Now why is it so?
I am a mother of two girls. I have asked myself a hundred questions on parenting. And I have also answered them myself a thousand times. Every time the answers seem to be different and conflicting. And then I start doubting myself as a parent.
Last week has been a tumultuous one. I have been noticing that this daughter of mine has been avoiding a friend for some time now. Recently the other child’s mother also highlighted this. Sudden rifts are part and parcel of the tween and early teen years. I ignored, but my concerns leaped up. What if my daughter’s funk got more serious? What if she didn’t make another friend at all? What if this turned out to be just the first in a series of traumatic childhood incidents?
“This time is when kids are figuring out who they’ll be as adults. They’re separating emotionally from their families, identifying more with other kids. They often change friends until they find a good fit.”
…says Elizabeth Hartley-Brewer, author of Making Friends: A Guide to Understanding and Nurturing Your Child’s Friendships.
I tried talking to my daughter to understand the problem first hand. I even spoke to the other child based on the little clues I got from mine. When I found out how silly the matter was, I tried talking to my girl and making her understand the importance of forgiving and moving on. And then I found out that how she had been hiding all her emotions within since a long time and that has made her so negative towards the other child. It took me and the husband almost four days to bring her to a level that she finally broke up and let out a few of those incidents involving her friend that had hurt her in the past. For the father, it was a silly matter, but for me it was something that was making my child struggle within and making her rude. How could I let her become a bad girl?
Was that all that was disturbing me?
NO. The main reason was that I had broken up a long-time friendship a few years ago because I chose to listen to another common friend and trust her word about this good friend bitching about me. I still feel shameful about how I confronted her and what all I said to her. The end result is that I have no friends as on today. My trust from friendship has been broken so many times that I am now scared to be close with anyone. And at this instant, I see my child getting into that mode. I want to protect her from getting hurt again and again. I want to save her from losing trust from relationships. What I am not realizing is that she cannot be protected under my wings for long. She has to move out and learn to handle the world all by herself. She has to learn to fight for her survival. She has to learn her lessons by herself. And the best way would be to let her do it alone.
While I chose to create a mountain out of a molehill, the husband just told her this,
“Before you behave in a particular way with someone, ask yourself if you’re right. The best person to answer this is you alone. And before complaining about someone look into your own behavior in that particular situation.”
Parenting becomes more difficult because every parent is reliving their own childhood and trying to make amendments to their own mistakes through their children. We are knowingly or unknowingly asserting our expectations on them. We burden them with ‘I made this mistake so I’ll not let you make it’ instead of ‘You must make your own mistakes in order to learn your own lessons’.
Parenting is one of the hardest jobs in the world. Period.