What do you do when your child is in tears because friends were unkind to her? As moms, we never want to see someone break our children’s spirits. We do everything we can to protect them, but what about the times we can’t?
From Laughter to Tears
My sweet 9-year-old daughter was in tears the other night after enjoying an evening at the park during her brother’s baseball game. You might be thinking, “if it was fun, why was she crying?” She had an amazing time and met a girl around her age who she instantly hit it off with. They played together the whole time and when we left, she talked about how she made a new “best friend”. I wish I could make friends that easily!
In the car, my daughter started talking more about this girl she played with and told me what school she went to. She proceeded to ask if she could change schools, so that she could see her every day. This spiraled into, “I want to go to a new school so I can meet new people and make new friends”. This isn’t too much of a surprise since she’s my girl who loves adventure, change, and all things new! After a lot of discussion on why we chose the school we did, what it would look like at a different school, how new friends would no longer be “new” after a while, and more… I got down to the heart of the issue. She was struggling with her friends in her class. Again.
The Truth About Her “Friends”
I don’t know what it is about 4th grade… but these girls who she has been with since kindergarten have started excluding her. She told me when she tries to join them in talking or playing, they tell her to “go away”. These are girls she’s been having birthday parties, playdates, and sleepovers with for the last five years. I hate hearing that they’re crushing her spirit and making her feel unwanted. My first reaction is an overwhelming mix of sadness and anger. The “mama bear” in me wants to take matters into my own hands and talk some sense into those girls. If only they knew what they were missing by leaving her out. If only they knew how hurtful their words were.
I understand as far as harsh words go, it could be a lot worse than “go away” and it probably isn’t the last time she’ll be spoken to unkindly. It doesn’t lessen the hurt of feeling like your friends don’t want you around.
A Helpless Longing to “Fix” it
As a mom, this situation makes me feel helpless. I told my daughter, “I’m so sorry they’re not being kind to you.” I assured her it was their loss and encouraged her to try to find other friends to play with who will value her. It’s hard at a small school when multiple groups are giving her the same message. It blows my mind and hurts my heart that my joyful, thoughtful, creative, funny, and social little girl is feeling isolated. I don’t know why it’s happening, and I don’t know what to do.
Even as grown women, many of us girls have an insecurity of not being liked by others. We often doubt in our minds if the women we hang out with actually want us around or not. I can’t imagine someone telling me to my face to “go away” and how that would make me feel.
What I Can Do
I wish so badly I could just step into her body for a day, to see what’s going on and to handle the situation. I wish I could make her see herself the way that I do. If only I could give her unwavering confidence in who she is and what she’s worth. Unfortunately, I can only do so much.
- I will continue to remind her of Biblical truths about who God is and who she is.
- I’m in communication with her teacher about what’s going on so she can monitor the situation.
- I will always be there to listen, support, and encourage her.
- I’m going to continually pray and seek wisdom. The hardest thing I can do is admit that I don’t have control over the situation, but I trust the One who does.
I wish I could see into the future to know which path is best for her in the long run. In the meantime, I pray that God will put one or two solid, kind, and trustworthy friends in my daughter’s life. I desire that she will see that her true worth is in Him alone and not what others say or think. I ask Him to grant me wisdom in my responses and make it clear to me if we need to make changes, in schooling choices or otherwise.
Image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay
Dear Moms of Daughters:
Please talk to your girls about what goes on in the classroom and on the playground.
Encourage your daughters to be kind, use their words wisely, and stand up when someone is being treated unfairly.
I understand as they hit their preteen age, there’s a lot of emotions, hormones, and peer pressure that plays into every interaction.
Nobody’s perfect and everyone has bad days, but there’s never a good reason to be mean.
Moms Who Have Experienced Similar Situations with Your Daughters:
What did you do?
Did you find anything to be helpful or hurtful?
How did you support your daughter without overstepping?
Were there any tools you gave her to help her navigate things herself?
I need all the advice and prayer I can get!