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Letters From Listeners
Kids' Kooky Friends
Kids' Kooky Friends
09/14/2012

Dr Laura,

Your recent comments about kids' kooky friends made me think about when my children were young.

One day my oldest daughter came home from school and was telling me about another young girl (4th grade) who seemed to pick on everyone. In my daughters's eyes, she got the brunt of it. She was frustrated by this and asked me what she should do. We talked for several minutes and discussed the fact this girl was fairly new to the area and the school, and had not really made any friends. In asking my daughter some questions we decided the girl's actions may be because she didn't have any friends she was feeling hurt and acting out in an attempt to spread the hurt. I suggested my daughter tell the girl the next time she was being mean, that she didn't like or appreciate that behavior, but she thought they could be friends if the girl could be nice. (So basically she was saying I like you, but not what you are doing.) The change was instant and they became friends. It didn't take long before the girl was feeling accepted and welcome with more of the children as well.

This story is very tender to me for many reasons but the greatest reason is because a few short months after this the young girl tragically died in a freak accident while hiking with a friend of the family. All of the children in the school class had learned to accept this sweet child and felt the loss. The parents had a group of these children sing a tender little song at the memorial for this child. And when I think about it I realize that just a few short weeks before this child was feeling friendless and alone but the kindness of "one" made all the difference in the world. (Boy do I feel blessed to be the mother of that one!)

My children have taught me many things over their lifetimes but this one is one of the tenderest. I learned not to judge someone's actions too quickly. To take a few minutes and evaluate what is causing the behavior before reacting because it may be I can lighten someone else's day and brighten my own as well. I find myself looking around to see if there is someone that seemed lost and alone and try to go out of my way to include them.

Lorene

Tags: Attitude, Behavior, Compassion, Education, Family/Relationships - Children, Friends, Friendships, Memories, Parenting, Values
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