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Posted by: Minnie | 2009-08-14

Raising a child, raising yourself...

Last night my heart broke for my little girl. She' s almost 4, and a very sensitive child. As I lied next to her waiting for her to fall asleep, she said she wanted to go to another school. When I asked her why she said:"  Jordan and he' s friends doesn' t like me anymore. They only like Emma" !

I didn' t know how to answer her. I didn' t expect these feelings and anxieties to start this soon. I did tell her that she is the smartest and the prettiest girl in the class, and one day when she' s grown up, her prince is going to come fetch her with his horse, upon which she answered that everybody in the class is the smartest and the prettiest. Then I proceeded to name all the things that she is good at that the other kids propably do' nt do like making rhymes and singing her own songs, being sensitive, being a loving big sister to babysis etc, But I don' t know if I said the right things.

This morning I was tempted to allow her to put her fairy dress on to school just to lift the ego a bit, but something told me that I' m not going to fix this in the long term, if it is fixable at all!

But what scares me the most, is how it raised all my old anxieties about fitting in at school, not having friends, not being cool etc etc. I thought that at 35 I' m over all of that, happily married, successful job, beautiful children. But it seems the akward geeky teenager is still somewhere inside me.

So my question. Does everybody feel this way? And how should I handle this situation when it comes up again. What can I tell her next time. I suspect this is going to be an ongoing issue of parenting a girl. Any advice..

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Our expert says:
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These things happen in most people's lives, and at every school. Amnd of course going to another school wouldn't solve the problem. Better to chat with her about things like friendships, wanting to be liked, but for the right reasons, and how friendships change. Thatg she can make new friends, who may be better friends.
It was good to boost her confidence. But like "2 cents worth" I don't encourage teahing litle girls to expect princes and horses --- she doesn't need them ! And I also like the point of no claiming she is the BEST in her class on so many points, such that a child feels insecure ( a better kid could always come along ) but emphasizing that she is the best she can be, and that how she is is excellent --- good in itself, not comparatively. You were right to emphasize her talents and all that is great about her. She is the best possible HER, however good or otherwise other kids may be. And she will be her own prince, and won't need a horse.
Think of maybe discussing this with her teacher, no as any emergency, but then next time you are in contact. Don't make too much of this, as it may make her more aware of it for longer than necessary.
Maybe we all have our gawky geeky teenager within us, but make sure he/she is accompanied also by our acomplished adult.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Maria | 2009-08-14

I' m 37 and my daughter is 7. There is nothing like raising a child to bring up all the old securities within yourself again. It' s like they mirror your soul.

Friendships come and go at an astounding pace at that age. Speak to the teacher to find out if there is a serious problem, or if this is just the normal day to day stuff of young kids lives. Be careful of emphasising all her good points and telling stories about princes - life isn' t really like that. Tell her that nobody will like you all the time, just like you won' t like other people all the time. Maybe coach her a bit on making and keeping friends. If she is really sad, just holder and tell her you know it hurts when friends don' t want to play with you any more.

Reply to Maria
Posted by: Maria | 2009-08-14

INSECURITIES of course

Reply to Maria
Posted by: My 2 cents'  worth | 2009-08-14

I think overall, you handled it very well telling her all te good things about her to raise her self-esteem. But I personally don' t like stories, especially to little girls, instilling the stereotype that some prince will come fetch her, etc. I' m very careful about creating the impression that pretty girls are there to be rescued by their princes and so on. Now, I' m not saying that this one episode will affect her for life, but if it' s repeated often enough, the poor child will wait for the prince all her life. And maybe it' s not about telling her that " you' re prettier/smarter/better than so and so"  so that she doesn' t think that she' s in competition with anyone, but rather that she' s as pretty as she can be, as smart as she can possibly be, the best singer SHE can possibly be, etc.

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