martha's vineyard community services · early childhood programs · family center
Family Matters is prepared monthly by the Martha’s Vineyard Family Center, a program of Martha’s Vineyard Community Services
funded by grants from the Massachusetts Children’s Trust Fund and the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care
Taming the Big, Bad Wolf
“Little pigs, little pigs, let me come in!” “Not by the hair on our chinny chin chins!” “Then I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house in!!”
Those three little pigs sure had their work cut out for them! They used their words, fled from danger to a safer location and sought the help of others. But still that big, bad wolf kept after them, harassing and threatening them, destroying what was theirs. In the end, the wolf was outwitted, the pigs empowered and justice served in the land of fairy tales. There are lessons to be learned from this classic tale of the bully and his victims.
Turn this story over to a handful of two and three year olds and their first response is fearful excitement—that big, bad wolf is, well, bad! It is important for children to learn from a very young age, what appropriate, acceptable behavior is and what it is not. Adults have a responsibility to children to teach appropriate behavior wiThfirm, consistent limit settings and positive role modeling. Recognizing and understanding that certain behaviors are just not acceptable, no matter what, is the first step in breaking the cycle of bullying. Learning this first lesson addresses the behavior of bullies and empowers victims to stand up for themselves. Making excuses for behavior, rushing in and rescuing children from conflict, or encouraging children to ignore transgressions confuses what children intuitively know—that bad behavior is wrong.
Let three and four year old children rewrite the ending and the diff ering responses to conflict can already be seen. Retreating, seeking retribution, befriending their tormenter are all strategies that young children experiment within their real life conflicts. The three little pigs were smart. They tried standing up to the wolf on their own, but individually they were no match for his tactics. The pigs found strengThin each other, especially with their older brother who knew something about wolves and thought ahead to build a strong house that kept the wolf out. All children need a friend, a trusted adult, a safe haven for protection when faced with bullying behavior. An important lesson for children is that there are resources within their reach to keep them safe from “bad” behavior. Children need to feel safe. And the more control they have over the process of conflict resolution, the safer they will feel. Children who view themselves as powerful individuals, who have control over things that happen in their lives, are less likely to find themselves as victims of bullying behavior.
Teach your children what the three little pigs learned from their mother. Give them the words they need to stand up for themselves. Encourage them to get out of harm’s way. Help them build supportive friendships. Teach them who to go to for help. Then your children, too, will be well equipped to make their own way in the world.
Leigh Ann Yuen is a teacher in the Little Room at Garden Gate Child Development Center. She credits her insight into the story of the Three Little Pigs to the perceptive two and three year olds in her class, and to their amazing ability to be empathetic, creative problem solvers.
Previous Family Matters Issues: September 2010
October Activity Schedule
- 10/1 Vineyard Smiles at the Edgartown School
Rainbow Place annual Little Caesar’s Pizza fundraiser order all month, delivery in November, call: 508 627-8607
- 10/5 Dads Playgroup every Tuesday all year 5:30 -7:00 p.m. – Family Center
- 10/6 SuperFun (12-32 month olds) 9:00-10:15 a.m. for four weeks Family Center–Pre-registration required
SuperFun (33-60 month olds) 10:45-12:00 p.m. for four weeks Family Center–Pre-registration required
Preschool Vision Screening–Contact Marney 508 693-7900 x283
- 10/7 Kids in the Park every Thursday
October 7 10:00-12:00 p.m.–Oak Bluffs
October 14 10:00-12:00 p.m.–Edgartown
October 21 10:00-12:00 p.m.–Oak Bluffs
October 28 10:00-12:00 p.m.–Edgartown
- 10/8 Coffee & Conversation 9:30-11:00 a.m. for eight weeks Family Center–Pre-registration required
- 10/9 All Families Touched by Adoption Playgroup 9:30–11:30 a.m.–Family Center
- 10/11 Holiday–most programs closed
- 10/12, 13 & 14 Vineyard Smiles at the Oak Bluffs School
- 10/14 Waiting Parents group 7:00-8:30 p.m.–Family Center Contact Marney 508 693-7900 x283
- 10/15 Cultural Carnival at the MVRHS – contact ACE
- 10/18, 19 Vineyard Smiles at the West Tisbury School
- 10/21 ASD Parent Group 7-8:30 p.m.–Family Center Contact Marney 508 693-7900 x283
- 10/25 Preschool Vision Screening–Contact Marney 508 693-7900 x283
Fundamentals of Reading & Writing with Ursula Ferro 6-7:30 p.m. Baptist Church Parish House - Pre-registration requested 508 693-7900 x283
What Every Immigrant Needs to Know 6:00–7:30 p.m.—MVRHS Cafeteria
- 10/25, 26 Vineyard Smiles at the Edgartown School
- 10/28 Family Potluck Supper & Pumpkin Decorating 5:30-7:00 p.m.–Family Center
- 10/30 Bullying: Strategies for Prevention & Intervention with Jeanine Fitzgerald, 8:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.–Grace Church pre-registration requested 508 693-7900 x283
- Ongoing activities at the Family Center
Open Playgroup every Monday & Tuesday 10-11:30 a.m.
Baby’s First Year every Monday 3-4:30 p.m. & Thursday 10:30–12 p.m.