Dear girls who play with my son,
Last time I found H in a scrambling match with one of you and took him to task. You remember that I'm sure. A few days back I found two of you again, walking away. One of you was in tears and the other, outraged on her behalf, for the same reason - a scuffle with a boy during a game, where her t-shirt got pulled.
But that's not the issue at all. The point is, there are some things you will need to understand when you play together. In a game that needs some amount of physicality, when one of the children is supposed to catch another (and count to ten while the other tries to free himself/herself), t-shirts will get pulled, dresses will fly, hands will be twisted, feet will be stepped upon.
You know the rules, right? You are the ones who put them in place along with the others. You cannot then, in all fairness, start to cry, or get angry or quit the game either. You will simply come across as a bad loser.
You're growing up, I know. You're becoming more conscious of yourself and the changes in you and that's just how it should be. But don't let it take away the fun from your playtime. Don't let it take away from your friendships.
Soon you'll all be grown up and out in the world - working, competing, playing and socialising with men, on an equal footing. Each time a situation like this crops up you cannot break into tears, you cannot get outraged and worse, you cannot withdraw.
If you do, just like in the playground, be prepared to be laughed at, or what's much much worse, patronised by the others. You'll hate it, take my word for that. Just as you will be left out of the game now, you will be shut out from the more exciting challenging opportunities to learn and grow and prove yourself.
Most importantly you'll miss out on many many good friendships. Men do make for wonderful companions - easy, uncomplicated, fun. I say that from experience. And that would be truly sad.
For now, I'll repeat the five simple rules I keep telling H -
1. Set the rules before the game - Make it clear what is acceptable and what is not. Do be reasonable and practical.
2. Dress for the playground - Wear sensible clothes: shorts, tights, jeans, running shoes.
3. Be prepared for some amount of rough play - It can be fun once you give up your 'I'm a girl I shouldn't do this' self image.
4. Accept no nonsense - But don't be over sensitive.
5. Assess the situation, the intention - An unintentional pull of the T shirt is NOT a bad touch.
Remember these rules. They work in the grown up world too - Set the rules, dress sensibly, be prepared to fight rough, accept no nonsense and asses an intention fairly.
For now, stop being girls or boys - just be friends.
Love and hugs
Mom of H.
Linking to ABC Wednesday , after a long long time, for the letter C for Change. It's good to be back here.