My daughter has been having slumber parties nearly every weekend since winter break, anywhere from four to seven girls. I know; we’re crazy.
Or are we?
Do they take turns being the main drama queen? Absolutely. They are 12 and 13-year-olds, after all.
The thing is, every time they create these little dramas I get the chance to work through issues with them, something I wish people had done for me when I was younger.
I think the biggest thing I notice is pretty normal for the junior high crowd – a sense of entitlement and lack of accountability. Here’s the thing, though, it might be normal to see this in teens, but we shouldn’t shrug it off. Someone needs to help them see the world through a more empathetic lens.
Rhiannon and I have a lot of conversations, because we need to talk things out to feel better and find solutions. I think her friends are still a little uncomfortable with our closeness. One even said, “I feel like I can’t tell you things, Rhiannon, because you’ll tell your mom, and I’m afraid she’ll tell my parents.” Rhiannon told her to ask me if I would. My response? “If I feel like you’re harming yourself or others, I will definitely talk with your parents. If I feel like it’s normal 7th grade stuff that doesn’t require our intervention, then I would love to be someone you trust and would only tell your parents if you asked me to.”
[Their parents know that I’ve told them this, too.]
At a recent slumber party, Rhiannon was spending time away from her friends, pouting, actually. When I asked why, she said she was upset that they had “wrecked” her room that she spent three hours cleaning. She was madder, though, that one had yelled at her, “You could help us clean up, you know!” It made her feel like she was being blamed for something she didn’t do, one of her biggest stressors.
So that night we got to talk about accountability and fairness.
“Would you think it was fair if you had worked for three hours to clean your room and your friends came over and made a mess?”
“Would you like it, if they yelled at you to fix what you had already cleaned just hours before?”
“Do you think it’s kind to make the person who invited you over feel unwelcome in her own bedroom?”
“If something is really your fault, do you think it’s nice to make someone else fix it or make them feel like they did something wrong?”
One of her friends called my words “aggressive” (she also said this about her mom’s words – I was lucky to have another mama bear with me), so we had even more to talk about.
And it’s okay. We’re building world changers over here. I love it.