Evaluating Kindergarten Friendships

We sat on the couch, side by side, like we often do, her hand in my hair for comfort, while she chatted about her time at her nannies, her friends, and going back to school after the March Break.

“Mom, sometimes I let Emma* butt in front of me, but I don’t mind, that means she’s my friend.”

My heart leapt into my throat.

Emma was a name we had heard several times throughout the school year and one that was usually linked to our daughter giving things away in order to hold onto the friendship or “buy” the friendship. We stressed to her the importance of her being friends with kind children and that friendship was free.

Looking down at her I saw the innocence in her face and wanted so badly to shield her from all of the Emma’s she would meet in her life.

We discussed ways that she could avoid having Emma butt in front of her and what a good friend brings to the relationship vs a poor friend. We talked about what friendship means to her and if the people she surrounded herself with met her definition.

Discussing this with an almost five-year old isn’t that easy but we divided it into a pro’s and con’s list looking at the good choices her friends made vs the bad and we found that the majority of her friends were kind, giving, and fun to be around.

We also found there were a few that were not so fun to hang around, were often unkind, and always expecting things from her.

Evaluating her relationships and taking a look helped her see that not all friendships are alike and she was in charge of who she lets into her life.

Using problem solving skills and with our assistance, she was able to come up with a plan for the next time a child wanted to butt in front of her or the next time a friend wasn’t kind, which gave her the self-esteem to handle Emma.

She could choose to walk away, ignore, talk it through, compromise, tell them to stop, etc. depending on the situation.

Providing her with the tools and the problem solving skills meant she was able to make her own decisions when it came to friends and she felt in control.

And discussing on a regular basis how her friendships were going meant she had an outlet and could check in with us regularly regarding her relationships.

This parenting thing isn’t easy and there isn’t a handbook to prepare you.

But with the right tools and communication we might make it through this week.









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9 Responses to Evaluating Kindergarten Friendships
  1. Kimberly
    March 25, 2015 | 9:32 am

    Oh it is so hard at this age. They’re still trying to figure this whole socialization thing out. I bet this Emma has siblings who do this to her.
    S is such a kind heart and she wants to make people happy and she doesn’t see what is happening. I’m glad that you’re teaching her things like this. She needs to know that friendships aren’t bought and that you are not a door mat. xo

  2. Nicole
    March 27, 2015 | 5:18 am

    Thank you for this post. Very poignant with a four year old daughter. She seems to have just reached that stage where friendships are being tested and babies become little girls that often can’t express their feelings for each other. My little girl is so kind hearted but I think she can be too sensitive for some kids these days. It’s a hard one. She seems to have a ‘love-hate’ friendship with a girl at school and I’m trying to encourage kindness and caring from both sides as much as possible. ha Not easy!

    • multitaskingmumma
      March 30, 2015 | 1:50 pm

      You’re so right. Not easy at all. This is the age where they begin to develope these relationships and we are there to guide them into the right spaces and places within those relationships. It is a hard one, while they play innocently we sit back chewing our nails lol.

  3. Carrie Baughcum
    March 27, 2015 | 7:33 am

    There is an “Emma” in my oldest daughters class. She’s nice to her sometimes and then other times mean and manipulative other times. My daughter still remembers the first talk we had about her, protect your heart I called it. How else do you describe it to a five year old who thinks everyone should be kind and honest and loving. I worry all the time that this girl will break my daughters heart but like you I work to give her the tools and then all we really can do is hope and trust…man it’s hard!!!

    • multitaskingmumma
      March 30, 2015 | 1:48 pm

      I love that so much, Carrie! “Protect your heart.” I might just borrow that!

  4. Robin Follette
    March 27, 2015 | 8:37 am

    There’s an Emma in my 21 year old daughter’s group of friends. The other young women in the group bounce between frustrated, insulted, hurt and feeling sorry for her. There’s always an Emma, I think.

    • multitaskingmumma
      March 30, 2015 | 1:47 pm

      I couldn’t agree more with you, and I find it interesting that even at 21 there’s still an Emma.

  5. Steena Hammer
    March 29, 2015 | 8:26 pm

    I lived through this exact kind of relationship with my daughter and a classmate in kindergarten. So I got a hold of the mom and encouraged the girl come play at our house one day. They fought almost non-stop. Didn’t talk for three days. Then begged and begged foot another playdate. They fought almost non-stop again. This cycle went on throughout the school year. They separated for the summer, came back in first grade and amazingly get along. I think some girls that are bossy like that really just need a friend that’s softer to balance them out. Hope your girl found her way to handle this bossy girl situation at school! You’re so far from alone in your struggle.

    • multitaskingmumma
      March 30, 2015 | 1:47 pm

      Good for you for encouraging the children to play together and get over their disagreements. It worked out beautifully for you! That might be an option, have them play for a bit and work it out.

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