Now before you start thinking this post is about how nice my girls are...it’s not. Although I will say I think they’re getting better at being nicer more often.
I feel like my girls have both grown up so much this school year. I’ve noticed changes in both of them, and it takes my breathe away sometimes. It really wasn’t that long ago when their after-school festivities involved dressing up like a super hero (or a three musketeer princess), rearranging furniture to build forts, and sneaking snacks! These days they're more in to just plopping down on a stool next to the counter to tell me every detail of their entire day! I appreciate that they’ll do that though. The social aspect of school is an education in and of itself. The playground is tougher than it use to be! I know mean-girl behavior has existed forever, but it’s really interesting to see some of these tendencies seep into the early elementary years.
I try to be careful about being that terrified parent who classifies everything as bullying though. Some of it’s perceived, some of it’s provoked, but some of it’s real, and I guess that’s where we as parents have to make judgement calls - being attune to our child’s self-esteem and the social interactions that are affecting them - for better or for worse. I can’t help but wonder what’s causing it though. Girls wanting to be older than they are? The excessive types of media made available to kids at such young ages? Mean moms? Who knows! If anything, it’s started some healthy after-school conversations like - Are you saying hurtful things? Are you telling secrets about other girls? Are you upset when someone does a good job? What do you think it means to be a good friend? Are you concerned with what other girls look like or are you nice no matter what they look like and how they dress? What’s the difference between being funny and making fun of someone? Do you start “clubs” that exclude others? Do you "wanna be” like someone else or do you “wanna be” YOU? (The more I think about it, I need to ask myself these questions more often, too!)
It’s not easy helping girls to work through relationships, and I suspect it’s something I’ll be dealing with for a very long time, but through it all, I’m so very fortunate to have this experience - raising two beautiful daughters who are maturing the best they know how. I’ll love them forever, I’ll like them for always - they can count on that. Sad, but true - being nice doesn’t come naturally to most people.
But one thing’s for sure, we’ll continue to have plenty of opportunities to work on it here at home with each other.
AnnMarie, 3rd grade
Carlie, 1st grade