There’s been a lot of girl drama occurring in Maddie’s 6th grade class. There are cliques, popular girls, and awkward girls. Sadly, Maddie’s one of the popular girls, and her group of friends have been behaving rather cliquey lately.
Which bums me out on so many levels. I was never the popular girl in elementary school or junior high. Pretty much, I was awkward and had no self-confidence and my whole being desired acceptance from those in higher social groups. So hearing that Maddie is in one of those higher social groups and is not letting other classmates be part of her group just gets to me at my core. I don’t feel sympathy for Maddie; I sympathize with the other girls.
Yet, I also know that this is how girls are and that Maddie does have to work through these issues herself. I cannot control her life at school nor do I really want to. I feel there is a lot to be said about letting school strife work itself out.
But, still, it pains me, and I’ve tried harder than almost anything else in my parenting to instill compassion and kindness in Maddie. So, after talking to a few other moms who knew how bad things have gotten, I finally decided that I needed to step in.
But this was tricky. Because I want Maddie to figure some things out on her own (especially the social stuff) and I also want her to feel comfortable enough to talk to me and share with me, I knew I couldn’t come off heavy-handed. So I devised a plan.
Yesterday, when I picked her up from school, I coolly said, “I spoke with a few parents at school who are concerned about your group of friends and certain events that have transpired this week and so tomorrow night, I’m taking you out to dinner, and I want an honest and complete explanation and resolution to what’s been occurring.” That’s all I said.
And Maddie spent the entire night, in tears, hanging out in her room. At one point, she came down the stairs and accused me of never being on her side. I coolly replied, “I’m not discussing this until tomorrow night, and I’m not accusing you of anything. I want to hear YOUR explanation and resolution tomorrow. You have a day to prepare.”
I think the waiting was torture for her.
So tonight we went out to dinner. I didn’t say a word as I listened to her explain what’s been occurring over the past week. And let me just say, DRAMA! But I didn’t judge, I just listened, and I think giving her a day to think about all this gave her the time to look at the situation from some of the other kids’ perspectives (even if it was torturous). Then she told me her resolution: she had written apology notes to girls who have been feeling ostracized.
I commended Maddie and explained to her the importance of not gossiping, being friendly with everyone, saying nothing if you don’t have anything nice to say, and generally staying out of other people’s business.
I feel like I just had a good parenting moment. I feel like I really got through to Maddie while at the same time letting her be in charge of how she was going to resolve the problem. I’m sure this event is going to be one of many more to come, but for now, I’m thankful with the way things worked out.
As a parting bit of advice and an attempt to be a bit moralizing, I said, “Maddie. Just think of Jesus. Always ask yourself, ‘What would Jesus do?'”
To which she replied, “Ya, I guess. But I think it’s better to think, ‘What would Taylor Swift do?’ Cause she seems like a really nice girl too.” I don’t even know what to say about that: Stumped parenting moment #459,876.