Junior (now 10) disclosed to his dad and me that someone he considers a friend, threw a marble at him in school while working on a project. The marble hit his eyes despite him wearing glasses and that he was taken aback. We asked what he did about the situation and he said he told the child off but didn’t speak to the teacher because he got told ‘I won’t be your friend’!
I then realised that my child, MY child who appears to be so confident in all aspects of his life and is nothing if not emotionally intelligent enough for his age, actually cares for a ‘friendship’ more than himself!!
He also doesn’t appear to have a ‘best friend’ (s) and is usually floating around various circles of children. I remember my school days being quite the same too, I moved between various preformed groups a) because inclusion wasn’t and still isn’t a part of the school game and b) my fluid personality made me spend time with whoever I needed to. I haven’t changed much as an adult either, taking space or severing the relationships that no longer serve me a purpose. My current resources need to be wisely invested in my health, my family and my profession. Everything else is secondary and hence my efforts towards anyone and anything need to be acknowledged, appreciated and returned!
For few moments I forgot that I see adults undertaking this behaviour all the time as well: putting up with bullshit behaviour in order to maintain relationships or keep up appearances!
This is what we had to reiterate to him (in simpler words of course) last night, applies to all of us adults as well:
- No one, and I mean absolutely no one who treats you bad/ intentionally causes harm of any form is worth having around in any capacity. People make allowances for bad behaviour for various reasons – FOMO, perceived loneliness, maintaining networks etc.
- Only he can take the best care of himself, we cannot fight his battles for him! We told him that we have his back as long as he is honest with us about what happened, even if he IS at fault! But when he comes to putting a stop to bad behaviour, he has to do it himself- whatever means necessary! We do not promote violence or fights in any form, but it has come to our attention that not all children his age respond well to reasoning and talking it out. Some do need a taste of their own medicine to back off and realise that Junior is not to be messed with. We also always tell him about involving an adult/teacher first to sort the situation out but it is not always possible it seems.
- Invest wisely, your resources namely time, energy and mental space (including thoughts and feelings) are bloody precious! You cannot dish then out to everyone and all the time! You need to evaluate the returns you are gaining from the relationships and the consistency of those returns in order to manage your investments. Some call this behaviour flaky, but I call it mindful. Nothing in this world gives or gets anyone a 10/10 returns for so many reasons. If you keep investing without enough returns, you will always run on deficits- and no one can function like that.
Here’s to hoping Junior continues to believe in himself and is always aware of what he deserves. I am sure these teachable moments will be reoccurring, because you know- life? but it is our role as parents to prepare our children for dealings with the adult world while continuing to love and nurture them.
Take a few moments to be aware of your investments and evaluate the returns!
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