Choosing Her Friends

 

One of the more challenging aspects of adulthood is being able to get along with people that for whatever reason, you just can’t seem to stand. Co-workers, in-laws, friends of teenage children or significant others, some people just make it really hard to like them. Learning how to pretend to is an important part of being a functional member of society and resisting the urge to go live in a tree house somewhere.

My daughter likes everybody. Any trip out of the house is an opportunity to make a new friend, anybody that she has ever randomly come across treated the way that I feel about guys I’ve known for thirty five years.

It’s cute, if sometimes embarrassing and I’ve tried to encourage this outgoing nature. I want her to be nice, want her to continue to be the first one to welcome a new kid in class or offer the seat next to her on the bus. I want her to be the kind of person that the world could use a hell of a lot more of.

 

waving goodbye to a entire bus full of “friends”

 

I also want her to be able to recognize that there are some people that she doesn’t need to be friends with, that not everybody is deserving of her time and effort. That is a lesson that I’m having a harder time teaching, one that I’m not totally sure that I should be. Is it OK to dislike a six year old, one that I’ve never actually even met? Asking for a friend…

There is a girl that Alaina talks about quite a bit, a “best friend” although she uses that term often and loosely. It’s difficult to judge based on second hand tales from a first grader, but she sounds bossy, rude, and manipulative. They often make things for each other, little craft bracelets and such, and almost every time this little girl is critical, proclaiming hers to be better and sometimes immediately throwing away whatever was given to her. She coerces my daughter into behaviors that she wouldn’t otherwise have, using emotional blackmail and threatening to rescind her friendship whenever she doesn’t get her way. She sounds a lot like too many grown ups that I know.

One of the very first posts that I published here was about the guys that I grew up with, about the importance that they still have to me and about how they had helped mold me into the person that I’ve become. I wrote about the teenager and how aware I was of the influence that others now held in her life and about some of the little girls that Alaina was meeting in pre-school.

Some of those girls she is still friends with, with parents that we now consider friends. Every effort will be made to continue those friendships, to do what I can to surround her with positive influences and good people.

I’m increasingly reminded that there will come a time when this will be out of my hands, her friends no longer mine to dictate.

I have no idea what this little girl is really like, what her circumstances may be or if it’s fair to hope that they aren’t in the same class next year. It’s certainly just as possible that my kid is the bad influence, that somewhere in town tonight there is another set of parents listening to their child blame mine for a note sent home or an e-mail from their teacher.

I know that I’m trying my best to raise the kind of kid that most parents would want their children to be friends with and also know that at some point who she’s hanging around with will determine that just as much as anything that I’m doing.

I also want to raise the kind of kid who is able to recognize those that she doesn’t need to be friends with. One who realizes that you don’t need to like everybody and even more importantly realizes that you don’t need everybody to like you.

Sometimes you just need to be able to fake it.

 

choosing her friends
one of the “good ones”

 

 

 

25 thoughts on “Choosing Her Friends”

  1. I see some similarity here with a child my son is friends with. Jack would report that he “lies a lot” and does the same, “I’m not your friend if” thing that you’re seeing. We do a lot of talking about what kinds of things we like in friends and what we don’t. And that we can like people, but not like their behaviors and how to set boundaries. For example, we talked about honesty and why that matters. I thought it was interesting and encouraging that my son decided not to invite this friend to his birthday party and told this friend why, “Stop lying to me, and I’ll invite you.” It hasn’t hurt their friendship, but Jack is seeing the fun in the person, but trying to figure out what makes a good friend.
    It’s not an easy thing, and will take a lot of time and attention from both of us. Friendships are SO important. I love how your daughter sees everyone as a friend.

    1. It’s hard to know what to say and how much involvement we should have. I think its great that your son was able to deal with the situation on his own in a mature manner.

  2. I grew up with this type of “friend.” As we got older, we hung out less and less. At a recent high school reunion, we again picked up the friendship because I thought she might have changed. She didn’t. We still don’t really hang out.

  3. It’s a hard one to call. You can see they’re not a good friend, but how do you handle it? Do you push it and risk forcing them together more? Do you try and use it as a way of discussing what is and isn’t a good friend and hope they take the hint?

    1. so far its been the latter. They are only six, so its probably a silly thing to worry about, but I want her to be able to identify toxic people down the road

  4. Some life skills and life lessons are only learnt by experience aren’t they? The irony! I was quite relieved when one little girl wasn’t in our daughter’s class this year… #kcacols

  5. This is one of the hardest aspects of parenting, where you want to intervene and encourage kids in a particular direction and away from bad influences but equally wanting them to find their own way. It’s definitely not easy! Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next time

  6. Your daughter sounds like my son – he will talk to anyone and polices soft play for those “not being kind”. I did Stay and Play as his preschool and there was a student who I took and instant dislike to which i felt bad about considering he was only 3/4 year old. Later that day, during bath time, I asked my son if he was friends with this student. He looked at me seriously and shook his head then said “He’s not very kind Mummy”. I was relieved that my son had the same judgement as me. I hope it continues. #KCACOLS

  7. Your daughter sounds great! I understand about dilemmas too, I seem to be faced with so many more of them the older my two boys get. Every concern they have I seem to take to heart and when I hear of fall outs or normal school ground stuff I think I need to take a step back but I do find it hard.
    Mainy
    #KCACOLS

  8. My nephew was the same at that age, everyone was a friend until one kid started bullying him and I think that changed his attitude to people quite a bit. #kcacols

  9. It sounds like your daughter has a lovely attitude. It is so hard, as we only want the best for our kids and it is hard to see that someone may take advantage of that.
    #KCACOLS

  10. I actually had to have this conversation with my youngest last year. He’s right at that age now where he is picking and choosing his friends. Up until last year, there wasn’t really a child I didn’t like. Now that they are tweens though, both he and I are seeing certain things in some kids that are less desirable.
    But last year was a hard one because not only did I know the kid but I knew the parents and when this kid started stealing from my son it was hard to fathom because right away I went to the question, what are the parents teaching the boy. It was an eye opener though because while I know the parents aren’t teaching that at home, there were some other behaviors the boy was portraying that made me question a lot of things.
    The best thing I did though was just listen to Conner when he came home and complained. At first, I always told him to try to talk it out with the kid. They were best friends for two years prior to this and I value a good friendship but I also told him that in the end, it’s his decision.
    We both tried to go at it from an understanding perspective and it was a hard decision for my son to make. When his friend stole from him though that was his last straw. It really hurt him that his friend did that. Such a betrayal of trust.
    This type of conversation will get easier as she gets older. My son was the same way when he was young and he still is, to a point. He always greets everyone with kindness but he has gotten more particular in choosing his friends. #DreamTeam

    1. I think I remember when Conner was going through this. Its a hard lesson for them to have to learn, I was hoping to have a few more years before having to deal with it

  11. Your daughter sounds so amazing! But it does get sad when you get at that age and finally realise that not everyone is worthy of your friendship or is as nice as you are. Thanks for linking up with #DreamTeam

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