Reading Barb’s post this evening really resonated with me. Often children fall out with their friends and make up the same day while we parents go on worrying about it. They have disagreements with one another about what game to play, who has the coolest toys etc… there are valuable lessons to be learned by children in such instances and it’s important for children to be given the freedom to express their opinions (though not in physical anger, obviously). It’s important for children to defend themselves against verbal attack, or downright snidey remarks.
For the most part, children usually get over the petty fall-outs pretty swiftly but when our children have been emotionally hurt, it is often far harder for we parents to ‘let it go’ than it is for our children.
For example, my daughter is 15 and has been close friends with a girl, (a vicars daughter in fact) for the last 8 years. My daughters friend has had a more priviledged life due in part to her parents being middle class professionals, and then in part too, because my daughters friend has had the benefit of having a stable family life with two loving parents and has not been so unfortunate as to endure the family traumas that our family has.
As a single parent on a low income, my children are entitled by law to some assistance in financing their school meals. This has never been a problem and as far as I know, my childen have never endured any jibes about it as the area in which we reside isn’t exactly economically affluent, and our financial position is par for the course.
My daughter, being a ‘studious’ pupil, was offered on two occasions recently, a tour of the local university. This is part of a Government/school incentive to try to get pupils with academic potential – specifically those whose parents are in a lower financial bracket – into university.
I know this.
My daughter knows this.
There is no shame in this.
My daughters friend was rather put out about my daughter being asked to twice go along to the University however, and rather than congratulate my daughter on being recognised as having potential, remarked something along the lines of;
“well, it’s because you get free school meals and you’re less likely to be able to go to a decent University … I’ll probably get asked to Oxford”.
I was absolutely livid about this when my daughter told me about it. I bit my tongue depsite seeing my daughters friend every day and engaging in pleasantries with her, but beneath the surface I was seething.
My daughter and her friend had already begun to grow apart, but this was the icing on the cake. The friendship now exists merely because it would be churlish to end it at a time when there is but one year left of High School to complete and then they’ll go their separate ways at Sixth Form College.
But really, aren’t kid’s cruel?
I’m proud of my daughter, she has gone through so much and she is beautiful, bright and a pleasure to be around (a lot of the time) … so maybe we aren’t well off, maybe we’re underprivileged even, but we’re decent, honest, unpretencious people. So what if we don’t have the branded clothes, the expensive labels mean nothing to us. Whether it be on an item of clothing or on a university…and I’m glad about that.