Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Taking charge

not sure I mentioned this, but Ciarra has been having issues with one of her closest friends being a little bit bullying lately. Controlling her, telling her that if she did/didnt do certain things, they couldnt be friends anymore. I heard that it had gotten quite physical recently, with the friend grabbing her and dragging her to places against her will.

Obviously, I had to put a stop to that. I met with her teacher, who detailed more of it, and we both agree that we should support the friendship, but also give Ciarra more opportunities to escape the clutches of that friend and expand her circle a bit. The thing is, Ciarra is VERY popular. The other child, notsomuch. We have been noticing that people shy away from Ciarra much more when she is with this friend, because the other kids just dont seem to like her.

Now that more kids are inviting Ciarra to play at recess and after school, the friend is feeling left out. It doesnt help that she comes from a rather negative home life, where you deal with things by yelling and complaining. I am sad for her, but not to the point of letting her be abusive to my daughter.

SOOO...some change was in order. The girls had been playing together at least a couple days a week. Ciarra really loves her, and it is mutual. But I am tired of fighting, tired of hearing the mom say that MY child is a "spoiled brat"...and yes she has said that...while her child is the one really struggling to get along with anybody, stomping her feet and telling us how things would go in our own home, and generally being very hard to be around. We have decided to limit the girls time together, and to work hard to bring the other friendships that are very strong out more.

Ciarra has a great friend named Margaret who also has DS, and they play together at least once a week. And several kids at school have asked repeatedly to come over, but Ciarra has said no because she doesnt want to upset her friend. Many times, the friend would yell at Ciarra on the bus, when a friend was coming over. Ciarra would feel guilty, and cry. Lots of social stories later, and she is taking charge and inviting them over!

Today her friend Austin is here, they just got off the trampoline, they have played video games, had snacks, and are now watching tv. I will try to keep the visits to around 2-3 hours, so they dont get sick of each other or run out of things to do. I also have to remind Ciarra sometimes that she is the HOSTESS, and she needs to let her friends decide what they want to do, too. She would watch Curious George for an hour straight if I let her, or play Doctors, which most kids her age arent into. Today has gone really well. If we can just fill her time and shake the connection a little with this other child, maybe we can work on empowering her a little bit, and expand her circle, too.

Friendships are unique for our kids with DS. They certainly have friends, but oftentimes they dont have the kind of speech or communication skills to really connect outside of school. It takes a little extra work, and it may always be that way. But the friendships are there, with a little extra support. And thats my job, for the next few months, to build those friendships and try to show her that she doesnt need to be friends with someone who would tell her she is stupid or ugly or be so bossy that she comes home in tears. She deserves better than that.


Wendy said...

I agree with you Michelle...... I hope that when the time comes I will know how to foster and enhance those friendships. I am glad that Ciarra is realizing that she doesn't have to take the bullying but know that she probably struggles with the situation more because she loves so unconditionally!


Stephanie said...

WOW! You are just an awesome inspiration. You always handle things so well and Ciarra is lucky to have such a wonderful mom.
I am glad you stodd up to her friends mom, she seems to have issues outside of your control and the best thing to do is just walk away...well done!
Looks like C and her friend had a great time.