I'm having a situation with my 7 year old, and I'll be honest. I feel unqualified to adequately handle it. Oh, sure, I can handle it, but I worry I'm not saying the right things or making the right impression or teaching the right lessons. Allow me to try to explain.
Cancel that explanation. I just started typing it all out and none of it was very clear and it was drawn out and long winded, so perhaps I can summarize my core concern.
To a 7 year old, how can you instill a need to demonstrate kindness, even if a "friend" of hers isn't very kind? How can you suggest she "not be friends" with another child because that child is getting her into trouble (of the talking too much, not paying attention in class, excluding other children from being their friends kind of trouble)? How can you communicate qualities that aren't the making of a good friendship into words and ideas a 7 year old can grasp?
Because to her, the "friend" that's getting her into trouble is a friend. Someone who's company she (for whatever reason) enjoys. And this "friend" is damaging Kaylee's friendship with true friends because Kaylee is a bystander to the mean-ness and exclusion.
(at least, from what I've gathered, she's a bystander. I certainly hope she's not a participator.)
For the last few days, I've been "angry" at this so-called friend. Angry that this girl is a bad influence on my Kaylee, helping Kaylee get into trouble and damaging her friendship with other people.
Of course, I haven't shared this anger with Kaylee, but I have shared it with my husband.
I was in Kaylee's classroom to chat with her teacher briefly, and I saw the "friend," which was exactly what I needed.
Because she's just a little girl too. Just like my Kaylee.
She's 8. And in my heart, I believe 8 year olds aren't mean. They aren't manipulative. (well, they are!, but not vindictively so). And maybe she doesn't know better, or wasn't taught better, or has her own issues she's working with.
So while I still don't like the influence, I do care for the girl.