Be Nice, So I Don’t Have To Make You

 

A few  weeks ago the mother of one of Alaina’s preschool friends posted a surprising and heartbreaking Facebook status abut how sad her little girl was that nobody ever wanted to play with her at recess.  She is in a different kindergarten class than Alaina but we immediately asked her if they had the same free time or if they ever crossed paths anymore.  They are outside at different times but do see each other occasionally and we were relieved to hear that they still socialized whenever able.

Our consciences suitably clear we resumed our long held assumption that we were doing a great job raising a sweet, empathetic little human.  I was left wondering, however, what would we have done if she had answered differently?

It’s not the only time recently when I’ve wondered about the appropriate level of intrusion into her blossoming social life.  We have been very fortunate that the weather has cooperated well enough to allow us to continue our Wednesday afternoon tradition of picnics in the park and have found that there are beginning to a few people that we recognize.

One little boy in particular is always very excited to see us. Big for his age, he is also very loud, very physical, and very emotional. His mother has confessed to sometimes feeling overwhelmed and is grateful to have a place to take him for a few hours and to have found somebody willing to be his friend. I like the fact that my daughter is that person.

I also like that she is outgoing and easily makes friends with other children at the park also. There have been a few times lately when we’ve been joined by one of her best friends. Sometimes these other kids are willing to incorporate the little boy into their playing, but other times they aren’t and often it’s hard to blame them. I’m proud of her efforts to try and include him and so far there hasn’t been a situation that has ended with hurt feelings or a sad little boy with nobody to play with, but what if next time there is? I want my daughter to be that person who is always first to welcome the new kid, to stand up for those being picked on, to not worry about what the rest of the crowd thinks.

I want that, but don’t think that she will become that by forcing her to leave her friends and go play with this kid instead.  Is that wrong?

I think that sometimes as parents we take too much credit when our children are nice but can also be quick to make excuses for them when they aren’t.  We need to be good examples, showing them that we treat everybody the same and make an effort to help and comfort those that need it.  We need to talk to them about how our words and deeds can make others feel, both positively and negatively.  Actions encouraged, others discouraged. A “suggestion” made about who to play with.

Other times though, I think maybe it’s best to just sit back and stay out of the way.

 

at-the-park

 

31 thoughts on “Be Nice, So I Don’t Have To Make You”

  1. I hear you on this. I’ve asked my younger boy about similar situations when I hear of a new kid or someone who seems to be alone. If he does go out of his way, I tell him how proud I am of him. If he doesn’t, I’m disappointed, but I don’t completely blame him. It’s hard when you are young to let go of your friends to be the good and helpful kid. It takes time to learn such things. I think the positive reinforcement helps and my wife both do this.

  2. “I think that sometimes as parents we take too much credit when our children are nice but can also be quick to make excuses for them when they aren’t. We need to be good examples, showing them that we treat everybody the same and make an effort to help and comfort those that need it.” Amen! What would the world be like if all parents did that? Sadly, I have met quite a few who don’t.

  3. I totally agree, I want what you want: a kid who is welcoming, toelrant and accepting. In fact in British schools I notice the difference to when I was at school. Huge effort has gone into encouraging kids to be social and develop social skills, something that was completely ignored when I was young. Not, you understand, that I’m suggesting schools alone should take responsibility for this: it is overwhelmingly the parents’ responsibility. Thought provoking post.

  4. I have a dauhgter that is so much lke yours. She would always welcome new friends, always taking care of those who are a bit more shy or don’t have anyone to play with. Teach our kids to treat everybody the same, helping each-other. The world would really be a better place…#brillblogposts

  5. It’s so difficult isn’t it! My little girl has just started school, and for the first time she came home saying one of her friends didn’t want to play with her. If I’m honest I wasn’t sure how best to handle it! Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday

    1. it is hard. Its much easier if there are other kids that you can point to as potential replacements, but what if there isn’t?

  6. really interesting and thought provoking read. when my b was younger, I was the one that picked his “friends” – as in I was mum friends and he jut had to get along with their kids! now he tells me who he wants to play with. he is super sociable at nursery and seems to play with everyone. our Christmas card list is endless this year : ) #KCACOLS

    1. It gets a bit tricky once they get to school. We are fortunate that she still stays friends with the kids of some of the people that we like so far!

  7. I totally totally agree with you in that we need to explain things to them and show them the good example! I do find, however, that with my boys, it’s very much down to their individual personalities as well. I don’t know – you think you treat them all the same, right? Maybe we don’t… or maybe they’re just different individuals.. maybe a mixture of the two! Something to think about. Thanks for sharing #TuesdayTreasures

    1. Its fascinating actually. Sometimes I feel like I treat my kid like a sociology project, but I find it really interesting trying to figure her out

  8. My little girl is very similar she sees everyone as a potential friend which is wonderful. I think you are doing a great job and you are exactly right being a good example is the best way to teach children. You sound like you have one lovely little girl there. #TuesdayTreasures

  9. I love that my son is understanding of other kids and especially those with special needs. It makes me so proud but I also wonder what would I do if he wasnt? Thanks so much for joining up with #TuesdayTreasures.

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