Saturday, April 21, 2007

Remember to be "a soft place"...

My eldest daughter turns eleven years old on Tuesday. It's been a difficult couple of years for her... being a pre-teen girl in this day and age is every bit as difficult as it was in my day, and then some. What I've decided about a lot of little girls at this age (and I know this isn't going to come as a Great Revelation to many of you), is that they are... MEAN. Really mean. Not necessarily to their parents and their families... and not necessarily when they are in front of other adults or "authority figures", but when they are alone with their peers (also known as "the competition"), the emotional knives come out. And, man, are those knives SHARP.

I am fortunate to have a wonderful ten-year-old daughter. I know I am deeply biased, but my girl is articulate, clever, imaginative, and gloriously funny. She is beautiful, talented, and as my mother always says (and people, there is no higher praise than this from my mother) "she is MUSICAL". She is!! She does everything with music, even if she has to sing it herself.

Above all else, she is a sensitive and kind person. She has always been able to empathize with other people, often to the point of troubling her own psyche-- if she sees other people hurting, she feels their hurt. I am confident that she would do anything to help anyone who was troubled or in need...

And this is why I cannot even BEGIN to understand how other girls her age can bring themselves to exclude her... How can they justify their behavior? How can they bear to live within their skins when they see the awful hurt in her eyes? It mystifies me, especially since the grade five teacher at their school has done EVERYTHING in his power to stamp out this behavior; to try and educate these children that emotional bullying is hurtful, dangerous and utterly unacceptable.

This has been a crummy week at our house... My girl is having a tough time. Her grades are wonderful, her teacher is pleased with her academics and her behavior, but... It's the social scene, the "playground" stuff, that is so hard for her. And she is so frustrated!! She brings it all home and emotions spill over and I wonder how on earth I'm going to deal with the whirlwind. We haven't even HIT the teenage years yet!!

I was visiting a good friend of mine this morning, and I poured all my worries about my daughter to her. She has a sixteen year old girl, herself, and has been through ALL the same troubles that we are experiencing at school right now. She gave me some wonderful advice... advice that I am going to have to write in big letters and post somewhere where I will be able to go and unwind and take deep breaths while I read...

"Whenever she's driving you crazy... when she's yelling at you and you're taking the brunt of ALL her frustrations... Remember this: YOU HAVE TO BE A SOFT PLACE FOR HER. No matter what!! She NEEDS a soft place to come to for comfort. Life is so hard!! REMEMBER TO BE A SOFT PLACE."

Life IS hard. And I don't think it gets a lot easier, from my own social experiences. We just get better at dealing with the hard stuff. We train ourselves to be resilient. But my friend is absolutely right-- we all need friends, we all need that soft place. And right now, I have GOT to remember to take lots of deep breaths, so that I can be all those things for my daughter, and at the same time, be her Mummy, too.

2 comments:

rev. shawn said...

a wise and wonderful friend told me that the greatest gift we can sometimes be to one another is "to be a big pillow" where frustrations, tears and hurts can be flung, and be absorbed ...

be the soft place for your daughter, be the pillow, the wonderful mum you have always been ... when your daughter feels the unconditional love you offer her, and knows you're always there for her - everything will be right with her cosmos ... and yours.

peace.

Multi-tasking Mommy said...

Gosh, it's so true that we all need our mothers to be that "soft place" for us. I agree with that advice.

You are an amazing mother and your daughter is one strong, amazing girl. I feel for her so much that she is going through a difficult time right now, but I have true beliefs that she will gain strength from this and that she will find her niche in a few years!

 
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