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Apr 21

Sometimes I’m so popular, I just have to be mean

This is what my daughter said to me, as an excuse for being wretched to a friend of her’s who had come over to play. Not that the excuse was actually accepted, she stayed in her room until she cried herself to sleep, because no matter how popular you are, you still don’t get to be mean.

Jess is such a distinct personality. She’s very clear on her likes and dislikes and too many people is one of her major pet peeves. She’d rather have one good friend then fifteen kind of good friends. And her major objection to apologizing for being mean was that then the poor little girl would like her again, and she doesn’t want to be liked.

I don’t know what to do with that. I mean, I know what to do with that, and we’ll be writing an apology card later on this morning, and I’ll harp on it until she gets the message that no matter how she’s feeling, it’s never okay to be unkind. But as for figuring out the dilemma of being too popular… that’s going to take some more thought. Jess needs to figure out a way to navigate the social system, she’ll need to learn techniques for saying “I don’t want to play right now, no offense intended” or “I would rather be alone for a bit, if you don’t mind” as opposed to “hell no, I don’t want to have anything to do with you.” It’s an odd problem to have – I was at the library last night, and there are all kinds of books to help your child be liked, how to handle bullies, how to make them popular – but none for the poor parent who has a child who claims that the popularity she has is an incredible burden and feels as though her only recourse is to be as hostile and unfriendly as possible in hopes that everyone will back off and leave her alone.

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