Lets Be Friends?

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Do you ever catch yourself doing something you’d rather you didn’t? Enjoying an episode of Geordie Shore? Overusing emoticons? Working an involuntary pout in the mirror? Relying too heavily on words like “cool” and “awesome”? Singing and dancing your way down the aisles to a supermarket jingle?

These holidays I caught myself doing something that I have since vowed to banish, none of the above, they’re all staying. I didn’t realise how much I was doing it until my partner in time pointed it out.

  • “Look Max there’s a little boy, you share the same gender, you should probably go and play with him”
  • “Hey Max did you see that little girl, you are roughly the same age, you guys would totally be great together”
  • “Wow Max that boy has a train on his t-shirt, you two are like kindred spirits, totes bffl’s”

Off he trots each time with an optimistic smile, a sense of anticipation and usually a toy offering to cement the deal. I’m waiting in the wings, hiding behind a bush, looking on with everything crossed, I can lip read his words – “can I play with you” or “can I be your friend?”. The outcome is usually the same; words are exchanged, gestures are made and Max spins on his heels and walks back wearing a look of dejection. “It’s okay Max, we’ll get the next one”.

“Why do you do that? How would you like it if your Dad picked your friends?” I would hate it if my Dad found my friends, it would be disastrous. “Look Matt that man over there looks as though he may have been born in the same decade as you and he is wearing the same brand of shoe as you. Now off you go and introduce yourself to him and ask if you can play together, don’t forget to use your happy face”.

He’s at an age now where he wants to be sociable and make friends, Max not my Dad, but he also takes the knock backs a little harder than he used to. In hindsight I don’t think that me pre-empting these knockbacks in the hope that one or two might ‘work out’ does him any good. In future I’ll let things happen organically and I won’t hide in the bushes anymore either because that’s a terrible look too.IMG_4549

What do you think?

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  • http://mylittlesunshinehouse.com/ Zanni Louise

    I think it’s a pretty natural thing to do. I try not to interfere too much in my daughter’s friend choices, but sometimes my biases emerge. It’s hard to suppress them! I think if you are aware of your tendency it’s okay. You are obviously a great dad, and that’s what really matters.

    • daddownunder

      I have so much time to think Zanni, sometimes I think I think too much, I think.

  • http://awesomelyunprepared.com/ KezUnprepared

    Haha you crack me up – sorry to say this but what a cute post. I think all parents find themselves doing something similar at some point – you make some good arguments not to! I think it’s important our little ones face a little rejection and learn how to do deal with it, but you’re right – it should maybe be more on their terms.

    • daddownunder

      Cute? I wasn’t aiming for cute, I was going for deep and philosophical ; )

  • http://blog.downthatlittlelane.com.au/ Tessa White

    So funny, yep I leave them to it these days and IF they start playing with someone I then ask them to be polite and introduce themselves to which I usually get .. WHY?
    “Manners come for free bud” is my answer but I do often think ‘ good point!’

    • daddownunder

      “Manners come for free” – just written that down, I’m having that. Happy New year Tessa

  • http://www.jfgibson.com.au/ Jodi Gibson

    We all do it. I just did it with Miss 8 at the caravan park, she plucked up the courage and now we have hardly seen her since! Give it time. But really, I can’t believe that he is getting rejected. That sucks :(

    • daddownunder

      3 year olds can be so cruel Jodi, especially a pack of girls playing shop : ) The campsite was full of kids with friends and siblings and for the first time I felt a little something resembling parent guilt that he was on his own, not really our fault but logic can go out the window sometimes.

  • Mel

    I used to do it a bit with my daughter too.. but now she is a bit more independent she’s quite good at it herself.. in fact.. quite forward.. “My name is Issy, what’s you name?” then launching into bossing some small child around for a game.. But only if its a small crowd.. anymore than about 5 kids and she is back behind my legs.. which worries me no end for the start of kindy in a month.. I’ve always been able to shield or explain away meaness or nastiness.. but no longer.. :-(

    • daddownunder

      I’m sure the idea of kindy is a little scary for both of you right now Mel but she sounds like she’ll do just fine. I suppose we all have to accept that we aren’t going to be able to shield them from everything (as much as we want to) and that it’s part and parcel of growing. Hope it all goes well