Thursday, May 24, 2012

Friend Drama

So remember a few weeks ago when I talked about Caroline's new friend, Katelyn?  Well, things have gotten a little bit difficult recently and I'm trying to figure out if it's just a normal "girl thing" or if it's more than that.  I also can't figure out how much intervention is needed either.  I'm not a hovering type parent but I also feel like this might be more than Caroline can handle.

Before Caroline met K, she had her friend, Sophia from 3 doors down.  I was glad when Caroline met K because S isn't always home and kids need more than 1 friend.  While Caroline and S tend to do more girly girl things together (crafts, imagining, fairy houses), Caroline and K are more active together (running, jumping, bike riding, .  I like this dynamic because I feel like each friend brings out the different sides of Caroline - she is both girly and active.  However, the problem is that S and K do NOT get along.  More importantly, K doesn't like S and is constantly trying to pull Caroline away from S.

For example last night, K came over and was playing with Caroline when Caroline noticed that S had just gotten home.  They ran up the street to say hello and I heard Caroline yell, "GROUP HUG!" and get all 3 girls to hug. They were up in front of S's house (S's mom was outside) and said that within a minute or two, K was heard saying to Caroline, "C'mon, let's go back to your house."

And this is what happens every time.  K is constantly trying to have Caroline all to herself.  I went up to talk to S's mom while the kids ran around and we stood there and talked and watched the dynamic of the three girls.  Every time Caroline moved, K was right at her side.  I'm talking glued at the hip.  S's mom was saying that S has been upset lately that Caroline doesn't play with her as much and while she acknowledged that S is a really sensitive kid she feels bad for her.  I told her I agreed and that we had just had a conversation about this that evening at dinner.  A lot of the problem is that K is always the first one to call and first one to come down so Caroline doesn't feel like she has the chance to decide what she wants to do.  K kind of makes the choice for her.

Caroline has even expressed that she misses S and wants to play with her but that she just wishes they could all play together.  I told her that I don't think K is capable of that.  I know that S is because S often has other friends over that Caroline play with without issue.  I think K is just very possessive of Caroline for a number of different reasons.  K is an only child and I don't think has had to share a lot and she's told Caroline that she's her first real best friend, so I think there's that dynamic too.

And this is where I want to help but I also know she needs to figure this out on her own.  Jason and I have talked with her about how she needs to stand up to K and tell her how she feels.  She insists that she has but that K will say things like, "You've been friends with S for longer so she's already had enough time to play with you."

Sigh.

I just feel like 8 years old is still pretty young to stand up to your friends on such a sensitive issue.  Although we've already had discussions with Caroline about how she needs to stand up to K about a few other issues.   K is constantly putting Caroline up to things like asking if she can eat dinner with us or asking if she can come and play in the house.  However, I think those are simple issues and is something that Caroline could stand up to whereas this is something more sensitive.

As we've talked about this, Caroline has actually started to express a little bit of anger about it.  I think she's coming to realize that it's not fair that K doesn't want her to play with anyone else.  And we've told her that a friend that doesn't want you to have any other friends really isn't a good friend.  Of course at 8 years old, I think that's something a kid has to learn and maybe if we're able to make that fact clear to K, she'll mend her ways.

I really do feel bad for Caroline.  She really likes both of these girls and I see how much she enjoys playing with each of them.  I think S would be happy to play with K if K treated her better too.  So I think for now we'll continue just to watch and see what happens and continue to talk to Caroline and help her navigate this.

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