Why my girls challenge became my concern and how I helped her in it.
These days I found myself in a situation with a child that reminded me of the article I wrote last week. I have a very social little girl. She loves to play with others. She’s a very happy and excited girl when there are group activities in school.
After the summer break, she started a new year, a new class. There are a few children that have almost the same way home as she does. One in particularly (let’s call her Anita) is only a few blocks away. A cute, nice little girl. However, Anita started to exclude my girl on the way home, choosing another girl to walk with, telling my girl she couldn’t walk with them. Observing that situation, my girl confessed to me that she was laughing with Anita at school, to be closer to her, and be included on the way home. The problem was that Anita was laughing about other children at school. My girl was imitating her, in order to bond with her, to be part of her “friends” circle. These girls are only about 6-7 years of age… but the pattern is the same as with older schoolgirls. I tried to tell my girl to ignore Anita’s behaviour. I tried to make her accept, that she was amazing, no matter if someone wants to walk with her or not. However, I realized that she was not like her older brother, who is able to deal with such situation in a much more intellectual way. He truly didn’t care. It didn’t change his mood at all if something like this happened. However, my girl – the emotional, sweet and social person she is, really struggled with that situation, finding ways to deal with it that are “normal” for her emotional maturity: To try to imitate, be the same as Anita, in order to avoid these situations she doesn’t know how to deal with – even if this means to make fun of others, something my girl knows very well that we as a family never do.
As I analyzed the situation, I decided to help her. I knew that I had a few options:
- To talk to Anita, telling her that she shouldn’t exclude other children on her way home
- To talk to Anita’s mom, hoping that would change something
- To ignore it and let my girl deal with it – she has to learn it somehow
- To tell my girl every morning that she was amazing, no matter what others think or how others act
- To pick her up from school daily, in order to provide my girl the possibility to walk with us if she wants that.
Well, guess with option I chose. I did the last option. I know that talking to Anita or her mom would not change the pattern in the behaviour. Maybe she would not actively exclude her anymore … but I doubt that this was the most effective way to deal with that matter. Ignoring it? No way. She would only learn to find solutions to avoid pain, and teach herself patterns I don’t want my children to apply (such as making fun of other kids). I knew I could tell my girl every morning that she is amazing, but knowing her emotional maturity with her age of 6 that would not be enough right now. That’s why I picked the last option. And It’s kind of fun to do it. Of course it takes the time I could spend with other things, but it’s definitely worth it. The kids (not only my girl) love to talk to me about their morning when I walk along with them. Sometimes, they run away, my girl included. Sometimes, she prefers to hold my hand and tell me what they all did at school. And whatever she chooses, I’m happy with it. What matters to me, is that that she knows that she doesn’t need to cling to Anita, in order to avoid being left out. I know as a mom that, the time will come, when she gets more mature emotionally, she will be able to deal with such a situation by herself. However, right now, I love to be present and give her that security and belonging of my care, my presence. Here again, this is not a situation to apply with every child. You know your child. You know its maturity, personality – and your personal situation. I can do it, because I have the privilege to stay at home and organize my own schedule. This was only an example of how I came up with my solution, adapting to my girl and to my situation. I am sure you will find your solution, fitting to your child, your situation.