Welcome to the Workshop

Welcome to the Workshop

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Kind Girls

We have a situation at school. There are only five girls in Poppet's grade (90% of the neighbourhood girls are in French immersion) so she's in a split with the grade 3s. There are only 6 girls in that grade. Not enough girls! Whilst I'm not out to demonize small children suffice it to say that the way a few of them play and interact leaves a lot to be desired. A hell of a lot!
My sensitive child, who only wants to please everyone else and make them happy, gets lost in the quagmire and it can take an enormous amount of analysis and deconstruction to figure out the motives of her playmates. If it weren't for the fact that her teacher has a PhD in Social Justice I would despair altogether. But he's not in the playground and nor am I. For us, school has become all about toughening Poppet up to deal with children who seek to manipulate just for the sake of it. And this is certainly not a Toronto problem, she seems to attract this particular type of nasty. Lucky girl.


image via here

We attempt to see things as a learning opportunity, to find the reasons for said behaviour, to explain it but certainly not justify it. Our new challenge is to find a way to be more assertive. If anyone knows of a shortcut to that, I'd love to hear about it.
Frankly, it's exhausting just writing about it. I can't imagine how she copes with it but she generally does. She still loves school (could be all the 20 out of 20 maths tests she keeps bringing home) and wants to be there. She has never asked me to stay home because she doesn't have any friends etc, though she has complained about the lack of choice for playmates. For sure.
There are, however, some amazing girls in the other classes at her school so I have worked my darndest to engage with their parents, to seek out playdates and to remind Poppet to find those kids at recess.
The results have been twofold. I have made some wonderful friends, it doesn't come as a surprise that awesome children have pretty awesome parents as well. One of the mothers even invited me to her weekly craft morning and the women attending that are very cool indeed. I feel very lucky.
Poppet is in the middle of a sleepover with one of the kind girls from school.
This kid is easy going, happy to play age appropriately, flexible and very polite. We took them for ice cream, got a movie, had some pizza. When I said 'lights out' at 9pm they went to sleep! When they got up at 5.30am (as you do) they didn't disturb us, simply shutting the door and continuing their game. We had some pancakes a while ago, they showed me a dance they'd made up and have disappeared upstairs again.
It is such a blessed relief to see my kid smile so much, for so long, with another kid around. She's not irritated and I don't have to negotiate or interfere. They can just be themselves. And I'm not counting the minutes down until this friend leaves. In fact, she's staying all day.


image via here


Insert huge sigh of relief here. It is wonderful to have a reminder that there are a lot of kind people out there. It is just the best thing on earth that Poppet can see that for herself. She can make her own comparisons between personality types and hopefully make some better choices in future.
Did I mention that this kid is moving into our street in a few weeks? I will do my best not to stalk her...
Happy Sunday everyone.




6 comments:

  1. Oh Jen,I'm glad Poppet has had a great time with her friend.
    I have this fear that Miss A will have the same sort of issues at school. Sometimes she is really sensitive to things and at other times she surprises me. School and growing up are so tough on the littlies, I hope Poppet continues to make awesome kind friends.

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    1. Thanks Maryanne, it seems to be helping. Always good to have a great memory to refer back to whenever things are down.

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  2. I relate to this alot Jen...funny thing is, it doesn't change, and there are always going to be people out there who want to manipulate others, and will try to force their own motivations/wants onto others in any way they can. It's only recently that I've learned that I am allowed to say how I feel (people can choose not to like it!), express what I like/don't like (people don't have to agree!), and how I would like to be treated (even though people don't necessarily respect it). I don't have to justify the decisions I make to anyone but myself, and I have the right to walk away from things that make me unhappy. I think you are amazing for showing Poppet this at an early age, and helping her to understand that it's good to seek out friendships where people treat you well. What an awesome Mumma you are xox

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    1. I am exactly the same Jo! I just want my kid to learn those lessons before she turns 30. It was only when I had my own child that I saw I had been accepting what others dish out for the longest time. My feeling is that if Poppet can learn this one big lesson, it will put her in good stead for the future. We tell her that she will always meet these 'types' throughout her life, and learning to recognise and deal with them would be very helpful.

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  3. Hi Jen, We have also found it necessary to 'cultivate' friendships to make up for the not so kind alternatives. Our littlie thinks she has to be extra nice to, like taking the blame for, her nastier 'friends' to make up for their deficits in friendliness, but it seems to be always at a cost to her. So we also sidestepped the problems and invited play dates with friendly girls with friendly mums. It's worked a treat so...Way to Go!
    Sehryn, Magic Rainbow Handmade Dolls

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    1. Oh yes Sehryn, that's exactly what our daughter does. She is now learning that you can be polite but firm and set limits. Before that she thought you had to use perfect manners with everyone and ended up being walked on. It's a tough lesson to learn. She's trying. Expressing your opinion openly and calmly is pretty hard for most of us.

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