Tuesday, June 08, 2010

social hurdles

With the school year end just around the corner, I find myself reflecting on all that both Lulu & I have learned during the year.
I say "I" because as much as this was a new beginning for Lulu in her academic future- it was a huge learning curve for me too.
Somehow during the first week of school I was coerced into becoming (at the time a reluctant) "class parent".
But now I am so happy that I got involved at the very beginning.
It forced me to come out of hiding and get to know all the parents (and kids) in Lulu's class.
I also had the unique position of having a really great one-on-one relationship with her teacher.
How great is that?
Bonus that she has such a fantastic teacher.
That being said, I'm not really the type of parent who gets too overly involved with what's happening with Lulu in class- not that I don't want to know, but I figure she's in great hands and Ms. Fantastic teacher would let me know if there ever was anything to be concerned about.
Each time we have discussed Lulu- I get nothing but glowing reviews.
She's very bright, socially mature for her age, a bit sensitive, but over-all a very good listener and great with "most" of her class mates.
All but one.
More on that last bit in a minute though.
It was really great getting the chance to get to know all the parents when it came to organizing things like Halloween parties, Christmas, teachers gifts and the year end party.
We are so fortunate to have had such a great class of really nice parents & kids this year.
So all in all it has been a very positive experience for both of us.
However...the past few weeks Lulu has been having some conflict with one of her class mates.
One minute they are super happy playing together- the next it's drama, drama and more drama.
Lulu & this girl really seem to clash.
I can't point the finger of blame in her direction only- because I know Lulu contributes to these little (or depending on the day-BIG) outbursts.
But it's just so out of character to see her upset so often.
We have talked about this situation at length.
I have made countless suggestions of maybe the need for a bit of separation- "play with some of your other friends instead" to her.
but the second we get to school she goes running up to this girl despite the fact that I keep "suggesting" that perhaps they need to give each other a bit of space.
It's like the more I do that- the more she does the opposite of what I recommend.
Kids will be kids and they need to learn to work these things out, it's all part of the social experience- but I am so tired of the drama when the two of them get together.
It can turn a perfectly beautiful afternoon completely upside down.
There is more that I could add- but now that this blog is no longer anonymous- and a few people at her school know about it, I won't go into too much more detail.
But I will say that Lulu has come home from school three times with cute pictures of colourful flowers, grass, sun etc. that she has drawn for me and there has been a big black scribble mark in the middle of the picture.
When I asked her what that was all about- she told me that "girl with conflict" scribbled on it because she said her drawing was ugly and she was a bad artist.
When I brought her to school a few weeks ago and her hair was in buns (my favourite hairstyle on her) "girl with conflict" comes up to her- right in front of me and says- "your hair looks weird" said in quite a mean way.
Now Lulu refuses to wear her hair like that anymore.
There are a few more things that have happened that Lulu has told me about- and some of these incidents are cause for concern.
It makes me wonder what else has happened that I don't know about.
I do know that lately Lulu isn't herself.
More than once I have heard her say "nobody likes me anymore"
She has been very emotional lately- and it makes me feel so bad for her.
I can't believe this is happening to her.
In JK!
I feel awful.
And is this normal?
When I talked to ms. Fantastic teacher about this- she assured me that Lulu is not to blame and that she is a really sweet kid.
She is very popular with her classmates and I had nothing to worry about.
That was a relief- because I can't lie and say that a part of me was wondering if it was Lulu.
She can certainly be feisty when she wants to be.
A wall-flower she is not.
Does that sound terrible to not instantly take sides 100% with your own child?
I just never want to be the parent who thinks that their kid can do no wrong.
School is full of situations like this- especially with girls.
She's a tough cookie- and I know she can hold her own, but I just wish this wasn't the way we were finishing up the year.
I hope I'm doing the right thing by trying to discourage a friendship- because I just know- nothing good will come of this "relationship" I have a gut feeling about it.
But then again- who knows? maybe I'm handling it all wrong.
Who knew these politics would start as early as kindergarten?
Like I said though school is definitely one big learning curve.
Can't wait for high-school...


Mamalooper said...

I feel like the parenting has now "begun". Up until JK, it's been pretty straightforward. Now it's all about coaching them on the social side of things - how to be a friend, just, really, how to "be" with others.

It's hard seeing their feelings hurt and hard too seeing them be insensitive to others.

Lulu will be fine - is she in camp with this girl? And you know how much they change over a few months. Not seeing her every day will help.

Mac and Cheese said...

Ugh. My daughter has a similar love/hate relationship with another girl at school, but so far I haven't had to get involved. One day they fight, the next day they're best friends. I guess they need to sort through these things on their own so they develope the skills to deal with the real mean girls when the time comes.

Julie said...

We're in a very similar situation. Her frenemy actually told her she didn't look pretty at her birthday party and made her cry. I almost sent her home!

I'm just gently suggesting that she try to spend time with other kids too, and trying to encourage those friendships.

petite gourmand said...

Frenemy- I like that.
it about sums up the situation.

Gabriella said...

same thing over here! had no idea it would've started this young but I guess the times are changing.

kgirl said...

So hard to navigate the social part of parenting your child. I think it's good that you are willing to look at both kids' behaviour before stepping in. That way you can truly guide her in the right direction.

That said, I am LOATHING the day the social game rears its ugly head. I know it will inevitably be soon.

Lynn said...

We were also surprised when our kids started JK at how quickly these social situations seem to arise -- how quickly cliques form and how your child is changed. The good news is that we seem to worry about it a LOT more than the kids -- they bounce back quickly, forgive easily, and seem to get over it. Fingers crossed that it really is that way.

Sonia said...

I had similar stuff happen to DD when she was in SK. I coached her on how to handle the situation and let her try to resolve things with the other girl.

Then, I finally stepped in once I found out that the girl slapped DD on the school bus because DD wanted to sit next to her best friend and the other girl wanted DD to sit next to her. This is also AFTER I let go of the incident where the girl stole DD's bracelet and wouldn't return it unless DD brought her a Barbie in exchange. Yup...a real bully.

I spoke to their teacher (who spoke to the girl's parents) and brought up all past incidents. I felt I had to explain that the slap wasn't a stand alone event. Her teacher was wonderful, and the girl is no longer a bully to DD.

I volunteer at DD's school weekly to help some of her classmates with reading. Guess who I have to help? Yep, the girl.

Anne said...

Is this just a girl thing? I can't imagine this happening with boys (mine is not in school yet, so I don't really know).