Thursday, November 3, 2011

Parenting: I Need Some Advice!!!

I was never one of the popular kids at school and I never had a really close friend (that was my age) or a group that I belonged to. I was known for a lot of things but nothing special and mostly they were things that embarrassed me like my second hand clothes, my frizzy hair or my mom. When I started to become close to someone or found an accepting group that I actually fit into, I moved away. When I lived with my mother and was old enough to have friends come over, I either didn't want them in my home because I was embarrassed of the conditions or their parents wouldn't let them come over because of where, how or who I lived with. Adolescence was not fun journey for me and I think that in general its tough to some extent, for everyone.

I have had many of conversations with Jasmine about her personal friendships as well as the ones that she witnesses at her school. She started Jr. High this year and as most of you can remember, Jr. High is a whole new board game and its not as fun as Candy Land.

I have noticed that the cattiness between Jasmine's group of girls started at a younger age than I remember but then again it was a long time ago. I am not only hearing about the drama but seeing it as well it. J's complications have really hit home with me and I kind of feel lost when it comes to knowing what to do.

I realize that there are two sides to every situation and that I am only getting one side, my daughters but I believe what she is saying, especially the feelings that she is expressing. It's hard to watch your children go through some of the crap that they do. I want to help. I would like to take it all away but I think that its my job to keep loving her, supporting her and letting her work through things at school on her own. Is that right?

Have you seen the movie or read the book The Help? I went to see it with my mother in-law. It was really good. There is a beautiful relationship between one of the house maids/nanny's and the child that she takes care of. Throughout the movie the nanny repeats how special the child is and then has the little girl repeat her. When I saw that, I thought that I needed to tell my own daughters how important they are.  Now, especially when it comes to peer pressure and bulling I tell my girls that they are worthy of true friendships. That they both deserve friends who don't boss them around, expect them to act in a way that is not true to themselves, who don't talk behind their backs, who are not "friends" one moment and then their enemies the next. Am I leaving things out?

So what else can I do?

I told Jasmine tonight that it helps to pray, to ask God to work in these other kids hearts and to continue to work in her own heart so that she can be strong and confident. I believe in the power of prayer but what else can I do to help my girls feel stronger even though they feel as if they are being beaten down? There is a fine line in this for me and I am afraid of crossing it. I want to encourage my daughters, build them up and give them the tools that they need to get through this happily but then there is a part of me that would seriously like to give a couple of these kids a piece of my mind and I don't want that part of me to come out and give the wrong message to my girls.

I have been thinking about all of this a lot lately and last night I came to the conclusion that my daughters are not the underdogs in this situations, although they may feel like it at times. They do want to be part of the "popular" crowd but so far they are not willing to turn nasty to get there and I am proud of them for making that choice. From where I stand they are better people in comparison because they are not taking down others to get a moment of self assurance. I only pray that they continue to have the strength to do whats right, no matter how hard they are pushed.

I wish that I could just tell my girls that most of those bitchy mean girls wont amount to much because they will only get so far with being popular and "pretty". I wish that I could make them realize life is so much different than school and mean girls don't seem to make it very far in reality, but that's not really Christian of me and certainly not a conversation to have with a child.

Parenting can be so confusing. Especially, when you need some good solid advice from people who have "been there and done that", and don't have those kinds of people to access easily.

So, to all of you older parents out there, ones with adult children, I would love some advice on the school and friendships. Parents who have older children who can now see what worked and what didn't... please... help me! 

1 comment:

Our Family said...

i'm going to speak from my experience...i was never popular. i always wanted to be and i even remember people talking about other people back then even in (catholic!) grade school. i tried my hardest to fit in but it never happened. not until college when i was really able to meet people and pick my friends. it was tough before that though. i hated myself. i thought i was fat and ugly...but my mom only told me i was beautiful. she was very consistent with that...telling me that i was something special and that i deserved more. she really put a confidence in me that i don't think i would have had without her. i know my mom saved me from some pretty crappy relationships because her words echoed in my head "you deserve better." so, keep telling your daughter that she deserves more, that there are better things to look forward to, that she is beautiful and they are the idiots for not seeing it. she will grow up with your words in her head, repeating and repeating, and she will be fine!