All three of our sons have successfully navigated the sixth grade. Our oldest daughter made her way through and survived as well. As parents, we seem to be establishing a track record that indicates that “this too shall pass”. However, we are in the midst of a rather rocky sixth grade voyage with kid number four. Frankly, for parents who know just how fast time typically flies, we see sixth grade as a very long and rocky ride.
Our daughter’s best friend went to a different school this year. Our sixth grader misses her deeply and craves daily close communication with her best friend. She is trying to find her way with the other girls in the class and is having a hard time filling the void. I know that kids who come from hard places sometimes have difficulty with friendships. I know that my daughter’s very real and deep-seated concerns kicked up when her friend left. The intense way that sixth graders attach and detach from friends must be exacerbating those feelings. She is seeking to find a new best friend and yet she oddly can’t seem to figure out how to navigate through this unfamiliar territory. It seems that one minute she is complaining that her new “best friend candidate” is mean to her and the next minute she is lobbying for a sleepover with that very girl. I’m starting to feel a bit bi-polar each time she tells me about her day. And then….I feel even more bi-polar when one minute I feel deeply sorry for her and the next minute I wish she would stop whining!
I really do know that “this too shall pass”. I really do know that sixth grade is a very short season. We are trying to be present for our daughter. We are trying to push closer even as she pulls away. We are trying to create time and space that she can visit with her best friend as well as providing her with social opportunities so she can create more friendships. We have been in close communication with her teacher at school. Her teacher has been great with helping her process her loss at school and watching for opportunities to promote positive social interaction among the girls as they figure out new social structures.
Friendships, girls and sixth grade, just may be a toxic combination. We are praying our kiddo through, closing our eyes and hoping for the best. If any of you moms who are parenting sixth grade girls want to form a support club, let me know. Here goes, “My name is Laura and I am parenting a sixth grade girl.”