Just for some background, we have 3 kiddos, DD#1, 8, DD#2, 6 and DS, 3. Our challenge right now is with DD#1. She is simply not a child that can stand up for herself, or who makes good decisions. She is very easily swayed by her peers (regardless of whether what they are doing is something we approve of or not) and she is not trustworthy. Here are a couple of examples:
- We live next door to the neighborhood bully, a girl, 9 y/o. She can be super sweet temporarily and then she will turn on someone and exclude them from the group, say mean things, etc. I have tried preventing my children from playing with her but it is really hard in a small neighborhood when she lives next door. I try to be outside to monitor her actions and group dynamics as much as possible. Anyway the other day all of the neighborhood kids were playing well together and neighbor girl turned on her sprinkler. All the kids were playing in it and DS got cold so I brought him in, changed him into dry clothes and sent him back outside, telling him and his sisters to make sure he stayed dry. I went back inside to grab something when I heard him screaming. I come outside to find him drenched. DD#1 immediately jumped in with “A (neighbor girl) had a bag of water an accidently got a little on DS.” Obviously this was not the whole truth and DD#1 did not seem to care about DS’s discomfort, she wanted to defend her “friend.”
- Yesterday the kids started with a new sitter (college age). She started early in the morning and I know I told her 150 things so I can certainly understand why she may have forgotten something but when we got home last night and were talking to the kids about their day DD#1 says “B (Babysitter) let me and A (neighbor girl) ride our bikes all the way around the block. DD#1 knows that we do not let her ride around the block by herself and especially not with A. DD#1 even said, “’A” took off while we were riding and I wasn’t sure where to go but I just kept riding and I found my way home.” (Obviously not a traditional city block.)
Now I have dealt with re-informing the sitter about our expectations but I am disappointed in DD#1. I tried to talk to her about doing what she knows is right whether we are right beside her or not and she just didn’t get it. I gave the example of “What if B told you that you could all pile in the front seat of the van rather than being buckled in your car seats. (Our kids are always buckled.) What would you do? DD#2 said, “I would tell her I had to be buckled in my car seat.” DD#2 said “But I really want to ride I front seat.” As I tried to gently talk her through this a bit more but she started to cry and she just kept saying “See, I’m just not smart.” It was sad and frustrating at the same time.
I really don’t know how to approach this lack of integrity. I work as a college student affairs administrator and I see young women in my office all the time who are just like DD#1. Unfortunately they are the ones who become easy victims to peer pressure in situations involving drinking, drugs, unconsensual sex, roommate disagreements, etc, etc. I just don’t want that for DD#1 and yet I know how fragile she is emotionally and how she wants to be a people pleaser with her friends. Ugh! Any advice is welcome!