“I won’t be your friend!” *insert raspberry here*

| June 18, 2013 | 4 Comments

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The playground is a funny place.  A place where we first start to see the division of the masses into leaders, monitors, peacemakers, instigators, negotiators… We start to learn social cues, and we seek out the place we feel most comfortable. Our first friendships, independent of family, are forged.  I do not over exaggerate when I say, it is a jungle out there.

“You’re my best friend” , “I won’t be your friend!”, “I am going to tell!”, “You can’t play with me!” Best friends one day and not speaking the next.  Let the games begin!

Since the term “best friend” has entered our children’s lexicon, I have counselled them to be their own best friend.  Have many good friends, but most importantly enjoy your own company.  You are going to take yourself wherever you go.

My husband and I were not prepared for the call that came from our senior kindergarten teacher concerning a collective behavior of a group of girls, including my dear daughter, who was five at the time. We had to have a sit down and a serious talk. We focused on making good decisions, not following the crowd, and thinking about how others might feel from certain actions, and how we might feel if the situation was reversed.

Since that initial heads-up, we are aware and checking in often with “be kind” messaging, but even more importantly, be respectful.  We do not tell the children they have to be friends with everyone.  It isn’t realistic and fundamentally unfair. We do however insistent that they be respectful to all, and will go blue in the face driving this home.  Here is the kicker; children do what they see and not what we say.

I am a firm believer that when you call someone a friend you accept them for who they are.  You don’t make demands of them, and if you pick wisely it will be a give and take relationship.  I don’t pick my friends lightly, but when I call someone my friend , I am loyal, consistent, and I would walk the line for them every time.

Naturally, I’ve had friendships that have waned over the years due to relocation, new stages in life, or simply growing apart.  It however, came much to my surprise when I recently went through a ‘break-up’ with a close friend.

We had been friends for a long-time and had seen each other through many different milestones, adventures, ups and downs.  That said, my trust was betrayed.  There was a whole lot more to the story and naturally there are two sides to it, but at the end of the day things were not on the up and up.  If I can’t trust you, I simply can’t call you my friend.

Trust is fundamental in both my personal life and in business. I am honest and seek out and expect the same.  It was a difficult decision to end the friendship, but the inability to reconcile the awful feeling in my gut with any course of action other than making a clean cut, made it clear it was my only choice.

As a mother there is simply no wiggle room.  I am a role model, and I take it seriously. And the reality is our children are going to need some serious modeling if they are going to survive that playground jungle, or let’s face it the bigger one called life.

How about you?  Are you navigating the playground jungle? How goes your adventure?

 

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Category: Family, Kids, Relationships

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Comments (4)

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  1. My boys are 11 and 8. I’m sure these issues come up with boys too, but we have been very lucky not to have experienced them. I know with girls, this starts very early.

    Interestingly, the times when I have felt that one of my son’s friends have left him out, or “moved on”, it seems that it is ME that is more hurt than him. I cherish my friends and pride myself on being a good friend. I still have kindergarten friends, and want my boys to have this. My husband often reminds me that this is not the norm. People come and go from our lives…. I have always found this hard to accept.

    Sorry to hear of your “break up” but you are right that without trust, it is not a real friendship.

  2. kathy downey says:

    I really enjoy the read,in any relationship trust is the base

  3. Fan R says:

    Playground is like a mini society model, at least kids are honest in their intentions.

  4. kathy downey says:

    I am always amazed at the things kids say when the play with others and things dont go their way….sometimes i wonder where they get it to at such a young age

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