Mama S here. Today I’m going to chat about the struggle of keeping friends. Our little lady is a champ at making friends. Honestly, she can make friends with just about anyone. Keeping them on the other hand, that is a huge struggle.
Last night we were greeted with tears when our little lady came back in from playing with friends. What happened!? When I called out for her to come in she was all smiles. What happened in that 5 minutes? Well, as she tells it, someone threw a rock at her. Not OK. Mama A and I got all mama bear and wanted to stalk over to the neighbor’s house to find out what happened and to give those parents a piece of our mind. Then we settled down a bit and got to thinking. What happened to cause a rock to be thrown?
You see, our little lady struggles with reading social cues. There have been numerous occasions where we have to get her attention to let her know what she is doing/saying is upsetting the people around her. She gets so amped up and excited to be with friends and she doesn’t see that the other kiddos are getting extremely upset. You often hear us calling out to “take a breath”, “are you being your best self”, “take a break”, or we will call her over and quietly tell her that her friends are getting upset. She has ZERO CLUE.
She can’t look at a person and see that they are upset. She is getting a little better with prompts, but she can’t differentiate wanting to play, boredom with her stories, annoyance at her attitude, frustration with the mean “games” she plays, etc. This lends to us having conversations about how sad she is that she can’t keep friends and the rapid cycling through all the kids she interacts with. We have lost count of how many times she has told us that “X kid is so mean because they did….XYZ” with no realization of what she did to them as well.
Now let’s take a minute to call out how jerky kids are now days. There have been multiple times where there are neighbor kids in our yard and we tell them that their behavior isn’t OK. They were being mean. Cases in point, our new neighbors have a daughter about P’s age. We encouraged them to play and I was trying to do something for P. It was a struggle and this little 11 year old kept taunting me about how I wasn’t done yet, how it was taking so long. I looked at her right in the eyes while she was smirking at me and told her, “You are being mean right now. Stop. It is not OK.” Slowly her smile went off her face as I kept eye contact and she was shocked. I don’t think any adults have called her out on that behavior when she was at a friend’s house. She was shocked. The next day she texted asking if P could play. I said no that she was getting ready for bed and she said “whatever” and sent me 2 more texts. I told her that I had told her that P was not available and that she should stop texting me. She replied with “no” and another message after that. That broke our hearts. It was clear that she just wanted attention and had NO idea how to get it appropriately.
Sadly enough, this is the struggle that so many kids have today. With the other kids that P is hanging out with struggling with appropriate behaviors and then P not being able to determine what is OK and what isn’t, this is going to be an uphill battle.
We are at a loss on how to help her other than having her play with her friends in our yard so we can help her when she is getting out of control and being able to see the interaction so that we can help break it down after her friends go. Perhaps that is what we need to do. We shall see.
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