Friends are really important to most of us. Being able to spend time with someone who makes you laugh, understands where you’re coming from and supports and encourages you when things are tough is amazing. Over the years I’ve been blessed to have many different friends from all walks of life and I’m very grateful to them all. How do we learn what friendship is about though? When I look at my children struggling with the maze that is friendship I so want to help them – to reach out and make things right for them.
For those of you with adopted children, or any children for that matter who struggle in this area I want to open up some thoughts on this. It’s a common struggle we know for our children for a number of reasons. Due to their early experiences many times they are at a lower age emotionally than their peers which makes it difficult for them to connect. Also our children feel bad about themselves and can very often misunderstand others feelings and intentions. Trust is also essential to be able to build relationships and when you come from a place of mistrust as a result of being let down so much by others, then trust is very difficult to build.
My heart aches for my children in this area. All of them seem to find it so difficult to just relax, have fun and take things as they come. There is always something missing or something to worry about – so and so doesn’t want me in the group, so and so says I’m rubbish at sport, so and so hasn’t called me back each time I’ve rung and left a message. Of course it doesn’t help that many times they choose the other vulnerable children to try to build relationships with. As they gravitate towards each other you can see the minefield of paranoia, unhealthy tactics to receive love, behaviours demonstrating just how ‘damaged’ they all are. I know each time a new child’s name is mentioned that eventually there will be something different about that child – fellow adoptees, living with Great Grandparents, parents absent for a number of reasons. It’s like they can sense that in others – that they too are different to the norm.
Normally in my blogs I try to leave people with somethings to do or think about but I am at a bit at a loss on this subject. I know so many ways I should help my children with their struggles when I am with them but once they go through those High School gates into the battlefield I am lost as to how I can help them overcome their fears and anxieties towards other people. I know what we try to do to build them up as people is vitally important. The more they can know they are loved and special to someone, the more they will be able to treat others with respect. The more they can see friendship and love displayed through us the more they will understand how it’s meant to be. And the more we can build their emotional resilience at home the better they will be able to deal with all the trials of everyday life at school.
Ultimately I hold onto the fact that most of us struggled in this area at school too if we’re honest, to one degree or another. Some experiences stayed with us and shaped our lives others just fell away and had little impact. I can’t remember much of my school days – which is probably a good thing. I just hope and pray that my children will be able to find friendships that will help them in these coming years not hinder their development and take them down a rocky path. All we can do at the end of the day is hope and pray. If you have found any resources that help in this area of friendships, especially for adopted children, please contact me as I’d love to know – [email protected].