At one point or another we have all had our feelings hurt. Sometimes it is easy to get over and other times we stew over the pain for weeks or more. The truth is, dismissive actions and words from others (especially close to us) can cut deep. For children, learning all about this thing called hurt and forgiveness is a tough road. It is our job as the nanny to help guide the learning and teach correct responses when it does happen.
Madison and Olivia are the best of friends and the worst of friends. When it comes to playing together on the playground, they seem to make it work until one wants to play a game that the other does not. This seems to create a part in the close-knit relationship that they have created over the years of knowing each other. Suddenly it is as though they cannot stand another second with the other person. Not only can Madison now not stand to look at Olivia, she must make their close mutual friends feel the same way. Kids can be mean. Can I get an amen?
Suddenly this fun play date turns into a war for popularity and attention. Madison rallies her closest friends (apart from Olivia) and moves forward with convincing them that playing with HER is the best option for their playground experience. If they only follow her to the other end of the playground they will have the swings to themselves and be able to sing all the latest Taylor Swift songs. Olivia, begins to sell her friends on the idea of creating a fort with sticks and rocks on the opposite end of the playground. Madison won. Now the quarrel has turned from a divided view on play activities, to who has more friends, to name calling. You can see where this is going.
Feelings have been hurt. The lines have been drawn in the sand and someone needs to intervene with some wise counsel before this play group turns into a fight club. This is where we come in.
I make my way over to sobbing Olivia on the stump to the left of the tree house. As I kneel down, before I can get a word in that would provoke her to spill her side of the story, she begins, “Madison is so mean! She says that nobody likes me and all our friends are her friends now. She doesn’t want to play with me anymore and I want to go home.” Realizing that for an 8-year- old this fight is as real as if it were my husband and I fighting (but we don’t do that 🙂 ). With careful words, I reassure her gently, “Olivia, I am sure that Madison did not mean all of the words that she said. I think that her feelings we hurt as well when you said that you didn’t want to participate in her activity because it was dumb.” “Sometimes when we get hurt, we say really mean things that we don’t mean.” I continue on about how Madison and her have been friends for a very long time, that her Madison work great together and then present the question, “Would you like to ask her if there is something that you both can agree on to play?” Faced with a choice of sitting on the sidelines of her friends playing, having one of her best friends upset with her, or moving forward to resolve the matter with a compromise, she chooses the latter.
Madison is eager to reunite! Once Olivia apologizes for her part in the disagreement and hurt feelings fiasco, they both share in a long giggle filled hug.
It is so important to reiterate to children that we are not perfect. There are going to be times when our friends lose their cool and grab the toy from our hands. When our mom comes home stressed from work and blows us off for her latest work text. Our dad cancels for the 2nd time because he just can’t miss this meeting. And yes, when we just plain do not agree with other people’s opinions or agendas. But this is the perfect time to teach: forgiveness, patience and self-control.
If the situation can be resolved? Try to resolve it. If it can’t? Try to teach and grow through it.
This is what we do as nannies. We teach our children how to forgive those who have wronged us, own their own part in the matter and move through and past the offense.