I think my kids are pretty easy to get along with. This isn't to say I believe they are perfect angels or that they never make me crazy. However, they have mostly good social skills, can read social situations, don't call names or make fun and they know how to share. But right now, Isaac and Elie are both have a difficult time dealing with some of their peers and, as a result, Dadam and I are struggling too.
Isaac desperately wants to be well liked and liked by everyone. He is especially attracted to kids who are popular and who get to play with everyone. Unfortunately, the kids he wants to hang around with don't seem to be very nice to him. Recently he asked if he could bring lunch to school. Okay, I said. We packed his lunch and the first day one of the boys he's been choosing to eat with told him that what he had brought wasn't allowed. Second day this boy tells him he can't have cold soup. Third day they all make a big deal about the cheese on his pizza. Fourth day they tease him so much he won't finish his lunch and brings it home basically uneaten! ARGHGHGHGHGH We have talked to him many times about staying away from people who choose not to be nice, we've talked about ignoring. Oh it is so hard to see them unhappy!! He did, finally, sit next to some girls who were a lot nicer.
Elie has struggled from the beginning of the year; first with one group of girls and then another, being mean and hateful. Now a girl who was Elie's friend, is being incredibly manipulative and is alternately very clingy and downright mean. Elie generally just ignores this behavior and finds someone else to play with, but lately the antics of this particular girl are causing some sadness.
Elie knows she is different and she is proud of it. She doesn't shy away from beating her own drum and doing what she knows is right and what feels good to her. Isaac knows he is different and doesn't like it. He fights against it and ignores it, but it comes through anyway.
It is agonizing to see them struggle. I don't think that it weighs on them all the time. I'm not sure that they think about it much from day to day, but it certainly causes them sadness/frustration/confusion in the moment. I guess they have to figure it out on their own. We can give advice and be there as a sounding board and sympathetic ear, but we can't fix it for them. Even though I *know* all that, it's still hard.