Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Best friends, worst enemies

Oh my God! (or I believe the expression is OMG!). It's all coming flooding back in a horrible rush. The stress, the tears, the disappointment, the elation!

I'm talking about what its like to be a 9 year old girl. Every day I hear from my daughter about the latest argument between her group of friends. Taking sides. Being mean. Not talking....its endless.

When girls are younger in preschool and first grade, they make friends easily. They don't worry about their appearance, or whether their clothes match, or if they are wearing the latest style of sneakers. They become friends because they both like the same color, or sit at the same table or like the same dolls. But by third or fourth grade, girls can start to get clique-y. This is what I am seeing in Emma now.

"I'm not your friend anymore", "she didn't take my side", "she won't talk to me anymore", "she was being mean"...followed by.... "she's my best friend in the whole world".

Its difficult looking on from the sidelines. It's hard to watch your daughter lose friends, get hurt by friends, and even hurt friends herself, and impossible to know what to do when she comes home in tears, then the next minute is best friends again. Apparently its all part of the process of growing up (her, not me!). And parents are advised to separate their own emotions from their daughters' social lives. Don't get involved. Just listen and support her and guide her to do and say the right things, but don't influence who she decides she is going to be friends with. Some advice I read seems sensible so I'll repeat it here:

Parents should help elementary-school girls to do their own thinking and help them brainstorm solutions, even if they are different from the parent solutions. Guiding her to solve it independently (with a little help from you) will help her far more than you rushing to call the other girls' parents. Here are some questions that might help her solve the problem:
"What did you try?"
"How did it work?"
"What else can you try?"

I guess I'll give it a go. I just know its all very complicated and its definetely a part of my life that I'm happy never to have to go through again! See, age does have its benefits :-)

No comments:

Post a Comment