Recently my daughter’s best friend left school. I thought it might be a really difficult time for her and yes it has had it’s moments but it was worse the week before she left with the build up and anticipation.
Now it has finally happened she has settled down very quickly. Fortunately the family have not gone far so play dates and meeting up are quite possible. They will also be at the same secondary school in another couple of years and can request to be in the same form if they both still wish to.
Not only was it unsettling for my daughter but also for the rest of the family, myself included. Not knowing how it would all go I found myself worried, anxious and a little upset by the whole thing.
Parenthood is always throwing new situations at us and I thought I would share what I have learnt through this one:
- Children are often more resilient than we give them credit for
- If it is possible, arrange to keep seeing friends who have moved. If they have gone far it might have to be in the holidays or meeting up somewhere half way between you.
- Let the children speak briefly on the phone.
- You can encourage things such as letter writing, especially as they are not yet old enough for emails.
- Accept that they may be sad or angry but it will pass. If this arises it should be mentioned to their teacher so they are aware and school can help if needed.
- Just like adults, the thought of change and the anticipation can be quite daunting but once it happens children will get on with it.
- Encourage other friendships for a while and have other children to play.
- Try some new activities or a special treat.
- Our reactions will reflect in our children’s so we can explain that it makes us sad too when friends leave but we keep in touch and sometimes go on to make new or different friends.
The one thing with all this I had to be careful of was that I remember my best friend leaving school when I was about 5 and never feeling I made another. Well that’s how I remember it all those years ago and may not be true!
Here we are a few weeks on and the girls have seen each other and although they do miss each other they have both settled. I would have preferred this not to have happened and wanted to protect my daughter from it but sometimes that simply is not possible …we just have to be there for them.
Have your children had a friend move away? How did they deal with it?