A couple of months ago I wrote a post: But Mommy, What If Nobody Likes Me. That post was in response to the beginning of what I have come to call the Kindergarten what-if’s. Deep down, I know she will find her place in the crowd, and make wonderful friends. I also know, she will make some fair-weather friends. I am well aware that much of what I say below is way over her head at the moment, hopefully one day it will be useful, and maybe shed some light, and soothe some hurt feelings. At the moment however, these words are simply wasted advice to my daughter, and I am incredibly grateful to you for reading. Here is what I want my daughter to know about friends
Dear Lil’ Bit,
As you begin your formal schooling, there are some things I would like you to know about making and having friends. You likely won’t read this for many years from now, and might be rolling your eyes at my efforts. Regardless, I am your mother, and my job is to help you grow; helping you learn about others, how to deal with tough situations, and how to treat friends is part of my job description. So here goes…
“Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography, and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.” Mary Schmich Advice, Like Youth Probably Wasted on the Young http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/chi-schmich-sunscreen-column-column.html
There is a popular saying from a poem on how relationships are one of three things: a reason, a season, or a lifetime; since a friendship is a relationship it is important to remember that friends will come and go, and sometimes we have to let friends go.
You do not win a prize for having lots of friends. Quality over quantity, a few really good friends outweighs having many so-so friendships.
It is important to have friendships where you can be yourself, if you have to change who you are to have a friendship, you are not actually friends
Beware of friends who talk behind other friends backs, it usually means they are talking behind your back too.
If a friend wants you to do something you know is wrong, they are not a friend, stay away from these types of people.
Friendships go both ways, as in any relationship you must both add something to the friendship.
Watch out for toxic friendships, and know these friendships may be well disguised.
You will have friends who are boys, that does not necessarily mean they are boyfriends. You are also not their mother or caretaker, don’t try to be.
Being the wacky one of a friend group is not a bad thing; if you are not the wacky one, don’t make the one who is feel uncomfortable.
You don’t have to dress like your friends. You also don’t have to dress to impress your friends.
Your first instinct about people is usually right on – go with your gut.
Don’t expect me to allow you the same privledges your friends parents may allow them. Just because they wear makeup, have pierced ears, or a later curfew doesn’t mean you will. This may seem unfair at the time, but it is my job to parent you, and make the best decisions based on the person you are, and the values of our famliy.
Ending a friendship that is toxic is not a bad thing, it has to be done, and you WILL make other friends. It’s not always easy, but know during the hard times I will always be there for you, and I always have time to listen.
Friends will make other friends, and have plans with other friends that may not include you; if you see that you are left out every once and awhile don’t get upset, if you find you are left out on a regular basis, it’s time to make new friends.
A friend doesn’t desert you. You will have many highs, and lows, good times , and bad; your friends will stand beside you celebrate your victories, offer encouragement, or a shoulder to cry on when you need it. Make sure you do the same.
Jealousy is a wasted emotion, and will get in the way of meaningful friendships.
Always remember, everyone is fighting a battle; you may not realize what a friend is going through; be kind, and patient.
I am your parent, not your friend, but I can be a friend any time you need me; we can paint our nails, see a movie, or have ice cream anytime you want.
Encouragement between friends is awesome, flat out competition is not – unless you are racing, or playing on opposite teams.
If you find yourself in a close knit group of friends, it is not ok to oust a member of the group unless they fall into the toxic friend category. When you find yourself in this situation, be kind to the person, do not say hateful things, and do not spread rumors.
You may find that you have a best friend, be careful that your best friend does not become your only friend; we all need a little breathing room from time to time.
So sweet girl, as you embark in this new chapter of your life, make friends, and be a friend. Your friends will help you grow, discover who you are, and realize what you value. Your family will too. Even though I have to be your parent over your friend now, I hope that one day, I will have a coveted spot and you can not only call me mom, but also your friend.
Love Always, and Super Big Hugs.