Friday, June 18, 2010

Advising Others Children - by Robin

Last week my son had a play date with his "girlfriend" Seraina.  They have known each other since kindergarten, and while they're not in the same first grade class, they attend the same school and sometimes play together during recess....or at least want to.

She came to our was a drop-off play date. Whenever they get together, they always play family, complete with baby dolls, stuffed animal pets, etc.  This time, they were a "fire" family, since Seth is obsessed with anything fire-related, and Seraina is game to play along.  Sometimes I think she's a female version of him.  They are very sweet together.

I made them mac 'n cheese for lunch.  They they had ice cream and were laughing and playing famously as they always do.

Suddenly things took a more serious turn.  They marched into my office, where (mostly) Seraina began an emotional discussion and asked "is it ok to lie?" 

I was speechless for the moment, and asked why she posed that question.

She explained that some kids are school are making fun of her and Seth because they are boyfriend and girlfriend.  They sing songs like "Seraina and Seth sitting in a tree....k-i-s-s-i-n-g...." (not that they are kissing).  Seth is actually pretty shy, though affectionate.

They have asked her if Seth is her boyfriend, and she doesn't want to say yes because they'll taunt her more, and if she ignores them, they won't want to be her friend.  So, can she say no (which isn't true), she asked?

I'm not a big fan of fibbing, so I suggested she tell them that she and Seth are good friends.

She didn't like that idea.

I told her she should try not to let it bother her because when the others grow up, they'll want to have a boyfriend or girlfriend too.

That didn't fly.

I came up with some other suggestions as well, but nothing resonated with her.

She was also concerned about the kids telling her teacher about their "love."  I asked why  that would matter?  Would the teacher really care? 

Seth chimed in that some of the kids in his class want to play with him during recess, but he and Seraina want to play together upon occasion since they don't get to see each other that much.  The other kids don't like it when they feel left out.  Seth realized that he can't make everyone happy all the time....a big life lesson for sure.  You make choices that may ruffle another's feathers, even though that's not your intention.

Seraina asked if I would speak with her mom about the situation and possibly the moms of the kids who are bothering them.  I told her I would talk to her mom when she came to pick her up. I felt her pain. While I've always considered Seth a sensitive and caring child, at this moment, I could see that girls and boys have such a different take on things...even at age was so evident. 

I brought it up to her mom who listened thoughtfully and mostly dismissed it by saying that Seraina tends to be dramatic and emotoinal.  She knows her daughter.  I said I understood, but had endeavored to make her feel better or at least try to come up with an acceptable response she might deliver comfortably to the other kids.

Her mom said she'd speak with her and thanked me for broaching the subject.

But, it left me thinking in it ok to offer advice to other kids?  Perhaps they're being raised with a different mindset or perspective about the world? If I interject my two cents worth, would my thinking mesh with that of her own mom?  Am I better off not offering an opinion and simply say next time, that's a discussion you should have directly with your mom?

Hmmmmm.....thoughts?  Advice?  Has this happened to you?

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Blogger Laura Houston said...

I think you handled it perfectly. I believe in the concept that it takes an entire village to raise a child. She wanted someone else's perspective, which is healthy and good. And you did the right thing by discussing it with the mother afterward. Clearly she was distressed, and you did the right thing by working with her to offer her solutions and comfort. it also sounds like she had some things to teach as well. Nice work. Mom.

5:49 AM  
Blogger Robin Gorman Newman said...

Thanks Laura. Appreciate it. In the "heat" of the moment when unexpected things like this arise, we moms try our best...but then I realized that everyone parents differently so my take on things might not support her upbringing...but I tried mostly to listen and let her know she was truly being heard.

7:53 AM  

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