The Chatterbox

The Chatterbox

News and views from the staff of FamilyEducation.



Omaha Mama's picture Omaha Mama

I almost cried at B's first parent-teacher conference this fall. Sure I was proud that her academics are meeting standards, but it wasn't that. Her teacher told me that Brenna is KIND, even to kids who aren't necessarily her close friends. Even to kids who may not have a lot of friends. I thought my heart would burst when I heard it, for it's all I want. For my kids to be patient, tolerant, and kind to others. Popular or no.

I'll take 52 any day. Five friends for a party sounds like a huge Success. :-) Can't wait for the party recap.

mouse's picture mouse

We're trying to gently steer Scooter away from the kids we can see already having that sheen of popularity, especially the social manipulator. On the other hand, the manipulator has very little effect on Scooter, because he's oblivious, so far, to what the kid is doing.

We'll be doing a smaller party for Scooter's next birthday, starting the list at around ten and expecting fewer than that thanks to Spring Break. I'm hoping his idea of the guest list will primarily focus on kids who would want to come over and play Legos.

From my observations, both from long ago and as a teacher, the popularity issue among boys tends to be less soul-crushing in middle and high school. There's a lot more social mobility for them and less emphasis on what they wear. I also remind myself of the stuff I've read about the real importance being in finding those few friends with whom one is close--even if there's some sting in not being popular, at least it can be shared with others.

Aliki McElreath's picture Aliki McElreath

You're so very right, Omaha--I burst with pride, too, when I hear about my children being kind and good to others.

I'm not sure how much L. really cares that much, ultimately, about popularity. He sees it in others, but he wouldn't (thank goodness) probably know how to try and be popular. What's hard is that he often stands out at school as being different, or quirky, or "weird" as one kid unkindly called L. last year, and while he feels this keenly, he just doesn't know how to fix it. I think this could be a good thing.

I think you're observation about middle and high school regarding boys is probably true. Those years are so much more difficult for girls, I think.