Girls are different than boys. Did you know that? I know, I know, it's crazy - but true. The older my kids get the more pronounced the differences are. Zach and Lucas went through 4th and 5th grade with relative ease. There was very little drama, at least that I knew about. There was the one time Zach bit one of his classmates in 4th grade. The kid was kicking him under the table and Zach had enough. He snapped and bit the kid. He didn't break skin or really even touch his skin, he just bit what he could get a hold of with his teeth. Zach and this kid went on to be good friends after that...nothing like a good bite to get a friendship rolling I always say! Claire has never bitten anyone with her teeth but her words are a different story. Whew, the things girls say to one another can be, frankly, quite mean and bitchy.
Claire and her group of friends are learning to navigate the waters of girlfriend-ships. They are having some growing pains and Claire is trying hard to figure things out. She will tell me a story of something gone wrong at school and I can see the wheels turning in her head. She is thinking, "What do I need to do or say to make things better?" She talks through her problems. My hope for her is by the time she is in high school she will know how to vent properly and not hold a grudge. She will be able to tell her friends when they hurt her feelings, why they hurt her feelings and how they can work to make it better for both of them. I think when girls/women bottle up their emotions they become like a pressure cooker. The more we pack those feelings down the more pressure builds up until we explode. That is where the term "raging bitch" comes into play, according to a friend of mine. Girls need to be taught it OK to let others know how they feel and why they feel that way. Girls need to know it is OK to be mad. They need to be taught how to deal with anger appropriately. I think when girls are empowered to know how to deal with negative emotions they are able to navigate the treacherous waters of girlfriend-ships without running aground. When girls can successfully manage emotions they can easily manage friendships. When girls can easily manage friendships they are more likely to build each other up and support each other rather than tear each other down.
Boys, generally, don't talk through their problems. They fight, tell each other off, maybe throw some punches (or not), go "lick their wounds" and come out ready for more. The problem is over and they move on. Sometimes I like this approach much better. Sometimes I don't. It cuts down on the drama, that's for certain! In living life this way, though, boys growing into men don't learn the skills needed to navigate life with women. I know this. I lived this. Stan was raised with three brothers, no sisters. He had NO idea to how to handle drama. He had to be taught. He learned and is much better now. He handled Claire like a champ last night when she had a meltdown during our study session. She told me I was screaming at her and broke down in tears. Stan was able to keep a straight face, not roll his eyes and give her a hug to make her feel better. He validated her and her feelings. He doesn't do that with the boys. They don't expect it from him.
I am very thankful my kids will each have the experience of living life with the opposite gender. I think it will help them later in life when they go on to share their life with a husband or wife. They will each understand that boys and girls are different from the ground up. Girls are programed differently than boys. And vice versa. They will, hopefully, learn there is nothing wrong with the differences each gender has and learn how to work through the challenges those differences present.
I will continue to help Claire learn to navigate the drama of her girlfriend-ships and I will be here when my boys need to lick their wounds. I will do it for the love of my children...