Do as I say not as I do
Doesn’t it just break your heart to have your child come home from school in tears because of something a classmate said?
Don’t you just want to go to the school yard and put the eight-year-old tyrant in his place?
Sometimes I would rather take 40 lashes than see my children with a broken heart—especially my third daughter who is such a loving, giving, always happy yet sensitive girl.
A couple of days ago that daughter brought her birthday party invitations to school and handed them out to all of her friends. That evening she came up to me to say that her friend Jayson made fun of her for inviting Molly. The tears in my daughter’s eyes were like a fifty pound weight in the pit of my stomach.
Jayson has been telling my daughter to avoid Molly all school year. I had been giving her the whole “in our family we are respectful to all our friends and we don’t exclude people if someone tells us to” talk and the “be a leader” talk for months, but I guess the birthday invitation fiasco was my daughter’s last straw.
Lying in bed that night, I was pouring out my heart to my husband at how cruel children can be, and wondering where children in grade two learn to be so exclusionary and judgemental of each other. My husband answered with a snicker. So I sat up and looked at him and asked, “What could you possibly find funny in your daughter being stuck between two friends that she really likes?”
“Look at your friends Marie and Josee. They can’t stand each other and are both constantly questioning why you associate with the other. You plan separate events all the time so you can have one over without the other. This isn’t just in grade two.” He replied.
Do you have friends that can’t stand each other? Do you accommodate them? Do you ever feel bad, embarrassed, or judged for having to defend why you spend time with either of them?
People Pleasing vs. Leadership
What am I teaching my daughter by accepting and accommodating two friends being judgemental towards each other? What are those women teaching their children by being rude and exclusionary about other women?
Our kids learn by example. They may not understand the fine line between being respectful to others and people pleasing, but they sense our undertones of resentment when we are not being authentic.
Our roles as leaders and role models are extremely important. And one of the most important things for me as a woman to model to my daughter is respect for myself and respect for others through self-care and healthy boundaries. I see too many women with the disease to please and the desperate stench of needing to belong and be loved. Which is I am devoting a large part of my career to empowering women through programs like “Mom’s Much Needed Time-Out.”
So what are you modeling for your children? Have you ever had a child with a broken heart caused by hurtful things a classmate has said? Have you ever been hurt that way too? How do you deal with this situation?