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Mostly, You Need A Strong Heart To Be A Parent

photoAva is a sweet child. I’m sure all parents feel that way about their child. Each child is different, has their own personality traits, mannerisms and ways about them. Some kids are stubborn, some are strong willed, some bad tempered, some are soft and overly emotional. Ava is stubborn and strong willed and very very soft hearted and it’s her soft, gentle heart that may actual land up breaking my heart.

This year has been a big adjustment for her, going to a new, bigger school, being separated from her bestie and going into after-care. It’s a lot for a 4 year old to adjust to and she’s been doing really well all things considered. I’m glad to discover that she has made two friends in her class, Ashley and Giselle.

Of course this week she started after-care, another big adjustment for her. When I arrived to fetch her on Monday, she was playing with a little girl, which made feel so much better. On Tuesday, when I arrived to fetch her, she was playing Dead Horse Dead Horse (don’t even ask) with a group of little girls and this made my heart happy to know that the couple of hours spent in after-care were filled with free play and friends.

Then yesterday I arrived to fetch her and she was playing alone, I decided to hang back and just observe for a bit, I saw how she tried to join the group of girls from the previous day and how they ran away and so I ended my observation and went to fetch her. When I asked her why she wasn’t playing with the other little girls and why they’d run away from her, she told me that they had said she wasn’t their friend and was not allowed to play with them. Horrible little bitches! You have no idea how much self control it took for me to sign her out of after-care and leave, I have never wanted to grab a group of little girls by the hair and spank somebody else’s child so much in my life. My heart physically pained, it hurt me so much and was all I could think about last night and all I could think about this morning.

It’s never easy watching your child go through this kind of thing. Sadly, it’s also not the first time Ava has been through something like this. Last year, we had a similar situation at her old school, where she was coming home daily telling me things that two of the girls she was friends with were saying to her and some of the things one of them in particular had done. It broke my heart.

Like I said, I know Ava is know angel (well actually she is but whatever) and I know she’s as capable of being ugly to her friends, hell, I’ve even heard her and her bestie yell at each other that they’re not each others friends any more. I know that that is what kids do. But Ava has a soft little heart, she’s not the type of child to, unprovoked, be cruel to another child and I’m hating this adjustment phase to her new school. I hate that she’s separated from her bestie and on her own. I hate because she’s a newcomer to the school, she has to try and fit in with all the clicks and groups that have already formed.

It’s breaking my heart, it’s making my stomach hurt. I wish we could go back to the way things were.  I wish I knew how to deal with these types of situations. The incident last year was handled badly on my part and landed up damaging a friendship I’d cultivated with the other girls mother and it has never been the same again. I wish I could go to the after-care this afternoon and tell those little girls to stop being such little bitches, but I can’t. I honestly don’t know what to do. Should I just shrug it off as kids being kids? Just leave her to fend for herself against that type of pack, click behaviour?

We are all a product of our upbringing and our experiences and one of my biggest fears for Ava is that someone will damage her gentle soul to the point that it changes her and she loses her beautiful, gentle, loving spirit.

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13 Comments

  • Reply Jenny

    Oh Sharon this one is so so hard. And I totally hear you and have been there and wanted to smash heads together of arseholes who hurt my kid. I always try to just point out how yukky it feels to be left out of things and to have mean things said to you (so he doesn’t do it to others) but the actual tough stuff I have to leave up to Dyl. And you unfortunately have to leave it up to Ava. This is real life and where she needs to learn how to make friends, keep friends and realise that some are not worth it. Big ask at 4 but I reckon we all had to do it cos our moms sure as shit wouldn’t have got involved. I am very interested to see what the status is this afternoon – my gut reckons this is a blip and they are all friends again or another one is left out. What I would do is voice my concerns to the teacher and just ask her to guide the process if Ava is constantly left out? But somehow I don’t think she will be.

    February 6, 2014 at 10:48 am
  • Reply wobbly02

    As a mom I so feel your pain with my daughter (although very popular at school) has also been down that same road where some girls who normally play together will suddenly turn around and say “we playing xyz game and you cant play with us” When they are so young they do struggle with this kind of rejection from their friends and i have often told her if a friend suddenly doesnt want to play with her she should just move along to her next group of friends. Another mom whose daughter in the school was also often “left out” of the games actually apprroached the teacher and they then introduced a “game” in the class where each child was given a different piece coloured string and they had to find the girl who had the same colour as them and that would be their friend for the week obviously they were still allowed to play with their existing friends but the person they were paired with also had to be included in the games at the end of the week most times there were lots of new friendships made

    February 6, 2014 at 11:48 am
  • Reply Georgina Guedes

    It’s a mother’s worst fear – that view of your child playing alone on the playground. (OK, there are worse ones, but you know what I mean.) On the bright side, there were two good days and one bad day, so rather watch to see if it’s a trend, or just a once-off thing. If it does seem to keep happening, then maybe ask the aftercare supervisor to make sure that she’s engaged in the other children’s games. There should be adult supervision of this kind of play – especially with kids of this age. I wish I had more to suggest because it’s heartbreaking, but let’s hope that those girls were just having a mean day.

    February 6, 2014 at 12:10 pm
  • Reply TJ

    Hmmm…see this is where I as a parent tend to maybe fail. Being a loner myself, it doesn’t really phase me at the moment whether my boys play in groups or not. Thankfully though I know that they will try and include themselves into a group or activity or go and create their own. X is very much an observer but puts himself out there too and having communication issues this isolates him from his peers quite drastically. I try encourage him to make friends or join groups but I never force him. I hated being forced to join groups. They will make their own friends in their own time. And kids will be kids, they will include and exclude others at will – they do not understand the emotional dynamics. I also don’t go about saying to my kids “those kids are being nasty or ugly” or “they don’t want to play with you” this makes my boys the problem and they aren’t a problem.

    Thankfully I do have faith in their teachers and know that they will include the boys in activities and also encourage friendships and monitor the social aspects. It is why they’re at school – to develop socially too. They have to do it themselves. Shrug it off I say as kids being kids. Hell, adults are like that too – worse even – because we understand the emotional side of things.

    My one aunt has a daughter with the kindest heart and she nurtured that aspect early on. She would always pack extra lunch and taught her kids to give to someone that didn’t have or to go and befriend someone that sits alone. If Ava has an outgoing, extroverted personality, this may be a good way to nurture her gentle soul. Also teaching her that sometimes she doesn’t have to wait for the cliques or groups to include her but that she can go and form her own circle too.

    It’s not easy as a Mom and dealing with your own emotions without passing that onto our kids is were it can become tricky.

    February 6, 2014 at 12:26 pm
  • Reply countesskaz

    It’s tough to watch. But I think its best to let her handle the situation. (with your encouragement). Girls are notoriously bitchy. I like the idea of speaking to the teacher and pairing her up with a like minded little girl.
    P.S Its the first of many situations in her life. Not easy to be a mom and see them go through this.

    February 6, 2014 at 12:55 pm
  • Reply stephanie graves videira

    🙁 my heart breaks for u as a mom tough seeing ur baba sad

    February 6, 2014 at 1:36 pm
  • Reply Ailsa Jean Loudon

    So difficult – raised the hackles when it happened to my Kids when they were at school. It doesn’t get easier as they get older, but I tried not to get involved and let them know I loved them no matter what!

    February 6, 2014 at 3:12 pm
  • Reply Lynette Jacobs

    I hate it when things like this happen and children are so cruel to one another. I always thought it was a “girl” thing…the bitchiness….but I have observed my three grandchildren (age 6,5,4…exactly 10 months separate each one) and they always team up and you hear “jy is nie meer my maatjie nie”. I remember the first time it happened I went to them and told them at Ouma’s house we are all friends. If they are going to be ugly with each other I will take them home….so it stopped (at my house at least). I hope this things resolve itself because I know what a horrible feeling it gives at the pit of your stomach when your child gets hurt.

    February 6, 2014 at 3:12 pm
  • Reply karen

    So heart breaking! My daughter was often left our last year at school but luckily she’s brushes it off and gets on with her own thing. If its affect your daughter I would mention it to her care givers so they can keep an eye on the situation.

    February 6, 2014 at 4:13 pm
  • Reply Mash

    Shame, kids are cruel. One day my sister fetched my niece from school and asked her what she did at break time. She said she was swinging in circles around the guttering, by herself, because the other children didn’t want to play with her (my heart broke when I heard that, I can’t imagine how my sister felt). But a few days later, I think it was all over and they were all playing nicely together again. To be honest, as soul destroying as it is, I think it is a normal part of growing up. They are probably at an age where they are experimenting with how social groups fit together, and I’m pretty sure that one by one, each child will have a moment of exclusion at some point. Probably the best thing is not to focus so much on why it happened, or for anyone to reprimand the children who are responsible for it, rather just to teach her in a loving way how to cope with that exclusion. Because exclusion in life is a fact, she might not get a job she applies for. She might not get chosen for the choir. You can’t protect your child from rejection, but you can support her in dealing with it, which will eventually leave her with more courage than fear.

    February 7, 2014 at 12:26 pm
  • Reply cat@jugglingact

    Ai I know this is difficult but give it a bit more time whilst keeping your eye on it. Even A that I have to admit is hugely popular has had times when things like this happens. And then it goes away again. I do admit it does sometime become a real situation where action is needed but more often than not is just goes away and less is certainly more in terms of action. Somehow little girls are just more prone to this than boys

    February 11, 2014 at 2:12 pm
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