Sunday, May 08, 2011

Teaching Friendship

This past weekend Lindsey had a birthday slumber party. After last year's birthday shenanigans, we decided to tone things down a bit, keep it to just a few close friends and have a slumber party, instead of a party with lots and LOTS of friends.

I insisted that she keep it to three guests for a total of four girls. That way if they ended up pairing off in activities or games, there would be an even number. And there was no way I was dealing with six girls, four was quite enough, thank you.

She had a hard time deciding which three of her friends would be her guests.

After weeks of debating and discussing, she made the decision and excluded a very close friend of hers whom she sees five days a week at her before and after school program, as well as in the classroom. Her reasoning was that she sees this friend all the time, and the party was an opportunity to spend time with other friends who either aren't in her class or don't go to Minneapolis KIDS (the before/after school program).

I asked Lindsey a day after this decision was made if that was who she wanted at her party, and to make sure she did not want this one very close friend. Yep, she was sure. So I emailed the moms of the invitees to make sure that weekend was set aside, and a week later Lindsey brought invitations in for her three friends.

Her dear friend who hadn't been invited was crushed. Right after handing out invitations after arriving at school Lindsey came up to me and whispered, "Can I change who I ask?" No you can't, your other friends have already been asked. "Can I invite one more?" she whispers. No you can't, that is the rule.

She felt really bad for her friend who had been excluded. And then she came upon a different solution.

"Can I have a sleepover just with her one time to celebrate my birthday?" Yes, absolutely, we can have a sleepover with just this one friend, some other weekend.

That seemed to satisfy her.

During the past week Lindsey tried not to talk about her sleepover in front of her one friend, knowing that it made her feel bad, and kept reassuring her that some other weekend they would have a sleepover to celebrate. I'm glad she was thinking of her friend and caring for her feelings.

Overall the sleepover was a big hit. Everyone had a great time and no one seemed to get excluded from activities. But it was also an interesting lesson in friendship for Lindsey.

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