Friday, October 24, 2008

OT: Hugs to the lonely

Like many bloggers, I use a statistics tracker on this website to get a better idea of who my visitors are and what they are searching for. Most of the time, this information is mildly interesting, letting me know, for example, that "weird animal names" is a popular search string. Sometimes, people are searching for things that make me wonder too, like "How many ping-pong balls would it take to fill the Grand Canyon?" Only rarely do I see a search term that makes me sad.

A couple of times now, I've read "my child/son/daughter never gets invited to birthday parties" as a search string. And I've felt terrible. Do you know where they've landed? On one of my pages about ants. How useless is that? So, I want to write a post for my friends who are feeling sad because they are missing out on parties.

First of all, as a mother, I can relate. There's nothing worse than watching your child in pain. And I can relate to being a lonely child. When I was nine, we moved to a new state and I started a new school. It was a terrible, horrible experience for me. I spent the next four years -- 5th through 8th grade -- as the scapegoat of the class scapegoat. So, while the rest of the class was teasing her, she was teasing me. Sixth grade was brutal and ranks right up there as one of the worst, if not the worst, years of my life.

For my young friends who are struggling in school, please keep this in mind: this is a temporary situation. I wish I had realized that. I went on to make new friends in high school, successfully move to an out-of-state college, graduate, get a job, get married, go back to school, have babies ... you get the picture. This time of your life feels like hell on earth and like there are no options and you are just stuck. But everything has a season and if you give up now, you aren't going to make it to the good stuff. So hang in there.

One of the things that got me through that awful time was that I had a separate circle of friends outside of school. So, my advice would be to try out a number of activities where you can make new friends: boy/girl scouts, church groups, karate classes. Don't berate yourself if these social activities don't work out either, but do keep looking until you find a place where you fit in. Find yourself a haven from your troubles and remember that you are a good and valuable person, no matter what anyone else says.

For those giving care to someone in this situation, have a talk with the school. My older son's kindergarten and grade school both instituted rules that if you don't invite the whole class to the party, you can't use school time to distribute the invitations. I like this rule because it takes some of the sting out of not being invited.

Reassure your child that they are not to blame and project the confidence that they don't feel -- remind them that they will get through this and show that you believe it and believe in them. And, if you are so inclined, pray for them to make new friends. I've heard wonderful stories about the power of prayer in these kinds of situations.

And remember that Mama Joules is thinking of you. :)

No comments: