My son has been reminding me lately of how hard growing up can be. When I was a little girl, I struggled with some of the same questions I see him asking. I resisted telling people my preferences for fear of hurting their feelings and for fear of not fitting in.
I wasn’t unpopular and I wasn’t popular. I got along with both groups but never fit in well with either. I was stuck awkwardly in the middle. I kept my mouth shut and tried not to offend anyone. I feared telling people no. I feared telling people yes. I feared.
My son told me that he doesn’t really enjoy playing with one of his little friends anymore. They no longer have anything in common. He even said that he’s pretended to be interested in the things this friend is interested in just so he doesn’t hurt this little boy’s feelings. He’s tired of doing this. He went on to tell me that he doesn’t want to be this boy’s friend anymore but doesn’t know how to tell him this.
My response: You don’t ever tell someone you don’t want to be friends with them simply because you have nothing in common. Of course, from my bag of parenting wisdom, I pulled out this question…how would you feel if someone you like said that to you? It’s one thing if they’ve wronged you in some way. But this other little boy is just being who he is.
You don’t tell someone you don’t want to be friends just because you have nothing in common with them. This is my personal opinion. (On a side note, isn’t life a journey of having to interact with lots of people who we might not have much in common with?)
I then went on to tell him that he does need to start expressing his likes and dislikes with this little boy. If you don’t like the games he is interested in...then tell him. If you don’t want to play what he wants to play…then tell him. I told him he needs to stop pretending. He needs to start articulating his interests and stop holding back. Yet, here’s the key…you do it nicely and respectfully.
Okay, parents…what am I missing? Am I giving the right advice? Is there a better way to tackle this issue?
I am interested in hearing your feedback and your wisdom.
Linking up with Shari today for Leaving a Legacy Thursday