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Friday, March 14, 2014

Sensitive Souls and Remembering Middle School

My first born is my sensitive child.  She's a people-pleaser like yours truly.  I've known this for a while now.  But just recently, I've become a bit anxious over it.  

Here's why:

She's getting to the age (four and a half) where her friends are more of a big deal.  She is pretty social too and always loves having friends over to play.  If she doesn't know someone, she simply calls them "friend" and follows them around like she's their shadow. She wants to be included.

I was observing one day and she wanted to play a certain game with some friends.  She asked three girls to play with her.  The first one said "no!".  

"How bout you?" - she asked the second gal


"Ok, how bout you? - she appealed to the third child


Her shoulders dropped slightly and she walked off and eventually found something else to do. I honestly don't think it bothered her as much (or at all) as it bothered me…because I know in the near future, it will be more bothersome to her. 

What did I want to do??  I wanted to go over and make my own appeal to her friends.  "She's a really fun girl.  She will play nicely.  C'mon please play with her!"

---I know her friends weren't being mean. They were simply replying like three and four year olds do when they don't want to do something. It just brought out insecurities of my own and realizing Rilynn would soon face them herself.

What did I do?  Nothing.  I left it alone.  But my heart kind of sank a bit.  Because I remember how much it hurt to be rejected by peers - especially when you had such a people-pleasing nature.  I don't want her to get her feelings hurt.  I don't want her to cry over who is her friend and who isn't.  I don't want her to be made fun of.  I just don't want her to go through that!  But I know she will…very soon. It's coming.  I remember middle school.  And it was HARD

Then last week I found out Rilynn was accidentally put on the five year old tball team instead of the four year old team. She loves tball but she's not exactly the MVP so I started to get anxious again…What if everybody gets upset with her because she didn't throw the ball right or run to the right base?? Oh please accept her - please be her friend still, I thought.  But at her first practice, we learned she was not the least skilled of the team.  The skill level for four year olds and five year olds apparently isn't much different at all.  

My brother and I during the middle school years
I guess it's just partly because of my own experiences and seeing my girls go through periods that are difficult bring back memories that I'd rather just forget.  I mean, I thought I was a pretty fun kid back then.  I had no clue how to dress.  I still don't.  And maybe I acted a bit strange sometimes.  But who doesn't right??

I know I can't protect them from life.  I want to.  :)  But I can't.  They have to experience hurt and sadness and learn how to pick themselves up, know their identity is in Christ (hopefully, one day) and not in what others think, and move on.  And perhaps, in Rilynn's case as in mine, learn not to take certain things so personally.  All I can do is to equip them best I can to be kind and love others - different or not.  And ultimately, I need to get over my own anxieties that my girls won't survive being hurt or sad. 

Oh my - three little girls.  They will eventually be three teenage girls.  How will they ever survive??  How will their daddy and I survive???  :)  

We will though.  We will.  

I just love this picture. That is all


JoyBelle said...

As usual I relate to you oh so much. I was rejected so much through the school years. And I have so much anxiety about my kids being bullied (or bullying) and not even just bullying but also being excluded (especially excluded purposefully and spitefully).

Elaina (my sensitive girl, though all my girls are sensitive in their own ways) was just crying yesterday about last Easter. There was a distant family member at the great grandparents' house (really long, sad story but needless to say the child was probably being bratty because of her rocky life) and this girl was purposefully excluding Elaina and walking off with Elaina's BFF/cousin. Elaina didn't know what to do or how to react. It affected her so greatly that she's having anxiety as Easter comes near again and she faces the prospect of this happening at her great grandmother's house again since this is the only time we see these family members.

She wailed to me about how she hated how she acted when she was excluded and told me she felt so stupid after we got home and wished she knew how to behave when someone rejected her.

We have to work through it. Part of me wants to say forget going, it's not worth it. Part of me wants to go and help Elaina through this because we homeschool so we don't have a lot of opportunity to experience these life's ups and down. I told Elaina about the little girl's upbringing so she could better understand why the girl wasn't being socially graceful. I told her it wasn't an excuse for the behavior however but to just show her why someone might choose to behave that way when Elaina is the total opposite and tries to include everyone.

Ultimately I teach my kids that everyone has choices in life. Some people make good choices, some make bad, sometimes we don't mean to make a bad choice but it happens, etc. And I tell them if someone acts that way then it's just better to walk away from the potential relationship and find friends they can be themselves with.

After that Easter her sweet cousin and BFF bawled her eyes out and hugged Elaina, apologizing for making her feel excluded. THAT is a friend I will pray for your girls to find. Someone who may make a bad choice BUT is willing to apologize, sympathize and make amends.

Kari said...

SISTER!! Sweet RiRi! I have often thought about different scenarios with Brynnen--although mine are more because she is so much taller than the other kids. She talks pretty well too, so people probably mistake her for an older child (I have to remind myself too), but she very much behaves like a 4 year old. I didn't like being tall until I was in college, I hope to teach her that she is fearfully and wonderfully made, she was chosen to have specific characteristics (tall & silly) for God's special plan. I'm glad can always rely on each other to reassure their identity is in Christ (I'm glad you added that in your post). :-) Love you and love that the girls have each other as allies!

Jen Knox said...

I relate to this with Georgia. In preschool this year, we've run into some of this and it just breaks your mama-heart. She's so sensitive she cried at a sad part in a Doc McStuffins episode yesterday! I love her tender heart, but I also feel anxious that it will be crushed. I definitely understand.