“I do feel bad for this new kid but I don’t think we have room for any more friends and I don’t want to disturb the dynamic the boys have already created”
Exact words said to me by a local parent who was lamenting the potential disruption of the sacred bond and dynamic created between her son and a few other boys through the years. The kids are in 7th grade and are on the same sports teams.
This new kid has no chance at building a natural social life because the parents have already decided that it’s too much – and they already had a good thing going with the group they had – and adding a new kid would throw away the years of careful social cultivation of friendships that they (the parents) have worked so hard for.
Is this a fear? Are we afraid that our kids will be bullied, left out, fail at social life if a new child comes in to disrupt the dynamic? Or are parents just too involved these days? Are parents still helicoptering their middle and high schoolers?
As we all settle into the school year, let’s not forget one very important aspect. Let’s not forget about the new kids.
Whether it’s Elementary, Middle or High school… being the newbie is nerve-wracking for both the new parent and child. The social pressures of fitting in seem to be accelerated now more than ever.
Sometimes it really feels like it’s the parents running this charade, not the kids.
I have certainly been on the receiving end of this idea as well… a group dynamic within the moms groups that dare not be disturbed by a new mom moving to the neighborhood. The difference is that I’m a grown adult who moves on and lets things roll off.
But what does this do to kids who are socially stressed, overly aware of themselves, and just want to fit in?
This Back-To-School season, don’t forget the new kids. Be nice. Be kind. Be inclusive not exclusive. Just a simple hello, come sit with us at lunch, where did you move from… or any small gesture will make a huge difference in an already anxious – new kid in town– child. You don’t have to jump in and be besties… but at least make the new kid feel welcome. It will mean the world to them!
And parents…maybe we should just let the kids be!