Helping Kids with Friendships, Bullies, and Confidence

Some days I want to be that parent that keeps their kids home so they don’t have to encounter heartache, disappointment, and the pain of growing up. But, then what would I be helping my kids learn if I shelter them from anything that might hurt them. Today was one of those days. As I walked away from my son at VBS today as he was on the brink of tears because he is struggling with having friends, I kept telling myself this will make him stronger. Cue Kelly Clarkson.

Friends in no time
But, I was on the brink of tears on the way home wishing for a cigarette and a six pack of beer. Wait, that doesn’t teach me how to cope either.

Instead I have spent the last hour praying prayers of thanksgiving for the blessing of friendships growing up. Friends who loved me for me. And then my friends in high school. The ones that when I see randomly today when I go back home feel as if we have never been apart. My college friends made me realize I wasn’t broken. They taught me to keep my chin high and not be wounded by hurtful things people who didn’t know me would say about me.

I will be honest, adult life has been a little more cruel in the friendship department. Which is why I probably ache even more for my dear boy. I know how your heart aches just to have someone make you feel loved for being you. I have been shut out, left out, talked about, put down, talked down to and scorn by people since leaving college. Unfortunately, many of these people are parents. And now, Leah is starting to get her groove back. I stopped worrying about what others thought or needed from me and started being me.

As we grow up, we realize it is less important to have lots of friends, and more important to have real ones.
And then praying in turn for my son to find friends that will love him for just who he is, no pretenses, no false hopes, no mean spirits.

In the meantime how do you teach a seven year old to walk away from a bully who is making fun of him because he can’t catch a football as well as everyone else? Or how do you teach him that not everyone can be in the same group and sometimes you need to be in another group to be friends with another kid? How do you tell him that his friends are out there he just has to be patient.

I know some of this problem has been caused by his mother. I work. Other people don’t always approve of the fact that some moms have to work or frankly choose to work. Sometimes our kids become the collateral damage.

But I can tell it impacts my extremely social kids when they rarely get calls to come play. Oh wait, maybe it is because we live in the middle of bloody nowhere 25 miles from the rest of civilization we go to school with…

I have been working on building my little dude’s confidence. Instead of playing baseball this summer and going to typical sports camps he is on the swimming team, doing summer reading and getting some tutoring help. Hoping that he has some personal feelings of accomplishment in the pool and hits second grade reading without any hiccups.

So far so good. He got moved up a level yesterday in swimming and registered to swim in two meets this summer. He is reading so well, he sends text messages for me when I am driving. Win-Win!! And to his pleasure, I am going to send him to a muli-sports camp. Mainly so he doesn’t fall completely behind on the playground causing more tears in the car on the ride home from school this fall.

Any pointers or tips to help this momma boost her boy’s confidence and self-esteem?


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  1. says

    This is a great post Leah!!! I hope he can learn to cope with all the ickiness that is growing up. We’ve all been through it and it seems ten times harder when our kids experience it! Kudos to you for being the supportive mom!

  2. Gloria Rueber Jersey Lady says

    Hang in there-I am getting supper, collecting my thoughts on this subject,and saying a prayer for you and your YoungMan. I will get back to you later this evening.

  3. Annette says

    Oh Leah… This is such a great topic. And one I am always thinking about. I know we share some of the working mom guilt and how it impacts our little ones. I would love to hear all the advise you get on this one. My strategy so far is to encourage where I can, praise them when they try new things and introduce themselves to new people, and lots of prayer. But always looking for more ways to help my more reserved kiddos feel confident and comfortable socially.

  4. says

    Ohh Leah! I totally agree. I have one son who will go to the play ground, meet someone for the first time and they will be instant best friends. I have another who, without his brother, has a tough time finding friends. It is tough and I have no real solutions for you.
    I agree with you, after college has been my worst time in the friend department. Between busy family, farm and work I barely have time to think and then all the hurtful things that “adult” do and say. What is with that?

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