INSIDE: How to still be a kind and decent parent when other kids are being mean to your own kid. Tips to handle kid friendship dramas with kindness.
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Our 10 year old daughter likes to talk. If you give her the space, she’ll talk to you about everything. She’ll tell you about the interpersonal dramas of group projects in the 5th grade. Share the gossip of playground friendships. And awe us with the jaw-dropping comments kids say to each other.
It was during one such chats that she revealed that a friend keeps threatening to “dump her”. Often followed with the playground taunt of “JK”! Threatening to end a friendship that stems back many years is not really something anyone should be “just kidding” about.
Now, having been dumped myself by my BFF in the 8th grade, I can still remember that crushing feeling and the subsequent teary phone call home I made that day. While the details may have gotten fuzzy some 30 years later, the memory of standing on the playground field while my friend “dumped me” still lives.
Being a Kind Parent When Kids Are Being Mean To Your Kid
As I sat across from this smaller version of myself, I had a choice. I could get all crazy mama bear or I could help my daughter approach the situation with kindness and decency by being kind and decent about it myself.
I let her tell her story, with all its dramatic big and small parts. And I did my best not to interject with all my wonderful mom wisdom. 😉 Once she fully got her story out, we talked about all the why’s. Why does she think her friend is acting this way? Is this occurring with other girls or just her? And a biggie but has my daughter said or done anything towards her friend that was contributing to their friendship troubles?
Share A Similar Story
I told her all about my 8th grade experience. When my BFF dropped me as a friend and how devastated I was. How I burst into tears right there on the playground and that my mom had to pick me up from school. How heartbreaking it is when a friendship ends. I told her I understand exactly how she is feeling.
Reframe It and Find The Positive
When my daughter was sharing her story, she kept emphatically saying she was “being dumped”. Dump, dump, dump! Ugh, what a crappy word and a totally worse feeling. So instead of dumping, I told her to think of her friend as “releasing her” from the friendship. I told her to envision her friend as the cocoon who is releasing her to become a beautiful butterfly. A butterfly who is setting off to make some new friends. (I know, I know. #whatwedoasmoms 🙄)
How To Deal with Friendship Dramas with Kindness
We talked about other girls she could get to know. We thought up ways she could approach other girls as she works to expand her circle of friendships. As she prepares to go to middle school next year, this was a great segue into the importance of not just having one BFF.
Don’t Trash The Friend
A piece of advice my mom once gave me was never to trash talk my husband to others. Eventually, you and your spouse will make up but others may never forget what you said about him. And the same advice can apply to 5th graders too! It’s the absolutely worst when your kid has hurt feelings. However, try not to speak negatively about the friend with your child. In time, the friends may find a way back to each other or the friendship may have a natural ending. The trust your kiddo has to share with you what’s occurring in their small world is more important then a few good cheap shots …as warranted as they may be.
Our kids will have lots of friends throughout their lives. And whenever people are involved, there is bound to be drama! Whether you are 10 or on the verge of 42, any friendship will have its ups and downs, high points and low points.
All we can do is give our kids the tips and tools to navigate these wild and rocky friendship seas with kindness and decency …and then remember to take our own friendship advice!
Friendly Note: I am not a psychologist or child expert. I’m just a mom trying her best to figure this parenting thing out. If your child is being bullied or threatened with violence of any kind, please report that and consult child experts.
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