One of the twins has a friend who is nice one day, and then not so nice the next. I know that with girls this can happen, but with this particular person it can be minute-by-minute and usually is based on whether my daughter has agreed or not agreed to sit next to her, eat with her, etc.
I describe this as manipulation and yes, it starts as early as 2nd grade.
Actually, with some kids it starts earlier depending on how much their parents have given into it.
Life Lesson #1: People who try to make YOU do, say, act, or think what they want are trying to manipulate you.
Here's how we discussed it and I wrote it from the 'I' perspective because I can't tell YOU what to do, I can only tell you what has worked for me.
When someone's friendship depends on whether I agree to sit next to them at an assembly, a red warning flag goes up in my mind. When that person is sooo nice to me one day, and then is BFF with someone else (usually one of my other close friends) the next day, they are trying to get a reaction out of me. They are trying to get me to act a certain way and be the friend THEY want me to be.
But I am my own person. I have my own mind, and I can be friends with whomever I want to be friends with. Infact! I will be sure NOT to abandon my other friends because this fair-weather 'friend' will turn on me again someday. And I want real friends there when they do.
Life Lesson #2: You can't make anyone do, say, act or think anything they don't want to do
Again, from MY perspective, the only person I can really control is me. I can't make someone do or act a certain way, but I can control my reaction to how they are acting. I can choose to not be upset, or I can choose to let it ruin my day. I can control my expectations of a person, or of an event. But I can't control the outcome.
Once you accept this, life gets so much easier.
Life Lessons in a Lifetime Movie: Reviving Ophelia
The other day I had the opportunity to see a preview of a new Lifetime movie, 'Reviving Ophelia'. The title gives reference to Ophelia, the woman who supposedly made Hamlet mad with love. In it two mothers are having problems with their daughters - one rebellious, the other in an abusive relationship. We see how young teens who have never been in love can misinterpret control and manipulation for love. To them, the person is caring, attentive, and deeply loving. One minute the boyfriend is sweet, the next he is enraged, hits his girlfriend, and blames her for it. Later, he is sweet and apologetic.
It's the same situation as we see starting in second grade, but the consequences are much different.
"If you don't sit next to me I won't be your BFF"
"If you loved me you wouldn't get me so mad I'd fly off the handle like that and hit you."
This means it's never too soon to start talking to kids about what it means to be friends, to be loved, and to be sure of oneself enough to know when something is wrong.
'Reviving Ophelia' airs Monday, October 11th at 9:00pm.