Folks! Here’s a mom who requests your help on one of the issues of the day: The out-sourcing of playground squabbles to parents. I DO believe in being tuned in our kids, and providing them with comfort, support, wisdom and discipline. But what happens when the world around us expects something else: minute-by-minute involvement? Got any great ideas for this mom? – L
Dear Free Range Kids: I am trying to raise 5 Free-Range Kids. My oldest is 9 and in Grade Four. I am struggling with how to deal with “girl drama” issues in a Free-Range way. When I was a girl and having these same friendship issues, our moms basically let us deal with things ourselves. They would provide a listening ear, a hug and some words of wisdom, and sometimes even join in with some private name calling (“Wow she was mean,” or one of my favorites, “They are just a bunch of Nellie Olsens”). But they never got involved beyond consoling their own daughter, and most of the time us girls would be back playing together before the day was up, hurt feelings forgotten. Once in a while it wasn’t worth it or just could not be worked out and the friendship was lost. No calls, texts and emails to the other moms, no calls to the teachers and principal, no finger pointing. No moms against moms.
And this is where I am struggling now. The expected parental involvement in these friendship squabbles and school yard dramas is exhausting. I refuse to call another mom (or worse yet, the school) every time my daughter gets her feelings hurt. I realize the world is attuned to bullying, but we can not be labeling every incident where one kid is feeling bad or left out bullying, can we?
At this moment my daughter is in a friendship with a child who runs hot and cold, but for the most part they have a lot of fun together. But the child also leaves other kids out and my kid goes passively along. Now the mom of one of the ones left out is constantly bombarding me and the other girl’s mom with texts, emails and phone calls about each and every conflict the girls have. I feel for the girl and the mother, and I know how painful the world can be at this age sometimes. I know she feels my daughter is partly to blame and I think she wants me to forbid the friendship.
Anyway, I guess what I was hoping for was some insight: Living in such hands-on parenting times, how do I escape the constant expectation that I need to intervene with every relationship issue my kid has? Help and thank you,
Emotionally Exhausted Mom