Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Embracing Adversity

Today, I am emotional about an incident that occurred yesterday involving my son and another kid. My son is on the outside of friendships often. Alone on the playground, playing by himself, often. I worry - will this incident be another thing that will keep him from being included in a circle of friends?

I can barely put into words how sad I feel for my son at times. I am sitting here crying in the car. It's hard watching your child face adversity: the teasings, the tauntings, being made fun of, being excluded and being told that he can't be a part of this kid's or that kid's group of friends. What makes it especially hard is to see how much he wants to be a part of a group because he is such a naturally social being. He thrives on interaction. Honestly, all he wants is that special friend - the one he can play with every day on the school playground. He wants that special relationship - the special connection that comes with having a best friend. He actually had one, until that friend moved on and became someone else's best friend. He's still hurt over that one.

His adversity.

"This is good for him," my Hubby says "though it's painful for us. He needs this. Especially because he is so sensitive. He needs to go through this in order to understand his own sensitivity and work through these hard moments. The adversity will only make him stronger."

But the adversity our son faces is painful. Not just for him but for me (and said Hubby) as well. Why does it have to be?

How my heart breaks whenever I've watch him walk up to a cluster of kids and ask to play with them and they reject him. One time, at a park, a couple of years ago, I saw him approach three different kids playing within the same group and they each rejected him. I finally had to step in. It was discouraging to see. Heart-wrenching to watch the sadness take over his face.

But I know that Hubby is right. These moments of adversity will make him stronger. I think about the pain I experienced when I was a kid - a good part of that stemming from being a victim of abuse. It has made me stronger. At one moment in my life, strong enough to leave an abusive situation.

Embracing adversity.

I need to do it. And embrace it wholeheartedly. For my son. I need to put on my "Mommypants" (as inspired by Cheryl at Mommypants) and do what I have to do help him to embrace whatever adversity comes his way. I need to put my own personal emotions aside or work through them, turning towards the storms that adversity brings and face them head on. Embrace them and hold on tight. Persevere and not give up.

And then, hopefully, my darling boy will become my stronger (and sensitive) boy, who will grow into that strong, self-confident man one day because he has faced adversity and survived.

And his mother will become a stronger woman as well.

Have you dealt with your child being teased or excluded? Have you become emotional over it (or is it just me)? How do you handle those moments when it happens? What do you tell your child? Please share, because this emotional, protective mama would love to know.


  1. Sadly my son's torment came from the teachers and leaders in high school that were supposed to protect him..Unfortunately they had no one to protect them from me. It was not pretty. It resulted in me allowing him to drop out and he got his GED after only 3 GED classes. Which he proudly took back to the leader that mistreated him and at one point told him he was ignorant and would never finish school. Yeah that was sweet justice.

  2. Oh this hurts my heart. My daughter has always been on the outside looking in when it comes to anything social and it is so hard to watch. I hope things get easier for your son and for you. ((hugs))

  3. It's hard to see that as a parent, when all you want to do is protect your kiddo from any sort of pain, yet pain is what gives us character and strength.

    I haven't had to deal to much with that as my children are more the leaders of the group, they include everyone and when I hear of them not doing so, they get an earful from me about why it's hurtful to do so.

    I'm sorry your son is on the outside looking in, how does he feel about it, has he said anything?


  4. Oh this made my heart break. My son is still little so I haven't experienced this with him but I went through it myself both at home (like you) and at school. Hubby is right it will make him stronger. And the most important aspect in all of this is that he knows you love him and like him and are there for him (which is totally what you are doing), with that he will be able to conquer the world, I promise!

  5. My nephew is going through this and it makes me angry. My sister keeps trying to use it as a teaching experience for him, but the protective aunt in me wants to jump in a FIX IT NOW. You are doing the right thing, and I can't imagine that the feeling will ever leave you. You will always want to protect him. It's what makes you so awesome as a Mom :)

  6. It is heartbreaking that not everyone that crosses paths with your son can appreciate how wonderful and special he is the way you do. I struggled with this when I was growing up and no matter how much I didn't want to hear or didn't believe it, my mother was always my biggest cheerleader. Telling me constantly to not compromise who I was to appease other people. That I was beautiful and perfect as I was in that moment. I didn't want to hear it then, but I am so grateful that she cared enough to help me determine my own worth. Just keep loving and encouraging him darling!

  7. It sucks. Unfortunately, it's a part of life...I wish it weren't. Hang in there and stay positive. Try to reassure him that he will make friends and believe that he will. It will happen and he'll probably have stronger relationships because of this. He'll have true friends. Good luck.

  8. You know, my youngest daughter has a bit of a problem making friends and getting into groups also. She tends to be rather shy. Unlike my oldest, the original 'walk into a room and meet everyone in the first 10 minutes.' It's different for every kid.

    I was never a popular kid either. I was shy-ish, except for with my close friends. I guess I didn't have a whole lot in common with most other kids in high school.

    I would argue that I turned out ok. When I hit 21, I REALLY came out of my shell and now I have confidence by the truckload.

    Kids are just really vulnerable to various stigma, and we all know that kids can be very hateful, even unintentionally. I would advise that you just keep letting them figure things out for themselves and just be there. You, as a parent, have to sit back and let things happen (that aren't dangerous or self destructive, obviously) even if they are hard to watch.

    The little one's are going to be just fine. Mommy can't always come to the rescue. I have written about similar on my blog (you may have read it... the 'My Muse Sucks' post.) Just be there.

  9. It's hard not to want to fight their battles for them. I was always ready, geared up to fight everyone one of them, but knew I had to step back.

    My son was a loner in the preK yrs {or was fine being by himself, give or take 1 or 2 'new' friends he'd hook up with playing with him}. Or someone wasn't his friend anymore. If the 'friend' didn't reciprocate, he'd moved on. He didn't cry, but kept his feelings to himself. I'd always ask him is he alright? Just to reassure him I understand, things will be ok, he could tell me anything, I'd be there for him, that he has alot of friends {I'd named them for him} etc.

    As he got older {through K, now 1st grade}, he made friends easily. Then there were the popular boy everyone wanted to be friends with. Little kid dramas!

    He will tell me of things. I will ask.
    He's learned to deal with social situations. He's learned to solve problems. Kids are resilient. I still want to protect him. Just be there for them.

  10. I have dealt with it with my boys...and it breaks my heart every time.

  11. Well, I could talk to you forever.

    Fathers don't see it the same way as mothers.

    But, long story short: it depends on what is going on.

    With us, it was so bad that my middlest was beginning to vomit from the taunting. My husband said to let him tough it out.

    I pulled him out.

    And began homeschooling.

  12. So sorry about this.

    You have my email, if you need to talk.

    I'm all ears.


  13. I think you know that I was teased a LOT as a child. It is hard to watch, but I think your hub is right. Unless it gets as bad as it did with Empress' son. Poor friend. It's hard to watch.

  14. I read this last week and thought I had commented.

    I think the hardest thing is to stand by and let our children fight their own battles. It's incredibly hard.


Please...speak your mind!