Today I found out that I hurt a friends feelings, she has now told me about it and we were able to talk, I was able to apologise and our friendship is intact and maybe it will even be stronger. I make note of this and share it because you will find that our children don’t have the same ability, to work through their issues regarding friendships. They lack the social skills needed and it is scary! I know that I was frightened that I was going to be dumped (and I am a 52 year old woman). It was automatic to think this, as my inner working model tells me that everyone will leave. Why do I share this? Our children are working from a negative working model and likely do not have the ability to “fix” things, to take the step needed to deal with issues, they need additional understanding and help.
Long ago I did not have anyone telling me the complexities of friendships and I messed up a lot along the way. I experienced trusting people I should not trust, I was taken advantage of often, and did things…being a “follower” in order to keep my friends. You will likely see the same things in your children. You are older and wiser, you can see things your child can’t and so you wonder why they don’t do what they need to do…well they can’t, they aren’t there yet. How do you fix this and or keep them safe?
You can’t. What you can do is be there when things don’t work, and sometimes you can explain what went wrong. You may be able to give them some tools to help them understand social niceties or reframe something to help them understand. One thing you cannot do it fix the issue, they will go through awkward moments and they will be hurt and lose friends. They will also make friends that are not healthy. I want you to know that there is hope…just like you made it through the awkward years they will too.
I learned about healthy friendships late in life and I can now hold onto friendships for longer, but my IWM still gets in the way. Please be patient, be there when they need you, but above all understand that they are not able to do what you so want them too…to make the same healthy decisions that you are now able to make. I wish they could…I wish they did…they will one day, until then be their safety net and understand how hard it really is to gain those much needed social skills.