All of our children experience difficult moments and situtations from which we will not always be there to rescue them. The best we can hope for is to turn these moments into an opportunity to learn a valuable lesson.
Recently, my son was spending time at the home of a friend. This particular friend had several other boys there that my son does not really know. Sadly, these boys felt it necessary to exclude and make fun of him. And unfortnately, my son's friend decided to join in.
This of course led not only to hurt feelings, but also to a minor scuffle. My son left feeling very angry, upset and ready to let a long friendship go.
While discussing these events with Sean, I asked why he had not come to either me or the boys' parents for help. He said he wanted to handle it himself and thought that the bullying would only get worse if he involved adults. He was probably right.
I told him he had every right to be angry and never speak to this friend again. However, I thought a better approach would be to give his friend an opportunity to make things right. He could do this by contacting him and explaining how hurt he was that someone he thought was a good buddy would turn against him.
Next I asked Sean a very important question: What would you have done if the situation were reversed? If you had several boys over and they decided to gang up on your friend, what would you do? Without hesitation, Sean replied," I would tell them to stop. He is my friend and that is not cool."
Finally, I asked him to remember at that moment how it felt to be picked on. I want him to never forget those feelings of being left out and belittled when he sees it happening to another child.
It is up to him now whether the friendship continues or not. But I am hoping the lessons learned will last a lifetime.