Useless Blogging

July 13, 2009

I’ve got nothing on this one, folks

Filed under: Family,My World — steegness @ 12:07 am

I think I lived a fairly normal childhood. While I had a propensity for remaining indoors to play, I also did bowling and baseball for as long as I can remember. I had very few neighborhood friends, owing primarily to the makeup of the neighborhood by the time my parents finally got around to having me, I think, but that didn’t seem to inhibit my social growth (at least, not in my eyes then, nor upon reflection tonight).

I think that’s what makes Emma’s struggles so baffling to me. I’ve been as keen as I can be to offer her every opportunity I had and then some, and still something seems off. Some of it, I know, is her. I won’t deny THAT bit. There always seems, though, like there’s something amiss with the rest of the world as well. Emma, given to drama as she can be, often thinks the world is out to get her, and the more time wears on, the more I think it’s not just all in her head.

I can’t remember — ever — fighting with my friends (at least, not the people I called “friends”; there are some folks that were more than passing acquaintances that made it onto my pre-teen list). I certainly don’t remember having repeated disagreements that led to repeated dissolutions of the same friendship, over and over again. Is this a function of female-to-female friendships? Just Emma? Did everyone else go through this growing up? Am I just quirky (or AWESOME?) enough that I sat in the middle of my web, immune to this common issue? Seriously, I want to know. As it stands, I watch my daughter struggle to keep even one friend, and I worry, because I completely lack a base from which to operate here, and I don’t know if it’s because I had a charmed life or if it’s because Emma’s is particularly uncharmed.

4 Responses to “I’ve got nothing on this one, folks”

  1. Suzanne Smedberg Says:

    Ah, the perils of parenting.

    As a postulate to why this is such a mystery to you, can I suggest that since you have never been a preteen girl, you won’t understand?

    I remember clearly have emotional battles with my “friends” – screaming and scarring each other one day, and the best of friends the next. And yes, tragically, I have no idea where those girls I was so desperate to be accepted by are today. Boys have conflict, occasionally resort to violence, and then dust themselves off and move on. Girls, especially pre-hormonal ones, can inflict terrible, emotional wounds that can fester and flare over and over again. Here’s the only consolation – someday, Emma will grow into the self-confidence and security to not care – or to at least care less. It will take time, and a lot of screaming and moping. That, and she probably has more friends than you think – she just doesn’t care about the loyal friends she has while she’s obsessing on being the bff of the few girls least suited to be her best friend. It’s a crazy thing – you have to be the BEST friend of the one person who in reality drives you absolutely crazy. It’s a girl thing.

    Here’s my suggestion. Buckle down and get ready for the hurricane – I distinctly remember my mom refusing to talk to me until I was 16. But it will pass…I promise.

    Oh, and if you learn anything really valuable lessons, pass them along – I have 5 girls to get through as well! This parenting thing isn’t as easy as I had hoped… 🙂

  2. Julir Says:

    Pre-teen female friendships (and teen female friendships) are frequently a war zone. This is, of course, not always the case – JoAnn probably never experienced this. But watch one of those god-awful Disney/Nickelodeon tween-focused shows for long enough, and you’ll see it. Friendships go with the wind in those years, as all of the girls are struggling to fine a definition of self in relation to others, discovering whom they can control, whom they have to yield to, whom they’re willing to yield to… And so much is about wanting what other people have – wanting to be bffs with the most popular girl or the girl your last bff left you for. I didn’t have much of a circle of people to go through the whirlwind with, but I still managed to experience my share of drama.

    There’s a reason why, when cattiness and absurd drama ensues among adults, someone will inevitably roll their eyes and say, “I feel like I’m in middle school!”

    It will settle down. Eventually. Emma will have friends someday, friends who remain with her for a long time. Maybe it will happen soon. Maybe it will need to wait until she makes it out to the other side of puberty. It may even take Emma (as it took me) until high school to find even one lasting friend, and may take until college for her to truly figure out who she is and to find people who love her for that person (and not for the person she can pretend to be in order to get people to like her). And sure, I have many a character flaw, and a certain discomfort around new people, but I think I’m pretty healthy in my relation to the world. I think I’m a good friend. It just took a long time for the world and I to mesh.

  3. Julz Says:

    “Julir” – really?

    That’s what I get for typing while listening to my MP3 player. Somehow it diminishes my ability to type (and my ability to recognize errors).

  4. Orklad Says:

    Well…Brittany seems to limit herself to a smaller group of friends at this point, but even they seem to butt heads from time to time.

    Lyssa doesn’t seem to have hit the stage where it’s an all out war with her friends, but she’s the most likely child to write someone off if they behave badly (in her eyes).

    Genni…Genni is attempting to start a cult of little girls that will do her bidding. Steps may need to be taken.