Mom, I don't have any friends!

Mom, I don't have any friends!

Last week, as I was packing up the jump rope after recess, Violet was upset. She had wanted to be the rope turner, but just as someone gave her a shot, the bell rang and she couldn't take a turn. She held onto me and sobbed.

"Honey? Honey, you'll have more time tomorrow," I tried to untangle her arms from around my waist. "Vi, come on." She sobbed harder. "Listen, let's go sit by your friends until your teacher comes, you'll feel better."

"But Mama, I don't have any friends."

My blood absolutely went cold. This was the sentence I'd feared hearing ever since I noticed that Violet was often alone at school, left out of the girl-cliques in her class.

I instantly started arguing with her, naming girls she liked and who she'd played with recently.

"Not any friends, Mom, I meant, I don't have many friends at school, especially at recess," she hissed to me. Just then her teacher came to pick up the class, so I had to hug her goodbye and assure her we'd talk more about this later.

The knowledge that Violet was sad was a big rock in my gut. But that very day, another mom was picking Vi up so I could attend a meeting at school. Violet and another little girl would have the afternoon to play...maybe she wouldn't feel so friendless when she came back.

It's true! She didn't! "I like it better when I'm over there and she has to play with me," she confided as we sat together on the stairs up to our apartment. I couldn't even get in the door before I started hugging her and wanting to talk to her.

"Violet, I'm not sure what you say about having no friends is accurate. I am at your school all the time. I see you talking to and hanging out with other kids. And your personality, you're fun! And nice! Everyone seems to like you."

She nods at this. It's true. "But the place I see you being alone a lot is at recess." She nods again. "Why is that?"

She starts to cry again. "Everyone plays running games, and I'm not a good runner, and I don't like to run. Or they play on the monkey bars, and I can't do the monkey bars."

And the light went on over my head. It's the same effing troubles, back again. Sensory problems and motor problems, rearing their heads once again. Violet is slow and a little clumsy. She's right, she can't really navigate the monkey bars. When she runs, she's slower than other kids. She trips. She's always first caught in tag. She fears playing games where people will be too loud, and hurt her sensitive ears.

It's a problem! At her age, the way the kids relate to each other at recess is on the playground, chasing each other around. If she can't do that, or she's not good at it, she misses that time of casual relating to the other kids. She's alone at recess. And she feels like she has no friends.

I relate this to her, and she nods. "It's not that you can't make friends, Violet. It's that you have a hard time doing what they do at recess." She gets it. I hug her head hard. "I'll always be your friend, honey. And your personality, it's great! There's nothing about you that people don't like, but we're going to have to work on recess somehow."

She buried her head on my shoulder. I think we both felt a little better. I'm not sure how to fix the problem yet. But knowing what the problem is, and knowing that it's not that Vi's somehow unlikeable or weird (her teacher, in fact, assured me that she's not the "weird girl." But she is the "invisible girl," said the teacher), made us both feel better.

Now, how to fix the problem? I suggested maybe we could practice on the monkey bars, but Violet was horrified by that idea. Practice, in front of everybody? No way.

It helps some that I'm the recess monitor and can suggest games everyone can play together that don't necessarily revolve around how fast one can run or aren't competitive. When I'm there at recess, she loves playing hopscotch, or follow the leader, or under the big parachute.

Other than that, I'm looking for ideas.

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Watch the video: I have No Friends - Motivational speech by Tata Ratan propel (January 2022).

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