problems. If he is pushed out of the group, he usually becomes even more of a problem child. If the neighbors can all remember that he is probably a difficult child because he is an unhappy child, they may be more willing to try to help him than to punish him. It is best to try to make friends with such a youngster, even though limits may have to be set when he comes over to play. If such a child is too disturbing, it is possible to send him home with a friendly statement that when he would like to play without so much noise, he may come back again. If parents remain friendly toward the youngster and help their own children to understand him, they will have more success in keeping down the number of situations in which he is upsetting. Parents should not hesitate to handle situations that arise when other people’s children are in their house or yard. It is their responsibility, then, just as a neighbor may have to handle a like situation at her home. Parents should do this in a kindly, impartial way, just as if the neighbor’s child were their own youngster.
Things will go much more smoothly in a neighborhood if the mothers of the pre-school children can decide among themselves on certain simple rules and limitations for the children’s play. If they agree that the mother in whose yard the children are playing is responsible for the youngsters, if all the children know that they may not cross the street or leave the block, if all the youngsters are indoors for an hour after lunch, and all go to bed at approximately the same time, life on the block can run much more smoothly. Some mothers have very successfully worked out a plan whereby each mother is responsible for the children’s outdoor play one morning a week. This plan might not work on every block, but it is wise for the mothers to get together and make plans for their children’s play. (Continue below to page 5)