“Who cut your hair? Your dog? Just kidding!”
“I love your sweater. It reminds me of something my grandma would wear. Jokes!”
“That presentation you did in class was great. It really helped me catch up on sleep. JK!”
Just kidding, jokes, JK – the holy trinity of deflection designed to allow not-so-well-meaning comments to pass as benign and trivial bits of humour. We’ve all heard them. Some of us have been on the receiving end of them. And yes, some of us have delivered them – but hopefully only to near and dear friends.
When said to a truly close friend or family member, these zingers can be a source of mutual amusement. And that’s the key word: mutual. More often than not, however, children take such statements and weaponize them to cause harm, leaving any vestige of mutually-shared humour behind.
We’re tackling this one in our Lower School these days, not because our girls aren’t kind, but simply because they’re kids. Kids take what they hear at the dinner table or on TV or on that popular YouTube video that everyone is watching. They hear this sort of sophisticated and nuanced banter and say to themselves, “Hey, I think I’ll give that line a try.” The results, it should be noted, are usually not funny and definitely not appreciated by the unsuspecting child on the receiving end.
Rachel Simmons, author and “girl guru”, talks more about the “just kidding” problem and the way in which such indirect aggression damages or limits friendships. I encourage parents to watch Rachel’s video together with their daughter. It provides a great entry point into an important conversation.
This month at the Castle we’re going to tackle head on the challenge of ill-intended remarks while supporting an appreciation for appropriate and positive jokes. (I mean, everyone needs a good laugh now and then!) I hope others will join us in our efforts to support our girls by remembering that tiny eyes are watching and small ears are listening. Let’s be positive role models promoting thoughtful and kind behaviour for all.