School friendships can be tough and, as parents, helping our children ride this rollercoaster is more helpful than trying to ‘fix it’ for them. Here’s why.
I write this at the beginning of September which always feels to me like a ‘new year’. After the mayhem of summer term, then the slow down of the August holidays, I suppose a lot of it has to do with children starting back at school, new terms and new classes, covering books (my talent with sticky backed plastic has not improved) and trying new things.
Not everything can be new and perfect though.
I was having a conversation with a mum last week and she was telling me how her daughter was struggling with friendships. She had just spent a couple of hours with her sobbing in her arms, and it was breaking her heart not being able to ‘fix’ the situation for her.
This mum, although struggling because her daughter was, showed amazing insight.
She wanted to make ‘everything okay’ for her daughter (which she recognised she couldn’t) but she knew from her own friendship experiences growing up, that she couldn’t, that this was a journey her daughter would go on.
I told this mum how amazing she was for being able to see this, as (and I totally get this) it is so tempting as a parent to wade in and ‘deal’ with the problem.
This thing is, if we look after our children to the best of our ability, sometimes that means allowing them to experience the tough stuff, the stuff which makes them feel like crying their eyes out and feels like the end of the world.
It breaks our heart to watch this.
If we go on that journey with them, especially with the ups and downs of friendships, being there, without passing judgement but looking after them and showing that we can understand and not fix, our children will work it out.
They will develop their own perspective on the friendships, they will learn what they value in a person and these shifting sands will be flowed with rather than against.
In the short term it feels immensely painful to not get involved and make it okay for our precious children. We love them and we want to best for them. But the best for them is often stepping back and observing the bigger picture, just like this mum did.
And I told her what an amazing mum she was for doing this, and she looked at me and said, ‘really?’
I explained to her what I have explained to you, because as parents we sometimes need to feel less alone in how we handle situations, supported and heard, so that we can be strong for our children.
It is the lack of perfection in life that gives our children the strength and the capacity to grow into kind, compassionate, caring human beings. And being present and connected in their lives rather than delving into their issues can make all the difference.
Have a great week.
Love Clare x