Childrearing

Watching Your Child Try To Make Friends Is The Most Cringe-Inducing Part Of Parenting

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We all remember the social awkwardness of our childhood, don’t we? I can’t be the only one who still gets random flashbacks to the times you didn’t get invited to a big party or lunches sitting alone in the cafeteria. Personally, I changed schools a lot as a kid and being the new person was never easy. Now, as a mom, watching my daughter begin to fumble with social situations and attempt to build friendships might be one of the most difficult things for me to sit back and let her handle on her own.

A couple weeks ago, my daughter and I were at the park on a busy weekend afternoon. I tend to avoid the peak times at our local park, preferring the less hectic early mornings or dinner time trips. But my daughter asked and I acquiesced and there I was sharing a bench with a random dad who didn’t want to chit chat at all. Normally, my little girl finds one girl a couple years older than her, asks if they can play and then she’s set until that little girl has to go home. Today however, my little girl seemed to be striking out.

With the park so crowded, there were groups of kids everywhere. There didn’t seem to be a whole lot of individual kids who would still be looking for a buddy. I watched my daughter walk up to various groups of girls, have a short conversation and then walk off looking a little dejected. I started to feel horrible for. She switched to groups of boys, still no luck. Still a short conversation and then my daughter’s face would drop and she’d walk away.

In that moment, it took all the self-control I had not to get up and see what the problem was. Why weren’t things working out with multiple sets of kids? What was going on here? Every fiber of my being want to see my daughter playing happily with the other children. I hated watching her get rejected by her peers.

My concerned face was showing. The dad who wouldn’t make eye contact must have started to pay attention to what was going on. As my daughter walked away from another set of kids, he kind of chuckled. My mama bear was angry and pretty close to telling the man off. How dare he laugh at my child’s social issues! What an asshole. I got dangerously close to telling off another parent on the playground.

Finally after a while, my daughter wandered back over to the bench. She was noticeably upset. “What’s going on, darlin?” I asked her, trying to figure out what the problem had been without sounding too concerned and making matters worse. “No one wants to play Sneaking Cat…” My little girl told me.

(Photo: Rob Hainer/Shutterstock)

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