Have you ever had one of those “momma bear” moments? You child tells you someone has hurt them, or hurt their feelings, and you instantly become consumed with anger, as you want to make it all right for your child. But what do you do when you are a logical thinker, and know that anger solves nothing, and there is no one to direct your emotions at anyway?
My daughter is 9, and in the 4th grade. She is smart, outgoing, and friendly. She marches to the beat of her own drum, there’s no doubt. But she is hurting. Friendships are beginning to change around her, and she is in the awkward phase of life where it seems there are no friends in sight. People who used to play with her don’t anymore. She feels like she does not fit in with anyone, and on more than one occasion, has vocalized to me how she has “no friends.”
She plays with two girls at recess, but now one has moved away. She feels sad, lost, and out of place. She told me that today she sat by some girls at lunch, that used to be friends with her, and they turned their backs to her at the table preventing her to join in their conversation. I asked her what she did then, and she said, “I just laid my head on the table until it was time to leave.” I feel the same way as when she came home last year, and told me her good friend said they cannot be friends anymore because my daughter does not wear Nike or Under Armor clothing…..
I. Am. Heartbroken.
Yet there is no fix from my end to solve any of this. People have the right to be friends with whomever they want. I cannot go to the school and force these girls to play with my daughter, or invite her to sleepovers. I cannot retaliate in any way because this has happened to everyone. People grow…..sometimes together, sometimes apart. It’s life.
I CAN help my daughter to appreciate her worth as a person, and to be confident in herself. I can teach her that changing herself for other people is not staying true to who she is. She will attract the right friends by being herself.
We talked about middle school, and how there will be a whole new group of people to meet then. Though it is still a year and a half away, it is something to look forward to. We talked about cherishing the friendship she does have with the one friend still at school. And we talked about standing tall in situations that are hurtful. Being kind to everyone is still the way to be.
So, for now this “momma bear” is laying low. No venting social media post about how mean girls are. No taking my daughter out of her school, in the hopes that a new school will bring better friends. No going to the school and demanding every one be nice to my child. Just a good talk with my sweet 4th grader about life, and how, even at 38, I find myself in friendships that ebb and flow. In the end, she will be happiest by being her true self, and she will find the right friends in the right time. It’s like the saying goes : “You don’t need a certain number of friends, just a number of friends you can be certain of.”