Middle school reeks havoc with friendships. Kids in 6th grade come into middle school with their best friends from elementary school. But in the melting pot of new kids from the other schools in town, new kids who have moved into town and kids who have moved from private school to public school, the old friend relationships often takes a hit. Maybe a new kid sees in opening in a group, forms an alliance with a "new friend" and courts that group for membership. She may see someone in that group as a barrier to membership and seeks to oust that kid to make space for herself. There is nothing more important in middle school than having "your group."
One of the moms in this group told me of an incident where all her daughter's best friends and one new friend had been invited to a sleepover, but not her. She was devastated, and found out that the "new girl" had lobbied against her inclusion. As we dug a bit deeper, I found out that the new girl had not been invited to an after school outing that the excluded girl had hosted. Are you following me here? So I think that the new girl was doing a little "payback" for not being invited to the after school event. 'If she didn't invite me to her thing than I'll make sure she doesn't get invited to this other thing." Oy, yes it's petty, it's hurtful, and it's normal.
Now the question that came up with these moms, is should they intervene, and make sure that everyone is included? Here is what I think. In elementary school, it is all for one and one for all. Everyone is included as much as possible. But as kids move into adolescence, friendships take on a new dimension. When they were younger, any body would do, as kids get older, they do begin to look more closely at their friends. Do I even like this kid? Do we have anything in common? Maybe one of the friends is ready to move on to more teenagery behavior, and feels like they have outgrown an old friend. Is it the parent's job to keep these friendships, unfortunately no. Your teen does have a right to move on from people. But as a parent it is your job to help them do it with as much kindness and mindfulness as they can. Because as kids grow into teens, they do become more narcissistic, and are looking out mostly for themselves. They do need some help.
In that earlier example, I do think both of the moms might have said to their daughters:" Hey honey, I noticed you didn't invite X. She has always been one of your good friends. What's up with that? I think her feelings will be really hurt. I get that your friends might be changing, but maybe we can figure out a way for you to that without hurting her feelings." Your job as a parent during this difficult time of transitioning friendships is not to make them feel guilty for wanting to move on, but to help them with a strategy that will be the least hurtful. Middle school friendship transitions are probably the hardest it will ever be. These kids are so vulnerable and so much is changing for them simultaneously that as parents we just want to protect them from all this hurt. Hurt is part of life, and teaching them coping and recovery skills can help.
These articles might interest you :
Image Credit Today signals the final week of Kindergarten phasing-in. Praise the vodka gods and No FFS!? To say I'm relieved the phasing in period is over is... Read moreBy Parentalparody
DIARIES, PARENTING, SELF EXPRESSION
If you're new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!Does anyone remember how we started out the 2012/2013 school year this year? Read moreBy Monicasmommusings
If you're new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!You all know I’m a huge proponent of child advocacy in our schools, right? We... Read moreBy Monicasmommusings
Professor Gargoyle Published October 2012 and January 2013, Quirk Books. Hardback. List price, £10.99 Appropriate for ages 7-11. From the cover of Professor... Read moreBy Treasuryislands
BOOKS, CULTURE, PARENTING
Over the past three years, I've had the privilege to review a wide variety of books and curriculum. I'd like to share a list of my reviews geared towards the... Read moreBy Upatdawn
Since my post on baby wearing using my Boba 3G, several people have enquired about my third reason for choosing the Boba which was:"3. Read moreBy Sjay235
DIARIES, PARENTING, SELF EXPRESSION
The Middle East has a loads of unique culture, much like any region in the world. Each country's sights are different, the people have their own traditions, an... Read moreBy Livingthedreamrtw
DESTINATIONS, FOOD & DRINK, TRAVEL
MOST POPULAR FROM FAMILY
- Recliner Lift Chair by Bigdaddycarlos
- Spotting After Period: Causes, Treatment, Remedies And How To Get Rid Of It by Arshi01
- 10 Reasons I didn’t declaw my cat Sokka and you too! by Lucifer Bui
- Personal Photo Gifts From Posterjack: Win a $100 Voucher by Thismomloves