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I first got worried at the school fundraising walk a few weeks ago.
Wait, that's not true. They came together un-stressfully and played harmoniously.
Violet didn't do that. She would often play alone, or with adults. When she'd make a friend, she wanted to play just with that friend alone, and would get sad when the friend would want to play with someone else.
That pattern has continued right up into second grade, where it seems like the kids are working heavily on social issues. I hear a lot about clubs, and who's in the club and who isn't, and "they said I couldn't sit there, because I wasn't in the club, and when I asked if they could be in the club, they said no."
Take a knife and stick it right in my heart, why don't you?
Anyway, a couple of weeks ago at the school fundraiser walk, I looked around to see that all the kids seemed to be walking in pairs or in groups, while Violet just walked with Phil and I.
"Go walk with one of your friends, why don't you?" I nagged her. But she wouldn't. Was it because she feels she doesn't have any friends?
I kept worrying over the next few weeks. The other girls seemed to gather into knots, chatting, at drop-off. Violet stood alone, staring into space. The other girls went over the monkey bars together. Violet walked through the garden by herself, singing.
Is she getting left out? And if so, does it bother her?
Other than the mutterings about clubs and wanting to be in them, she hasn't said much at home. But yesterday, I started my two-hour-a-day job as noontime monitor for the school; basically you watch the kids at lunch and recess to make sure they're happy and not punching each other.
"What does Violet do during recess?" I asked the other noontime monitor, who's been on the job a few weeks.
"Mostly she goes and gets a jump rope," she answered.
"Does she play with the other kids?"
"Not so much. She's usually alone." Ugh. My heart.
"But she has friends, right?" I asked, getting perilously close to voice-cracking territory.
The other monitor cocked her head and answered carefully, which amped up my worry to 11. "She sits with the other kids in the lunch room, she's not alone there, but she doesn't seem to play much with anyone at recess," she told me.
....And I couldn't sleep last night. Do I jump in and try to help? Does she even need help? Do I wait for her to come to me? Do I just start inviting over the kids in her class, hoping lightning will strike?
"She'll find her place," advised my best mom friend in the class. She also has an older, adult daughter. "I worried myself sick over the big one, and the minute I'd worried myself absolutely to pieces, she'd move on to something else."
Is that right? Or is there something I should be doing? The Internet is no help, let me tell you; it's a vortex of a million worried parents out there wondering why their 7 year old, their 10 year old, their 17 year old, doesn't make friends, and how can they help? And then experts answering to get kids involved in things and model how to be a good friend.
Well, I've done that, and that. I don't know exactly what else to do, or if I should be doing anything.
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