I knew that having two daughters would be a double edged sword – fun with all the girly stuff and frustrating with the eye rolling puberty stuff. What I didn’t realize was how hard that the difference in both girls can be and how heartbreaking as a mom it would be. I have two beautiful girls that have so many talents and wonderful traits about them. They both have a sense of humor, a sassy swag that makes you laugh, big hearts that come with big tears and big hugs, strong personalities and a wonderful view of the world. One daughter is popular, lots of friends, a wise soul and can try a sport or gymnastic move with ease and grace. Loves being with people, is very empathetic and loves to babysit and save money. Our other daughter struggles in school, spends her money as fast as she gets it, has no desire to babysit or even do chores for money. Because of her struggles with social interaction, non verbal skills and in some ways on the spectrum for social skills…she has ONE friend.
As a mother my heart breaks for her and her social struggles. She knows right from wrong and we teach her how to be a good friend…etc. But because she is perceived as “different” among middle schoolers her age because of her “issues” – no one gives her a chance. Friends she once had when life was easy in the elementary years no longer give her the time a day and can be down right mean. I understand friendships change along the way through school and life, I get that and have lived it. But does that give kids the right to be rude and mean??? I admit, I can be rude and mean if in a bad mood, who isn’t? But to intentionally be rude and mean to a person because they don’t fit the “normal” mold is just sad. Instead of concentrating on not bullying, how about we concentrate on how to be a good friend and including people that aren’t the most popular, the richest, the prettiest, the most fun? When a child is different and stuggles with social issues they have a happy face and a sad heart. That sad heart can lead to greater, sadder things down the line in life. Being a mother is the hardest job…no doubt about it. And when you see your child hurt and screaming inside because no one calls her, no one invites her to things, people laugh at her quirkiness, or discard her because she is different and wont give her a chance…that breaks a mother. Obviously no one wants a pity call or a pity invite. That is not what I am saying at all. I want kids to be taught that no one teen is better than another. Every time a kid on the bus is mean to her, every time a kid rolls their eyes at her, every time boys at lunch laugh at her and every time kids don’t talk to her…it darkens her. They do this because she can’t read social cues that you and I take for granted. When kids laugh AT her she thinks she is funny and they are laughing WITH her. That is how Non Verbal Disorder works. So in turn that makes her different. Which in turn doesn’t fit “the mold” of a regular teenager. Which results in the question I hear every week:
“Why don’t I have friends like sissy?!” – How does a mother answer that?! What do I tell my daughter?