So, just a second ago I asked my daughter Aliera(3) and her friend Brianna(5) if they wanted some licorice. Ali loves licorice and I saw her eyes light up but Brianna said 'No'. A brief look of apprehension flashed across Ali's face and even though I KNEW she wanted some licorice--I could see it on her face--she said 'No' as well.
This is the first time I have seen her succomb to indirect peer pressure and forgo something she wanted in favor of fitting in with her friends.
Knowing that being bilingual creates some challenges for kids her age I asked Brianna again "Do you want some candy" (Jessica, Melissa, Michelle and the rest of you shut up ! ! ) and she immediately changed her mind.
After a moment of reflection I called Ali over and explained that if she has different feelings or needs than those of her friends she is still free to voice them. No one is going to like her any more or less because she wants licorice and sometimes people may not understand what being offered and that she should decide for herself.
Damn. The "Dad/Kid challenges" come at the weirdest times. I hope I am there at enough of the right times to recognize them and make a difference.