Real Friends

I just read the new graphic novel by Shannon Hale, Real Friends. It’s a memoir, Shannon’s story of friendships as she grew up.

I’m very thankful my daughter, who is 10 years old and finishing fourth grade, read this book. I said in yesterday’s post that this book openly talks about how friendships change and how some kids just aren’t real friends. I want my daughter prepared for this, though I know she’s seeing and experiencing changes in her friendships already.

Why is it so important to me to help her learn these lessons? I was a lot like young Shannon. Completely attached to one friend until things changed in third grade. A new girl moved to our tiny town and the three of us had roller-coaster friendships for the rest of elementary. I felt left out and developed stomach problems, that eventually cleared up and left depression in its place. I don’t think those girls were purposely mean to me, I just didn’t have the tools to grow and change with the friendships. 

I see, in my K-4 school, situations like this all the time. Girls wanting to fit in. Girls who upset one member of their friend-group and then end up on the outs with the whole group. My daughter tells me that one of her best friends is part of a group like that. Thankfully, my daughter stays away and offers a calm alternative when that group is too rough.

Do boys go through stuff like this? I have a twin brother, and while his friendships changed over the years, I don’t remember there being drama like this.

I’m going to ask the school’s counselor to read this book. I feel like it’s something she can recommend to girls who need it. I don’t always know there is anything going on, but they are all my girls, so I want to help them all.