friendship

All posts tagged friendship

BFF’s

Published March 8, 2014 by thefamilyof5

Friendships have always been a tricky one for big girl, she lacks the confidence to instigate friendships and the social skills to maintain them. She made a few friends shortly after they moved to their new school, and for a while things seemed to be going well, but, like all little girls the ‘fallings out’ began. The trouble is, that the average 9 and 10 year old girl has been making and breaking friendships for a few years now, so they generally know the score and have built up certain levels of resistance, however for my poor poor big girl, the whole concept of making up and breaking up with her friends is all just too new and little too much for her to cope with. With each ‘Im not your friend any more’ that she hears, her self worth and self confidence diminishes a little bit more. She’s already convinced herself that she’s rubbish so all this ‘breaking up’ just confirms it for her.

Im rubbish

Im rubbish

Middle girl started off school life as one of the most popular, there was always someone on the playground calling out to her and wanting to say ‘Hi’. Over the years this seems to have stopped, and just like she does in everything else, she became invisible. I met with her teacher the other day and we briefly discussed middle girls social skills. Im concerned she’s masking her loneliness on the playground by ‘appearing to be ok’, which is something she excels in. I was reassured that she has friends and perhaps even a special friend, a girl called ‘AXXXX’ apparently. Middle girl rarely talks about her class mates and when I ask who she’s played with each day, its always a different name and usually a boy. We spoke today about different things and today she told me her BFF is a boy called ‘JXXX’, again, not a name I’ve ever heard before, I’m not sure she really knows what a friend is, or prehaps she is just trying to tell me what she thinks I want to hear.

Who are my friends?!

Who are my friends?!

Baby girl flits around playing with various different girls from her class from what I gather, she rarely talks about boys, except the older boy in her school that she ‘really loves’ that is, anyway, like her sisters I have to base my opinions on what I see and what they tell me. Baby girl isn’t great at communicating about her day, she often fixates on a teeny aspect of her day and becomes unable to tell me about much more, so I base my opinions on what I see at the end of school each day. She often has a little group of girls from her class around her, she organises them, tells them where to stand and proceeds to instruct them in a very teacher like manner, on what they have to do, she tells them to ‘listen to me’, ‘copy what I do’ , ‘you stand there’, ‘put your hands like this’, ‘that’s it well done, great work’. Im not sure that this would be tolerated for much longer than the 5 minutes we’re waiting for her sisters, so I expect that’s why she flits from friend to friend during her ‘playtimes’ and often decides to play skipping, by herself.

Copy me everyone!

Copy me everyone!

Friendships present all my girls with difficulties, worries and upsets. I work really hard to tell each of them what a good friend is, what a good friend says and how a good friend behaves. All the time though I’m wondering, am I really the best role model for friendships, after all, where did all my friends disappear to over the years.

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This was written for this weeks ‘Friends’ theme, for the Weekly Adoption Shout Out #WASO, over at The Adoption Social.

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Friends & Friendship

Published June 23, 2013 by thefamilyof5

This weeks topic for #WASO (Weekly Adoption Shout Out) is friends.

Friends is always a cause for concern for any parent, for me, the worries that keep me awake in the small hours are different for each of my daughters.

Big girl has always found friendships difficult, partly due to her Autism and partly due to her past. Big girl lacks the skills to make and keep friends. Her need for control makes sharing difficult and her communication issues make even conversations difficult. Big girl and I recently started an Adaptive Skills course. The course is aimed at teaching her new/better ways to make friends. We’re 3 weeks in to a 6 week course and so far we’ve covered ‘Greetings’ ‘Conversations’ and ‘Friendships & Compliments’. One of the practical exercises in our last class was for each of the 8 children on the course to pair up with another child and share what they do that makes them a good friend, and what they could do better. Big girl paired up with a boy and after her initial shyness, giggling and noise making I prompted her to begin the conversation. ‘What makes you a good friend’ I asked. ‘Im good at sharing, I listen and I play the things my friends want to play’ she replied, ‘and what do you think you could do better?’ I prompted. ‘erm…………….nothing’. The little boys conversation went pretty much the same way. At the end of the session the little boys mother and I had a brief chat. ‘They already think they’re great at being friends so I cant see how this course is going to help them’ she remarked, ‘I agree’ I replied. Big girl doesn’t have any friends, she’s never been invited to a party, she’s never had a play date and often spends break times by herself. Yet if you ask her, she’ll tell you she has lots of friends, but she’ll lie awake at night knowing she hasn’t. So I share this mothers concerns, how will this course help them, if they ‘think’ they’re already doing all the things they’re being taught.

During reception class and the early part of Year 1 Middle girl used to be so popular, she was always greeted on the play ground each morning with a chorus of ‘good mornings’ from a huge array of children, mostly girls. She’s been on play dates and used to be inundated with party invites. Lately however things have changed, now nearing the end of year 2 she no longer appears to be so ‘noticed’ on the playground, the girls that used to call her name now walk on by, these days, she walks across the playground shouting the odd ‘good morning’ to a small handful of boys, who barely acknowledge her. So what changed!? Her peer group grew up. The girls she played princesses with on the playground now want to chat, and talk about the latest pop group or share some dance moves. Middle girl has a speech and language issue which can make conversations difficult, her conversation doesn’t flow like that of her peers, its fragmented and often doesn’t make sense. Her desperation to please and fit in is just an added pressure to make ‘finding the words’ more difficult. So these days she plays mostly with the boys, she cant tell you there names, or what they play just that she plays with them. She hasn’t had a party invite for over a year now and the play dates dried up in year 1.

Baby girl has great social skills, she can be kind, she can listen and she can hold a great conversation. However the chaos inside her, craves more chaos which draws her towards the more difficult children. She’s drawn to the children that lead her in the wrong direction, the children that fulfill her need for chaos yet terrify her at the same time. Baby girl isn’t yet ready for play dates I feel, which is good because she’s not been invited to any, and the party invitations have dwindled. Its no surprise though, and its perfectly understandable, I’m not sure I’d encourage my child to play with a girl that was so disruptive in class and ‘known’  to be in so much trouble all the time. I know the other side to her though, I know inside she is a kind and gentle, frightened little girl that so desperately wants to find her place in the world around her. She’s lost, torn and confused by the love that surrounds her and the chaos within her. She’s not ready to lead just yet, so for now she’s being led.

Friendship According to Wiki

In childhood, friendships are often based on the sharing of toys, and the enjoyment received from performing activities together. These friendships are maintained through affection, sharing, and creative playtime. While sharing is difficult for children at this age, they are more likely to share with someone they consider to be a friend (Newman & Newman, 2012). As children mature, they become less individualized and more aware of others. They begin to see their friends’ points of view, and enjoy playing in groups. They also experience peer rejection as they move through the middle childhood years. Establishing good friendships at a young age helps a child to be better acclimated in society later on in their life (Newman & Newman, 2012).

Its hardly surprising my girls struggle, they’re busy putting all their emotional and physical energy into keeping themselves safe in school, they don’t have anything left for ‘Friendship’.

It’s just not the same.

Published May 27, 2012 by thefamilyof5

In the adoption world the worst thing someone can say to an adoptive/foster parent is ‘all kids do that’.

I had a call last night from a very good friend but before I tell you about that, let me tell you a little about her.

She’s a mom of 3 children, her eldest is a son and then she has slightly younger son/daughter twins. The majority of her early parenting years were tough and the rest even tougher as a single parent of 3 young children. Money was tight and times were hard. She’s faced hardship, poverty, isolation and loneliness. She’s been judged and criticised by society, as were many single parents in those days, she received very little help or support but always managed put her children and their needs before her own and always found the time and energy for happiness. She remarried some years later and her husband joined her side in raising her 3 children. She always speaks fondly of her memories, even those from the tougher times. She has some fantastically heart warming stories that she shares. Her children are all grown up now and have ‘fled the nest’. They’re all well adjusted, mature and responsible adults.
A few years ago she and her husband decided that they’d like to put their wealth of experience to use and foster. Over the last few years they’ve fostered many difficult traumatised children. They currently have a long term placement with 2 children.

She rang me last night after a ‘difficult’ day. Her first words were ‘its not the same and don’t let anyone tell you it is’.

Our traumatised kids DO do the same sorts of things as secure children, but on a whole different scale and for a whole different reason. They leak trauma, they manipulate and they control. Its intense, its extreme and its constant. Its just not the same and there really is nothing that it can be compared to.

So the next time you compare your well adjusted, secure child’s behaviour to that of your friends, traumatised adopted/fostered child’s behaviour. Please keep those thoughts to yourself, because until you’ve experienced parenting one of our children first hand, you can’t fully understand.
That doesn’t mean your friend doesn’t need you, in fact they probably need you now more than ever. You don’t have to understand to be able to support. Empathy comes so easy when you remove judgment.

Random thoughts………….

Published February 12, 2012 by thefamilyof5

 

Baby Girl – I know she wont always do the things she does, she’ll grow out of them, she wont be wetting herself on purpose at 28 (i hope!!) but what will she do instead, If her need for control is so great that once she stops one controlling behaviour she has to create another where will it end. She stopped the ‘weeing issue’ and created the ‘hair brushing issue’, she still has the ‘food issues’ for now, but I wonder what we will have progressed or evolved to by the time she’s 10! or 18! or 25!?

 

Big Girl – What will the impact of having no friends have on her. Is she bothered, will she become bothered. Does she understand what friends are, will she learn to. Can her friends in school change the way they see her now if she does change or will she always be the bossy girl no one likes, is it too late. Will she learn to play in time, it wont be long before it will be too late for her to learn to play and she’ll be having to grow up instead. How will she cope in life if she cant ever work/live/share things with other people.

 

Middle Girl – No real worries, is that something I should be worried about, her lack of issues seems to be out of the ordinary compared to her sisters, is the worst yet to come!?

 

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