I’ve been banging on a lot about kids friendship lately, but you know this stuff doesn’t just stop at childhood. It becomes something that happens throughout life really, doesn’t it? We make friends, we grow close, shit happens, sometimes we pull through, sometimes we change and grow apart. It’s never really easy to deal with.
For most of us, we love having friends. You know, those like-minded people who just ‘get’ us, who we can talk to about things and make a dick of ourselves around and it’s ok.
As adults, sometimes it can be even harder to make and maintain friendships than when we’re kids. Because there’s so much stuff going on. Moving, changing jobs, going in different directions, family and kids taking over time, and everything else in between.
In adulthood though, we need friends more than ever. To help when the going gets tough, and provide support to deal with… life. And selective hearing exhibited by children and partners. Holy shit, that is a killer. Social connectedness has been proven time and time again to be uber important in overall happiness and wellbeing.
Following last week’s vomit of sadness at watching my biggest little lady wander around a party trying to find some acceptance, I put on my big girl pants (AKA ate my body weight in ice cream and chocolate and cuddled her to within an inch of her life) and looked at what we could actually do to turn things around for me her.
While we need to let our cherubs sort this stuff out for themselves sometimes, we’ve also got to be able to skill them up to handle it. Create a little bag of friendship tricks if you will. And given the main trick in my bag is wine as a social lubricant, I’m thinking I might need to go and revisit some ideas to help her out a bit better.
I think sometimes we feel like this stuff should just organically ‘happen’. Like a flower that just blooms all by itself in the sun. Or a rainbow unicorn that flies through the air. No? You don’t see them in the air? Shit. Could be just me sorry.
My first born cherub is all things sugar and spice. Truly. Not even biased. She has always been that little lass who sees the best in everything and everyone, she loves every.single.person that she meets. She will run up to people she’s met once and embrace them with the most loving, warm cuddle. She loves to be snuggled and takes such good care of others around her. Sure, she can be whingy, whiny and catty at times, but generally, she’s this warm bundle of love and is one of the happiest, most positive kids I’ve ever met. How she came from me is anyone’s guess.
The flip side to having such an emotionally attuned and soft child is seeing how others treat her. She never wants to upset anyone, and so often won’t stand up for herself. She’ll go with the flow, and do what others want to keep the peace, or to be included. One of my biggest fears for her starting school was handing her over to life- giving her over to the harsh realities of many a girl squabble and not being there to help her put the smack down on.
Yesterday I saw firsthand some of the things my lass is being subjected to. And man, that’s hard to take.
I recently received this email* and felt compelled to respond.
Dear Dr. Sash,
I recently returned from a conference, feeling pumped and oddly much calmer and less shouty than usual, having had my very first time away from my cherubs. My husband on the other hand was just about in the foetal position, having dealt with 2 days of incessant whinging, whining and fighting. Strange coincidence, no? Anyways, upon my return it came to light that my youngest cherub decided to help herself to a five-finger discount of a pink bracelet whilst walking through the shops on the way to get some lunch. She had a little handbag with her, and by the time my husband had even become aware of what happened, they were home where she was unloading her loot. Sheesh. The kid is 3 and a half for crying out loud. Is this normal, or is this the beginning of a Winona Ryder-esque klepto life?
Feeling more shouty already Mum.
*NB This email may or may not have been written by me. To me. The cherub may or may not have been my firecracker Miss SP.
Well, feeling more shouty already Mum, I can understand your pain. Hashtag facepalm. Stealing is an issue that can crop up with kids from time to time, and often as parents we get a bit panicked about it all.
One thing we need to factor in is their age, when working out the best plan of attack. Little ones who are uhhhh, let’s say about 3.5 years old like exhibit A above, often are still in that phase where their little brains are all about ‘gimme gimme gimme’. It’s lack of impulse control at its best. They want, they take. There’s no conception of the higher moral ground of taking something that’s not theirs, or understanding there has to be a financial exchange. They are starting to get the idea that you can’t take other people’s stuff- but things in a shop can seem like fair game to them. No one is holding it, it’s just sitting there, right?
Before you ask- no. This is not a post about old grannies in some messed up sci-fi fantasy show with a weird twist at the end. Though it might be marginally more exciting if it were. Sorry about that.
You know the grey zone? That weird place where you’re not exactly miserable and unhappy, but you know you’re not feeling particularly #blessed and zesty for life? It’s this zone in the middle of it all, where you can exist, and you can have some fun, but it’s like you’re operating at 75% and not 100%.
Much along the same lines as other gems such as carbolinia and no-aphobia, I’m sure the grey zone is a totes legit thing. And it can really suck. I’m so grey right now, this post is even boring. Again. Sorry about that.
It’s that thing where you can be chugging along, comfortable in your ways, not really minding the grey zone and then BAM! It hits you. You’re greyed out. Not happy…. Not sad…. Not anything really. It’s a full attack of the meh’s.
Have you ever seen a little kid’s athletics carnival? It’s the best. BEST. When the littlies go running- there’s no strategy, there’s no designated lanes- it’s just run like the wind and laugh your head off at the end. They run into each other’s lanes, and don’t really pay attention to what other people are doing. They just run. Run where they like, and they have FUN.
Then somehow we forget about the fun part. We start looking at what others are doing. We are given a set lane and we stick to it, watch out if we deviate from the path. And shit gets serious. Like warming up, wearing the right shoes, doing that weird jiggly jump thing at the start of the race before you get in the start position (I’m sure it has a purpose. It just looks a little wanky, you know?).
I am super guilty of this. I’m forever looking at what others are doing, and before I know it, I’m running their race. Huffing and puffing trying to keep up, or accidentally bumping into their lane because I’m not looking at where I’m going. I don’t give up though. Because I’m insanely stubborn. To a fault. Eeep.
Ahhhh travelling. Jumping on that plane, going somewhere new. Sometimes for fun. Sometimes not. At some point we all end up travelling. Unless you’re dedicated to the cause and you refuse to put a foot outside your door. Then you might need to come and have a chat to me. When you can put your foot outside your door.
Travelling can bring out the best in us and the worst in us all at the same time. It can test relationships, it can give parents conniptions for years to come, it can plant that little itch that needs to be scratched only by jumping on a plane and going somewhere else.
You know how we talk about our personality styles? Introvert, extrovert, omnivert, pervert. So I may have made that last one up, but it rings true at times, no? I think that travelling shows us another side to our personalities. One that isn’t really described much, but very much threads its way through our everyday lives.
Our travelling personality can change relationships. They can show us a side of ourselves we’ve been reluctant to let out. And sometimes we see that personality in others and we just don’t know what the hell to do with it.
So without further ado, I present to you, the 7 core traveller personalities, and tips for dealing with them. So you can all enjoy your trip without murdering each other. You’re welcome.