|First day of 5th grade!|
I've always said that I would never tell my children who they could be friends with, as long as the friends weren't involved in dangerous or morally repugnant behavior. I love saying 'morally repugnant'! And really, the worst thing we've run across in our little rural elementary school is the occasional middle finger and one kid who peed in a water bottle on a dare. It has been, at best, low level hooliganism.
Which makes it even harder when Katie has friends that I just don't like. Or, worse, who's parents I just don't like. I can't say, "Hey, Katie. Don't hang out with that person because she's rude and her mom is a bigot." I won't ever disallow my child to be friends with a person based on their race or religious beliefs or where they live or their socio-economic bracket. So I can't disallow it when the kid is just a jerk.
So what can I do? I can't go around kicking asses, though I've said "I'm going to kick that kid's ass!" through clenched teeth on more than one occasion. I can try my best to teach my children to be friends with people who are kind and considerate and polite, at least most of the time. I can tell them what good people they are, so they believe they are deserving of friends who don't treat them like a doormat. I can give them confidence, so that when the day comes that they have to look a kid in the eye and tell them to back off, they can do it. I can teach them to be a good friend.
I hope it's enough. I can't protect them entirely from bullies and hurt and lost friendships and broken hearts. I can give them what tools I can, and be there to help them pick up the pieces when they don't work. I will try to be an advocate when necessary, and stand back when needed. And kick ass, if it comes to it.