An emotional pain requires attention to heal just as much as a broken arm or bloody nose does. As parents, we need to recognize this. We need to help our kids recover and get back to living their lives. We don’t want them to hold on to, or be paralyzed by, emotions. Let’s see what happens when Julia is not invited to a friend’s birthday party.
“Mom, I’m so mad. I didn’t get invited to Morgan’s birthday party. She posted pictures with Layla and Erin, her new friends. We’ve been friends since third grade. I don’t get it.”
“Oh, Julia, I’m sorry.”
“Mom, why did she leave me out?” Tears stream down seventh grade Julia’s face.
Julia’s mom could walk away and leave it to her daughter to figure this out and deal with her emotions. But that’s not what she does. “You and Morgan were always good buddies. You’re disappointed”
“We’ve gone to each other’s parties forever. Why would she do this? We said we’d be friends forever!” Julia wipes her face with a tissue.
Julia’s mom puts an arm around her and walks her to the couch. “I know it’s so hard. However, I haven’t heard you talk about Morgan in a while.”
“Mom, you always tell me that not being invited to a birthday party isn’t a tragedy. And that after 24 hours I have to move on. But I’m sad. She is so nice; it’s not like her.”
“Sounds like you want to figure this out. Is that right?”
Julia thinks for a moment before answering. “Yes. I’ve made new friends too, like Lucy and Molly. We were in Art and Math together. I moved from Morgan’s table at lunch to sit with them.” Her tears stop.
“Sounds like lots of changes,” Mom says trying to help her daughter process and balance her emotions and recent events.
“Mom, maybe Morgan thought I didn’t want to be her friend anymore.”
“It’s hard to know.” Mom isn’t about to speculate.
“Maybe she thinks my new friends are more important to me. I didn’t mean to do that. We never talked about it. What do you think I should do, Mom?”
“Julia, I trust you to do what’s right for you.”
“I don’t want her to think it’s just about the party. I want to stay friends. Maybe she does, too.”
“You want to know where you stand. I admire you, Julia.”
“Yes. Can I invite her over?”
“Of course. How are you feeling now, Julia?”
“A little bad. Like maybe it’s partly my fault. But I’m not mad at her anymore.”
Mom hugs Julia and says, “Okay, if she needs a ride let me know. We’ll pick her up.”
As much as tweens don’t want conflicts with their friends it happens. And because tweens are always trying to figure who they are and where they fit, friendships change. Their yet to be mature brains don’t always put two and two together. We need to stand with our tweens to help them through. We’re the ones with experience.