Party Politics

by Wolf Pascoe on March 10, 2011

So Nick was invited to Trevor’s party, which he wanted to go to. Except that Trevor’s best friend Kyle was also invited. Which posed a problem because Nick knew that Trevor would mostly play with Kyle at the party, instead of with Nick.

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So Nick told Trevor he wasn’t sure about the party, which was all right with Trevor.

Nick and Trevor played the day at school, and had such a good time that they decided to have a play over later in the week.

“And I’m going to come to your party, too!” Nick said.

But then when he got home from school, Nick’s doubts about the party returned.

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“You had such a good time playing with Trevor, your brain forgot that Kyle was still going to the party,” Nora said

“Yeah,” said Nick.

So the next day Nick told Trevor he wasn’t going to the party after all. Which was not all right with Trevor.

That night, Trevor’s mom called Nora.

“Trevor’s really mad at Nick about the party,” Trevor’s mom said. “Not because Nick’s not coming, but because he changed his mind. He still wants to be Nick’s friend, but he doesn’t want to have the play over right now.”

Nora relayed the message.

“I guess he’s not my friend anymore,” said Nick.

“He really had his hopes up that you’d go the party,” said Nora.

“He’s probably so down in the dumps, his brain is forgetting how much he likes you,” I said.

“But actually,” said Nora, “He said he’s still your friend.”

That’s about where it stands. Nick has some fence mending to do with Trevor. He’s scheduled a play over with his other friend, Jay.

Meanwhile, I’m reeling. Is it all over with Trevor? One hard-earned relationship out the window, just like that?

Things were simpler when I was eight. I kept things to myself. I don’t remember anyone telling me anything about how the brain worked. I just went bumbling along, trying to be liked, trying to avoid getting beat up.

. . .

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

jeff March 10, 2011 at 10:26 am

I wonder in the in the big scheme of things how important is this.My experience in parenting three children is that getting involved in their in friend stuff is a waste of time and energy and does nothing.For me it was about my own control issues.I worked on that and the children seemed to do fine without my help.That still seems to work today in many other ares of my life.My children have been the best teachers in my life.

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Wolf Pascoe March 10, 2011 at 11:45 am

I second the importance of working on one’s own control issues. When Nick talks to us, we listen and try to avoid giving advice. I reserve my inner turmoil for blog posts.

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BigLittleWolf March 10, 2011 at 12:07 pm

“trying to be liked… trying to avoid getting beat up.”

You do make me laugh!

Oh, the intricacies of kids’ friendships these days – whether you mention the brain or nothing at all. I recall the party planning when my boys were ages 6 to 12 being the worst. Who were they in cahoots with. Who was fighting with whom. How allegiances had changed (and wondering if they would change back) until I realized I’d need the Fletcher School of Diplomacy to sort it all out.

That’s when I reminded myself that a few rules rule:

– You don’t hurt feelings.
– Better to invite more kids than fewer.
– They’ll end up getting along, or not.

Either way – there are lessons. The most important of which is “how would you feel if you were in his shoes?” – along with a dose of “be polite or else.”

But you’ll have to figure out what works for you. No two kids – or parents – are alike. (And it all changes as soon as you think you have it figured out.)

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Wolf Pascoe March 10, 2011 at 12:18 pm

I am an endless source of inadvertent amusement to all who know me. The Fletcher School sounds good. Or I could just have my self committed to the Fresno Home for the Thoughtful.

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Sirena March 10, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Whew. You are so right, things were SO different when we were Nick’s age. I don’t remember any angst about parties or sleep overs, but then again, if I showed any angst someone would have shoved me into a school locker (I was small and female and that was the equivalent of getting beat up). I’m glad you have the blog to vent your inner turmoil. I’ll take you to Disneyland next time I go and you’ll feel much better lol…..

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Wolf Pascoe March 10, 2011 at 2:59 pm

Pick me up in Fresno.

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Barbara March 10, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Oh I do remember angst over friendships when I was young! I’m not sure I grew out of it yet.
And my kids’ friendship problems caused my heart to ache quite a few times, but unless they asked, I stayed out of it – except to guide them in politeness and respect – and to sometimes try to help them see the consequences of their choices when they had to decide something, but then I let them make their own decisions.
Parenting can be so tough!!

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Wolf Pascoe March 10, 2011 at 6:50 pm

Would you consider going back in time and being my mother?

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Clark Kent's Lunchbox March 10, 2011 at 7:19 pm

Totally! This is a constant around here, and with girls there’s an added dimension of drama. Sometimes it feels the real housewives if one of their friends is unavailable. At some point they’re going to have to deal with it constructively on their own because once they hit 13, I’m out.

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Wolf Pascoe March 10, 2011 at 11:28 pm

I like the 13 year limit. Let me know how it works out.

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Vicki March 29, 2011 at 11:28 pm

This is an example of your parenting in a way which is stretching and growing both you and your child. If we had been parented in this way , without the superimposition of our parent’s limited understanding, we would have learned to trust ourselves and the world. Rather, we try to control it and ourselves.

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