The pinky promises.
The friendship bracelets.
The endless photos.
The shared dress up clothes.
The pajama parties.
The inside jokes.
When your little girl announces she has a best friend you are naturally going to be excited for her. Maybe you reminisce about your first best friend… maybe years later she's still your best friend. There are many wonderful things about having a bestie, no doubt. There are endless pluses to your daughter having a close friend to share special experiences and to make memories with she will fondly look back on one day.
As a mother you want the best for your daughter and that includes friendships that are healthy for her. One great thing about your daughter having a bestie is that she will not only learn so much about her friend but also herself.
The Importance Of Sharing…
It's important that your daughter and her bestie share the spotlight. They should be able to take turns in allowing each other to shine and one not taking over. It's important they encourage turn taking whether it be at playing games, playing dress up (choosing to be a princess versus wicked witch) or even just alternating playing with the only scooter on a playdate.
The Reality Of Rejection… and Conversation Starters
Keeping your communication open with your daughter about her friendship is so important… it's vital she has a soft place to go to (you) with any issues that rise up that are drama related. Perhaps there is a third girl at school that your daughter's bestie is talking to about her… then she gets wind of it. Or maybe she attempts to play hopscotch with her bestie and a third girl on the school playground… only to be shunned suddenly by her best friend. These types of scenarios teach your daughter that exclusion hurts… very much so and that the golden rule do unto others as you would want them to do unto you still very much applies even today. To feel rejected by her peers is devastating… especially at a young age. If your daughter is repeatedly being rejected by her so called bestie… it may be time for her to re-evaluate her friendship. There might be a conversation needed where you encourage her to think on her own… to prompt her evaluation of the situation. You can begin that process by asking her these questions:
1. How does it make you feel when she does that?
2. Would you do that to someone?
How would it make you feel knowing you did?
3. What does a best friend look like to you? How does she behave?
4. If a best friend does something mean should she say she's sorry?
5. If she says she's sorry how would you expect her behavior to change?
The Ugliness Of Betrayal… and Importance Of Loyalty
A bestie who talks about your daughter behind her back is not behaving as a best friend should. This is an important opportunity to discuss the meaning of betrayal and let your daughter not only express her feelings about the situation but explore what betrayal by a friend means specifically to her. This is a great time to discuss with your daughter the importance of loyalty… not being two-faced and to set healthy boundaries. It may be good for your daughter to realize that confrontation doesn't have to be a bad thing… she can confront her friend regarding her gossiping, listen to her response and state her feelings. It's important that we teach our daughters that to confront is not mean but instead the route we take doing it is what really matters. It also can be a chance to realize we may go about it wrong but in that we can also try to make things right. Ultimately as moms we can teach our daughters that we don't have to take or put up with just anything thrown our way… we always have a choice… we can choose.
Self Esteem... Up Or Down?
If your daughter's self esteem seems to have taken a nose dive during the course of her friendship… it may be time to look at the words her friend uses. Are they uplifting? Are they kind? Are they encouraging? Is her bestie's behavior dismissive? Hurtful? Excluding? Using? Discouraging? If your daughter is feeling left out, if words are making her feel criticized or self conscious and to turn inward… if she's doing the brunt of the school work on a project they are supposed to do jointly… if she's showing anxiety about going to school or withdrawing socially… it may be time to take a long hard look at her friendship.
Encouragement and Love…
When we encourage our daughters to be brave… to ask for what they need in relationships… to state what they expect… to draw the line at behaviors that should not continue… when we model healthy boundaries ourselves and remind her that God doesn't expect her to be a doormat… He doesn't expect her to roll over and be treated poorly… that it is permissible and even okay(!) for her to learn to stand up for herself in a calm respectful manner… then we know as moms we have reminded her that she is worthy, she is dearly loved for who she is… and most of all by God.
© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2014
5 Signs She's A Great Bestie:
1. She loves you for you
2. She believes in you
3. She treats others with kindness
4. She gives not just takes
5. She is trustworthy
Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art….
It has no survival value;
rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.
- C. S. Lewis