Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Friends Becoming More Important

There comes a point in every kid's life when friends become more important than family, at least in terms of hours spent and being influenced. It usually happens in your teen years, and I guess as a parent your tactic at that point is to be consistent, pick your spots, and hope your kids pick good friends. It can't be an easy transition, nor can it be easy to parent from this place of reduced contact and influence.

I got a little shade of this the other day when I went to pick up Jada from school. I usually get Aaron and not Jada, so since I arrived a tad early and Jada didn't see me enter the classroom, I hung out not far from her and observed her in action. She and her friends were playing on the computers in the corner of the room. The kids moved seamlessly from computer to computer, and from that part of the room to other parts. In short, she looked to all the world to be completely in her element.

I waited for her to see me but she never did. Or maybe she did but didn't want to acknowledge me. When I finally called out to her, she didn't leap to me; she hardly budged. I finally had to say we had to go, and she reluctantly wound down her activity and made her way slowly to the exit with me. You could tell she really wanted to stay with her friends instead of go home with me.

There will still be plenty of days she runs to me, excited to see me. But I am realizing those days are somewhat numbered. One day, she'll be a teen or pre-teen, and not a little girl anymore. So next she runs to me, I'll be sure to savor it.
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