"Mom? Sometimes I have struggles at school."
Sophia and I had just driven up to the house and I was just about to turn off the car.
"What kind of struggles do you have at school?"
She proceeded to tell me all about the second-grade playground troubles she was experiencing. I interjected with a few how does that make you feels and why do you think your friend acts that ways, but mostly I listened to her.
In the end, I didn't even have to come up with a solution, because she did it all by herself. And I thought it was a really good and mature idea, even though I wasn't sure how her friends would receive it. She said she would try it the next day and see if they could work things out.
That was a couple days ago. Yesterday, it was just the two of us at home after school and we were in the kitchen making some pumpkin bars together when she brought up the issue again.
"I'm still having friend struggles. I tried what we talked about, but it didn't really work."
She explained, and we talked through the matter a bit more. Sometimes I feel so ill-equipped to be a mom! I have no idea how to deal with second-grade playground drama--and the one thing I have drilled into my children's heads is that they are to treat everyone with kindness, no matter what. And they honestly try to do that, I think, though I'm sure they are not perfect. Sophia's struggle is that she has lots of friends that she wants to play with, but they don't always want to play with each other. Then Friend A will be upset because Sophia decided she wanted to jumprope with Friend B, but if she decides to play tag with Friend A, then Friend B is mad. It's a pickle for sure, because if you're trying to be nice and please everyone, it is sometimes absolutely impossible. I would be feeling the same sense of loss that Sophia was feeling--in fact, I still have to deal with similar situations as an adult!
We talked through some more solutions, and I helped her practice what she might say, but I still felt a little worried that I may have given her bad advice. At the same time, she seemed relieved that she has a plan, and that makes me feel somewhat better.
She went upstairs for a while to do her reading, but about 15 minutes later she came running back downstairs. She was holding the American Girl book A Smart Girl's Guide to Understanding Her Family, and very excitedly showed me the back where they had other books in the series advertised. One of them was A Smart Girl's Guide to Friendship Troubles.
"Do you want me to buy it for you?"
"Yes! I think it will help me a lot!"
So, of course I went straight to Amazon and ordered it. It will be at our house tomorrow, thanks to Amazon Prime.
This whole experience melted my heart. This little girl amazes me all the time. She wants so badly to be good and to do the right thing, and if she wants to read a self-help book at seven years old, well heck! You bet I'm going to buy it for her. It also makes me feel so blessed that my girls talk to me and tell me what's going on in their lives and I hope they continue to do that, even though I don't know if I will always (or ever!) have the right answers for them.
But I guess it doesn't matter if I know the answers or not, it's the listening that's the most important.