So as I posted yesterday, I needed to make a decision on how to handle a new friend of my oldest daughter. My gut was and still is telling me she is just not someone I want Ella to associate with other than school. As parents, I think we have pretty good gut instincts and we should trust them. So I started to get a handle on it.
I took Ella aside and we laid in my bed. I brought up about her new “friend”. I asked her questions to try and see how well she knew her as well as trying to get a chance to learn more about her myself. As she shared, I listened and didn’t interrupt. She confirmed what I had thought, they are classmates but just began talking more the past couple days at school. Her “friend” even commented on how this is the most she had ever spoken to Ella and didn’t really know her. I decided it was a good time for me to state my thoughts. I mentioned how I was concerned about a few things I was seeing. I was honest but did my best to not judge her “friend” because I don’t know her. I pointed out about the numerous text messages after she had made it clear she was not able to talk kept coming. I brought up how she was using Emoji’s to get her point across was really disturbing and the fact that Ella lied to her about why she wasn’t picking up or responding made me a bit concerned. Ella admitted she didn’t want to hurt her feelings. At this point I wanted to freak because there was no way she was hurting her feelings by telling her she was unavailable to “chat”. She was and was busy doing other things. But the fact that she felt the need to lie about it, truly upset me. I asked her how things were at school and if she mentioned anything to her. I was pleasantly surprised that she told her “friend” that she likes to do things with her family and does have time limits and rules in regards to texting and facetime. Ella said her “friend” responded positively and let it go. I am very proud of how she handled it and let her know. But I didn’t back down from my concerns. At first (and expected) she was defensive. But once I got her to listen, she seemed to get it. But I know how that can go.
I didn’t want to be disrespectful to her and dismiss how she felt. Even though this is one of many smaller things she will have to deal with, it is big to her and I needed to let her know I understood. Without preaching, I simply (and briefly) discussed friendships. I let her know that she is entering into a whole new world soon. I let her know that I am here and want to be involved even if it is in the background. She will make mistakes and some of them I will not be able to fix. I told her that she needs to learn to fix them on her own.
I emphasized the importance of staying true to yourself and that true friends will accept her for who she is and not expect her to change. This is such a hard concept to get across. I’m almost 41 yrs old and it took me until my 30’s to realize this and not until my late 30’s to truly believe it and embrace it. She has a long road ahead of her. I think the talk went well. There is no way to really tell a this point. I just have to keep these lines of communication open. I have to be honest, I am a little worried about how this “friend” will be toward her at school. Ella made choice to take my advice and limit her communication and be honest with her responses to her.
It looks like I am entering into a new chapter in parenthood. I better buckle up and get ready because it’s going to be a bumpy ride.