12 March 2011

Parenting for emotional health

More than a little background:

9 year old daughter has a mentor that she ADORES. Make that had. She was an important part of her life for about maybe 4 to 5 months - a long time for a 9 year old. She'd known this gal before, but became really involved with her, seeing her every week for those few months. She really looked up to her, emulated her, and thought of her as a big sister. She wanted to go to her college, dress like her, be like her. Not stalky, just a kid looking for a role model. So a while back Mentorgirl said with the new busy semester, she needed a couple of weeks before she could decide if she had time for their meetings. No big deal. I got a busy kid with lots and lots of activities and interests. A  lot ot the reasons we were driving the half hour for these meetings was to give Mentorgirl the experience, to keep her from  feeling quite as homesick away from her family for the first time, and be supportive of people we considered friends-of-the-family.

Yes, we obviously got a lot out of it as well. So after a few weeks, Mentorgirl contacts me and asks when we can start up again. She misses Kiddo and wants to start up again.  I told kiddo and she was all excited about it. She's pulling straight A's so I figured squeezing in another activity was okay. I responded to her request, giving her our current schedule and asking if she had any time free that would work. My excited kid reminds me some time later, that we never scheduled anything, so I ask again. Still no response. I have a 4th grader who is really excited about this. You know how that can be. So I see on facebook that she's gonna be in town and I ask her to stop by . . . timing didn't work out. The next thing I know, I get a nasty message from her mother telling me that I'm nagging her daughter, putting too much pressure on her, making her life uberstressful or something like that.  So yeah, I got defensive. I don't think I was out of line for expecting her to respond, especially when she was the one who opened the can of words in the first place. Not only is it disprespectful and immature . . . it's affecting my kid and Mama Bear no likie that!  I mean, seriously, if she had just told me that she was too busy, I would've been ok with that.

When trying to reason with MentorMom, I get nowhere. She refuses to see that she's  hurting my kid. Pretty much flat out tells me that she doesn't care about anything but her own kid and she really doesn't have to care about anybody else's feelings, even if they are her friends. I emailed MentorGirl, apologized for misunderstanding, expressed my suprise that MentorMom came out of nowhere swinging and offered to come down for a visit at her convenience and treat her to dinner off campus. What do you think happened next? MentorMom went into her kid's account and deleted that email. I know this, because she told me so, adding that it was not her idea of an apology. A coupla weeks later, with my daughter in tears, I made a last-ditch effort and texted MentorGirl about meeting up with her. I guess I just wasn't ready for my kid to learn that some people are just self-absorrbed and rude. I wanted to give this family one last chance. Do you think I got a response? No, I did not.

I meditated on this for a while, discussed it with my husband. We decided that we would just be civil and ride it out for Kiddo's sake. I hid her on facebook so I wouldn't be tempted to respond to something that would offend her since it seemed to be suddenly happening all-the-time. Also, we had friends in common and with MentorMom's attitude might cause those to be lost if we totally cut ties. After a while, she seemed to be friendly again and started commenting and joking around again, so I unhid her. Until Now. Recently she had begun to pick fights on facebook, with snarky comments about anything I said on mutual friend's posts. I'll admit it, I took the bait the other day and snarked back. Then I thought it was pretty unfair of me to fuel the fire on this other friend's facebook page, so I went back and deleted it. Know what she hated? That I drive a fuel-efficient car. That's right, I invest in quality vehicles instead of over priced under quality American vehicles and that pisses her off for some reason, mainly that her husband works for one of the Big Three. Same plant that my father retired from, actually.  My offensive comment was that I was more of a big picture kind of gal. but like I said, I deleted it.

Next thing I know, she's sending a bitchy email telling me she's done "compromising her definition of friendship' or some vague snark and blocks me from her facebook and BOTH of her daughters' as well.  So, okay . . . whatever . . I had already been over here blogging to blow off steam. Maybe she read that. Or her friends did > I really don't care. She was being nasty and I had a right to be upset.  Oh, and now? she's really being mean . . . just digging and digging at me on her facebook page and how wonderfully glad she is to be rid of somebody with such different values and morals. I'm glad her life is so much better. If she likes friends who never challenge her to question herself, or to grow intellectually or emotionally, that's her perogative, right?  I'm better off. This is not the problem I'm looking at.

She does this passive agressive general vague bait-posting every time she has a disagreement with anybody. The MO is that anybody that doesn't agree with her is "junior high" and shes' so "over it". She likes to try to get people to message her privately so that she can stir up more BS. You know the type? Yeah, me and her, we got mutual friends. Some of these friends I've had my whole life.

So now the hard part . . .the parenting part. The part I care about. I have to try to explain this to my kid. I have to find a way to be honest and yet not completely damage her emotional health. I'm interested in your thought and advice on the matter. I'm usually pretty good at wording things for other people, but I'm too close and too emotionally involved to do it for my own kid right now. She's gonna be sad. Mama bear no likie when cub-girl sad.


  1. Wow, I cannot believe how childish and petty that woman is. Sounds like the female version of someone we know.

    If my daughter promised someone to do something with them; she would do it. If she did not, I would be "nagging" her too and explaining that a 9 year old's feelings a very important. I mean, really, now busy could she be to take an hour out of her "stressful" life to see your daughter - especially since SHE suggested it in the first place.

    I would totally feel the same, Lanie and I would have contacted her like you did. I had an excited 4th grader of my own at one time.

    The mother is another story...ummm, hating people for driving a fuel efficient car? Isn't that what we all should be doing considering the situation going on with the....E A R T H. Talk about high school. She sounds like she's in elementary school. "Play with me. Don't play with her." Sheesh. Grow up, lady.

    What to say to your daughter - just explain to her when girls get older they have a lot on their plate and they get stressed out about school and boys and...blah, blah, blah. It's not that she doesn't want to see you, but her life is just so busy that she cannot sneak away. What else can you say? I know what I'd like to say :)

  2. That's so hard :(

    I had to message my mother on Facebook this morning for personal attacks on someone she knew growing up. Mom's a conservative and her "friend" is a liberal. Both post more political stuff than I'd ever care to read but my Mom has started posting unprovoked comments about this woman personally. Now my Mom's mad at me. However i tried to make her see that she was the one who looked crazy but she doesn't see it. I guarantee that the people reading her page do (bet it's same with MentorMom, people love a trainwreck). She took down the latest post off her wall. It was a picture of my neices and nephew with 4 comments about this woman. I put my foot down and told her I'd delete her if she used my son in that manner. Sorry to hijack your post but just wanted to let you know it's probably not too easy to be MentorMom's daughter. She may have made one small comment and her Mom jumped on it. Her Mom may have been jealous over the time her daughter spent with your family. That's her problem (both mother and daughter) and not yours or your daughters.

    I'd probably wait till your daughter brought it up to you and use the "well she may just be caught up with college" thing. She may drift out of her life or back into it. I'd try to let there be a lot of time between now and when yout talk about it though so that the feelings aren't as strong as they are now.

    I'm sorry. I know how you feel.

  3. I feel sorry for Mentor Girl if her mom is that over involved in her life at this point. It is time to grow up. I don't have any advice ... people suck a lot. It is hard to watch a 9 year old feel sad, but it is never too early to learn that no matter what your feelings, people do exactly as they please.

  4. I'm so sorry to hear how you and your daughter have been treated. I can understand how you would be upset about the way your daughter's feelings have been ignored. For your daughter's sake, I think the best solution would be to tell her that mentorgirl is just very busy with classes right now so she won't be able to see her for a while. Perhaps you can soften the blow by planning some other fun activities she can do with you or your husband. Or is there someone else (an older cousin or neighbor or friend) she might be able to spend some time with that might kind of take the place of this mentorgirl? If there is, perhaps you could arrange some kind of get-together with them. Just continue to let your little girl know that you love her. In time she will get past this, and she may realize on her own that this mentorgirl was rude and inconsiderate and selfish. You don't need to fuel the fire though. You need to let your daughter see you taking the high road in this. Don't place blame or accuse mentorgirl in front of your daughter. She will figure things out on her own. As for the Facebook shenanigans, I would recommend just ignoring all of it as much as possible. Don't comment on her posts. Don't post anything about her or addressed to her or anything like that. As much as possible, I would just try to pretend she doesn't exist. Easier said than done, I realize, especially since you have mutual friends. Best of luck to you. Your daughter will be OK. Just direct her attention to other things and new interests and friendships, and she'll find her way. As long as you are in her corner, she will be fine. I can remember times when my sons' feelings were hurt by others who were rude and selfish when they were little, so I can really understand how you feel.

  5. The mom sounds looney tunes. I know how it is when people hurt your kids, my mother in law is not a grandma and gets on facebook acting like she is the shit..it makes me sick. It is so fake!

  6. You did the best you could - no one can ask for more. You may be surprised at how resilient kids are.

  7. Thanks for your advice ladies. Those who emailed or called and stopped by as well. Of course there are two sides to every story and everyone always feels completely justified in their own actions. We just gotta do the best we can when we can do it. With all the crazy family stuff that's always going on, this is relatively minor but I really do appreciate the input. Sometimes life is overwhelming. bah!


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