Every now and then the issue of friendships comes up for my kids and I try so hard not to let my own experiences colour my opinions or advice for my children.
I had such a hard time making friends as a child. Time and again this comes back to haunt me as an adult - the feelings of inadequacy and lack of confidence when it comes to mixing with others. Especially if there is a person whom I really want to be friends with! I find myself falling back into old patterns of 'testing' friendships and relationships because I find it so hard to believe that 'cool' people want to have me as a friend.
If I still struggle as an adult, it's no wonder that kids have issues.
How do we help our children become confident friends to others and keep their self-esteem? Obviously whatever I did as a child has had a huge effect on me as an adult and even though I can speak to myself matter-of-factly, it doesn't have an affect on my emotions or how my heart feels.
Even when I think I've worked through it and come out the other side, it still comes up every now and then and wham - I feel like a kid strugglling again.
Anyone have similar experiences or have advice??
Wow, I am soo similar. I analyze friendships too much, though my daughter is more outgoing than me, she seems to steer clear of the 'cool' kids and like me makes friendships with much older and funny enough kids born from overseas. I worry that my lack of social etiquette will affect my daughters performance. I have really gone out of my way in terms of comfort zone as I attend the play centers etc... I have no long term friendships as I attended four primary schools, 2 intermediates, 2 colleges and 3 universities. I am just starting to make some roots, when hubby wants us to move 1 hour in opposite direction.
Beyond this, I cannot force my daughter to be what she is not. And if she follows my footsteps, I have been there and I can support her and understand her, though I believe the " girl factor" at schools has intensified since I was ther.
Soooo glad I am not alone. I do see a lot of myself in my daughter, and at once stage I did try to change nature, but, it came back two fold, so I have just learnt to let live.
I still do find making adult friends difficult, especially one similar children the same age. At one stage I had a choice of sending my daughter to a school which is very social, but would not extend her, or one that has little parent interaction but good acceleration. I chose acceleration. Look rambling. Again, thank you for posting this!
Hi - Some years ago I posted to this forum during a really difficult time for our family in dealing with our then 13yr son, the advise and support I received was invaluable and enabled us to keep slogging on. I have often thought I would like to post here again with how things are turning out and just to encourage others dealing with difficult situations of a similar nature.
My son is 2x exceptional and was ostracised by other children, bullied and had no friends. He had taken to his room and spent many hours on his computer playing flight sim. When not in his room he was aggressive, withdrawn and vry vry sad. We had homeschooled up until yr 9 but could not continue in the face of his resistance and intense dislike of everything and everyone at the time. We tried an 'alternative' school which was a disaster, my son having developed severe OCD by the end of the year and refusing to attend. He chose the next school which turned out to be truly 'alternative' and a spectacular success. Within months he had made friends, unplugged his computer and taken up PE and Outdoor Ed! It seems what had been lacking was him being able to immerse himself in knowledge well beyond what we could teach at home, although his years of homeschooling had taught him many good skills which he now acknowledges. He was Dux in year 12 and again in year 13. He is now 18, has completed his first year at University where he has again achieved highest possible scores completing both first and second year papers. He has many friends, organises tramping trips away, regularly heads out in the wilderness with his kayak, is training for his first full marathon this year. He still has his moments but these are the usual teenage things and I remind myself when he rocks on home at 2 in the morning that I'm happy he has had somewhere to be and is enjoying his life.
Six or so years ago I despaired as to what would become of us and couldn't have forseen the change. We've been able to rebuild our relationships within the family and are very grateful that we never gave up but allowed him to find his way and do things his way.
So please any of you struggling take heart sometimes things work out if you go with your gut feeling of what is best for your child.
Im pretty sure, given how many parents here will likely be gifted themselves (even if they dont identify themselves as such), it is probably something that the parents will struggle more with than most - our own emotional intensity can be a mixed blessing.
Being such a diverse population, what works is helpful is likely to vary greatly also.
For me, having a cognitive assessment done for myself as well as my daughter has proved incredibly helpful with respecting to seperating out my own issues/experiences etc from those of my daughter.
While we do share characteristics in common, what the cognitive assessment shows is that she definitely ISNT a "younger version of me" in terms of what she processes and how - although she might share some similar experiences.
My situation is a bit the reverse of yours Rebecca - I WAS 'the cool kid' that everyone wanted to be friends with .... but it never "sat right" with me .... these kids didnt really KNOW me and most certainly didnt "get me" .... they wanted to hang out with me because I was "the cool kid" .... well ok maybe thats a little inaccurate - there did seem to be "something about me" that drew people generally .... but in terms of my personal experience, it didnt sit any better with me that others liked to be my friend .... and yes I too often used to analyse very deeply the question of WHY.
It wasnt low self esteem .... it was that 'the pieces of the puzzle didnt fit right' and I could never figure out why/how.
The reason I couldnt is because, like most, I had grown up with the belief that lots of friends is good and ultimately desirable - lack of friends - bad bad bad - there MUST be something wrong with you. I never did manage to really "connect" with kids my own age - and later on as a young adult I spent many years trying REALLY HARD to be more "likable" because I thought that was what I was MEANT to do (try harder to fit in and all) .... but man what a miserable failure at it I was. Eventually the REAL ME would start revealing herself and honestly - although nothing of the sort was ever said - the reaction was consistantly that people felt betrayed - I wasnt the person I had led them to believe I was.
Then in my 30's I discovered I actually REALLY didnt care if I had friends or not .... I REALLY enjoyed keeping my own company ..... and the penny dropped ..... well no wonder having all these "friends" my own age didnt sit right DOH!
Having returned to Nelson where I grew up - its been quite insightful. I actually did make some enduring connections during my time here growing up - but if I had remained so socially orientated those relationships would have been "crowded out".
After decades of being away from Nelson, I have returned to discover that those "agemates" still recognise me - but even the ones I spent a lot of time with, there isnt a real connection there.
And yet within 2 months of being here I had restablished relationships where that connection is there. They are ALL males and considerably older than me - although now its no longer "inapporpriate" .... but not only that, they are also "displaced persons" themselves. Even WAY back then in the hustle and bustle of very hectic social lives these "breakfast club" candidates still intuitively recognised each other and connected - though you wouldnt have known it from our interactions back then.
In earlier years, believing I had "failed" in terms of social connections, I tried REALLY hard to "help" my daughter "succeed". In hindsight, I should have just let her be, listened and not been so 'emotionally invested' in her social outcomes so she wouldnt be left believing that she NEEDS to be a certain way socially (accepted , have lots of friends etc) to be "successful".
And those much older "dark horses" and "misfits" that I gravitated towards back then .... they are running their own businesses today, have unusual hobbies they immerse themselves in and enjoy a level of conversation I would be hardpressed to find elsewhere and topics for "chit chat" that I would have no opportunity to engage in with those I had been trying to make friends with previously.
That was MY journey to make .... my process of discovery of self and others .... and you know what - it looked ALL WRONG to others looking from the outside in.
While my daughter did make some associations were, as a mother, I had an ABSOLUTE obligation to intervene (at one stage she had gone awol and ended up in the company of members of the Headhunters gang - luckily for her, they were high up in the organisation and had concerns for her themselves - so I was able to sit down and have a conversation with them and put a plan in place to address that in a way that would help keep her safe but ensuring she would stay away from gangs in general) - I REALLY understand being afraid for your child socially believe me! But that aside - and lets face it there are some very high risk social connections other than just gangs out there - it really is important I dont act as a barrier to her being able to take HER journey.
OK will start another post from a different angle. It might or not apply to you.
Ok heres another angle that if not applicable to you Rebecca may still be helpful to someone else.
I cant remember if you ended up deciding that perhaps you were VS (or leaned that way) or not. (Sorry my bad).
The actual VS process itself can create the appearance of "not having got over" something when actually you have. Something I think it would be REALLY helpful for therapists etc to understand.
VS, as many will be aware is a VERY powerful way of processing and of course, a very different way of processing to the norm. The organisational structure of VS is very different - spatial rather than chronological. What this means is that how our MEMORY of our experiences is also somewhat different. Even if we are not consciously aware of our "visualisations" they are there and to the VS individual the "meanings" inherant in the imagery is also different.
Do note, as always there may be SOME overlap with "normal" memories (which I understand are visual also? uhhhhh LOL) but because I am VS, I dont have much ability to see how that works !
The visual memories are organised according to significance - no time referencing at all .... the more significant the more vivid the memory is .... and the more detailed the information within the visualisation. In my observation, this is true even if the visualisation is not apparent to conscious awareness.
So you have this "silent movie" where you just "know" the dialogue from the visual details ..... but the signficant ones arent just some ho-hum b grade movie .... they are an absolute masterpiece - you are an "observer" - unable to intervene at all .... watching another human being (in this case a young child) go through this experience that, due to the genuis of the movie maker, draws you into HER experience (the fact it is yourself is actually incidental) .... ALL of her experience - her thoughts, her feelings - EVERYTHING.
How can you NOT "feel for her" as you would for any human being in the same circumstance who has that same response. If it was the BEST day of her life, a profoundly touching experience, wouldn't you find it immensely difficult not to have a tear spill out?
Sometimes something can trigger a memory to "flash" for a split second - those ones can REALLY catch you by surprise because there isnt time to "filter" them - the imagery itself is gone before you have a chance so you are left having been "flooded" with this immensely intimate "peek" into someones life.
Other times we can more deliberately "use" a filtered version of that same movie - but censoring out the parts that wont be helpful in the context of the situation we ourselves are in.
This is the essence of the genuis of the gifted writer .... whether its personal memories of their own, or someone elses, of those of a person/s they have created in their own imagination ...... to be able to look into those experiences and events (real or imagined) and ALLOW themslves to live the experience of doing so, honestly, without any defences (walls) up to protect themselves from the emotional experience of doing so .... and to be able to do so, for sustained periods, from the position of the observer and "the reporter"..... the "reporter" is typing every intricate detail of the experience the observer is observing ...... with the very words themselves seeming to somehow magically have asorbed every aspect of the "events" - with emotions, implications and other things unwritten seeming to "seep"or even explode from the very words themselves depending upon what the author is describing.
One of the dangers of the modern age is misinformation ..... it is so easy to be bombarded with information that actually doesnt apply to you in a way that makes it SEEM that it does .... and there are SO MANY generalisations and over-generalisations out there - particularly in psychology - so many assumptions made!
Even if one isnt VS - who knows what other differences out there we dont even know about that could overlap in some way and the same be true - or result in the same outcome for COMPLETELY different reasons that no one has even conceived of yet!
My money would absolutely be on you being "over it" - perhaps the IDEA that you arent "playing with you" just a little - but I doubt very much its an "unresolved issue" - my totally unqualified opinion of course.
I also get a sense from your writing that you actually KNOW that you are over it .... but its confusing you because these "instances" contradict your understanding of how resolved issues should "behave" LOL.
Also, I think you know me well enough by now for me to be able to say, without causing offense THANK YOU SO MUCH for writing that - I have been dying a slow and painful death with my psychology papers - everything is so very predictable and well, unquirky!
Thank you for reminding me WHY I am doing these papers and need to keep going!
Things like this, which can seem relatively trivial, or even mere "curiosities" to us as adults, can be so very very confusing when young particularly, even frightening.
I really do hope I can help make this world a less frightening, less isolating, less confusing place to live in, in some small way :)
Rebecca, you could be describing me and, yes, I still struggle with this too! Have somehow managed to turn out three reasonably resilient kids who have formed social networks of their own though. Hardest thing I found (and still find) was not projecting my uncertainties on to them.