GHL: To staff: These aren’t normal kids.

A problem I’ve run into a number of times with people, including managers and directors, is not understanding that we’re not dealing with normal kids, and that normal kid things might not be a good idea with these kids.  Examples:

Playing tag isn’t a fun, safe game.  Tag is chasing, followed by punching.

Sand boxes, water tables, bubble wands turn into sand fights, water fights and billy clubs.

It’s not that the kids are horribly abnormal, or anything like that.  It’s just that they’ve had different enough experiences that they need to be in an environment that provides them with more support than the average kid.  That’s why they’re with us.  And we have contractual obligations to keep them safe that go beyond what you and I were raised with.  So even though Mom could put the fear of God in you with a vicious thimble thwap to the ear, you can’t do that to these kids.  Yelling at them isn’t going to produce a shock-and-awe response — they’ve been yelled at and experienced punishment beyond anything you could do to them without going to jail and getting fired.  I know what your mom would have done to you if you had done or said what these kids do and say to you and each other.  That doesn’t matter.

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