Thursday, January 12, 2012

Girls and Friendships: Kindness Deserves To Win Out

Yesterday as I picked Sj up from school I could tell from the look in her eyes way across the soccer field as she walked to my car, it wasn't a good day. She somewhat angrily bounced her feet through the snow. While I did receive a slight smile and wave the body language clearly told me she wasn't happy.

As easily as her backpack fell from her shoulders, so were the tears from her eyes. She sat across from me in the front seat, while my car was still parked, and just had to let it all out. Her day was awful.

This is year three we've been dealing with girl drama in her class. The one red flag I would wave to any parent contemplating a multi-age classroom is the pitfalls of spending three years together, if there are issues with friendships. It's a tough sea to navigate especially when you have a daughter that carries a large weight on her shoulders when there isn't resolve. She wants to know why she's being treated so unfairly and the majority of the time, she didn't do anything in particular, it's like exclusion on a whim. While the details of what exactly happened aren't really my focus, a piece of me breaks every time there are these spats. I always agree with her that it's not fair.

After having these conversations many times, I looked deep into her blue eyes and just told her how I truly feel. Friendships are difficult, friendships are not guaranteed to be tried and true, friendships are always evolving and changing. I still have to come to terms with the hurt from friendships after decades of experience, there isn't always an answer as to why. She was surprised to learn the hurt doesn't stop even when you are a grown woman.

Whispers and glares can be intimidating and create an environment that is very distracting. To me, giving power to the negativity is the first issue that has to be worked through. Today is day one. The day where I encouraged my daughter to say hello and leave it at that. To look around the room for other girls and boys, that she finds a common bond or interest. To make her school work her top priority. To embrace the kindness she easily gives to others, to embrace how she loves to help others. I don't want her to take on the weight of this negativity until she snaps with unkind words or even actions. I tell her that I believe in her and I adore her personality. She is worthy of kind friends and lasting friendships. She is. Just this one time I want kindness to win out...


  1. good post...i like what you shared with your daughter...

  2. I always want kindness to win. I wish it did more often. Those younger years when you're trying to navigate friendships are so brutal. I can still remember girls being mean to me in elementary/junior high. Cruel for really no reason, really. Terrible stuff. It's good she has a mom like you to talk to. I hope it gets better for her.

  3. Awwwww! Growing up is hard and you certainly learn a lot of difficult lessons (I'm happy to be grown up now!). On a positive note, she is very lucky to have a mom like you who teaches her the right thing to do. In the end, she will win. :)

  4. Oh, this is so hard! Growing up, we were with the same elementary school class from Kindergarten through Sixth Grade (literally, THE SAME PEOPLE, give or take a few that moved in or away). In Junior High, we went as a group to a bigger school, and then that entire group moved to the High School for our four year tour. Until we made it to the Junior High, the people around us were *it*.

    I still have frenemies from those days. Some girls are your best friends and worst enemies, and sometimes when the pool is small, the same people take up both roles.

    My heart hurts for Sj. You give great advice. Hugs to both of you!

  5. Kindness WILL win! I am a firm believer in karma. My daughter (now 19) went through some horrible times in grade school, jr high AND high school from the same group of snots (like JoAnn above, they were always in the same schools). It was really difficult for her and for me trying to help her. Fortunately, she has had the same 2 'besties' since freshman year in high school. I am blessed enough to have several of my own 'besties' that I have had since high school. She has been able to see with her own eyes what true, real, lasting friends are all about. Your girl will get there as well. What goes around, comes around and I believe that kindness comes right back. I'm sorry for rambling, but my girl friends are my oxygen and I can't survive without them. My daughter is lucky enough to have learned that through observing my life long solid relationships with my gal pals. Sj will too.

  6. you are such an awesome mom! And mean girls really do suck.

  7. I really hope that my daughter is never the mean girl....

    I hope Sj realizes what a great girl she is.

  8. When you are navigating the social world as a kid it is hard and confusing. I find as a mom watching my kiddo try to figure it out so much harder. She comes in as an open hearted, fresh hopeful slate and the marks on her from others can be so sweet or so painful. Constant love from home is the best we can offer!

  9. This was beautiful, Denise. Lucky girls to have such a wise mom...


I always appreciate the gesture to stop and take a moment to comment. Thank you!