Fotolia

10 Things I Want My Kid To Know About Losing Friends

Ad failed to load

The moment I found out I was going to be a mother, I started thinking about all the lessons I wanted, needed and would inevitably teach my child. I knew the basics would be covered; how to eat, how to speak, how to count to ten and roll over and walk and tie your shoes. I knew there were bigger and arguably more essential life lessons; equality, feminism, consent, relationships. As I went down my list, I realized there were things I wanted my kid to know about losing friends, too, because the end of a friendship would be an inevitable experience my son was bound to endure.

Sadly (or, honestly, thankfully) I have experienced a few ended friendships. Some were much easier to end than others, but every single friendship that has failed to "stand the test of time" has taught me something valuable; something that I would like to teach my son, or have him learn on his own. While we like to romanticize friendships and build them up as unshakeable bonds that are above reproach, the truth is, friendships are just as flawed as any other relationship involving human beings, and they end just as frequently.

Knowing that my son will have to experience, go through, learn from and survive friendships ending, makes me both excited and somewhat sad for the impending lessons I want to teach him. I can talk to him about friendships and the best and worst parts of both, but I know that he will have to experience them for himself to really learn everything he needs to know, especially when it comes to those friendships ending. So, while I want to help him understand the following, I know that he will have to figure this all out on his own.

Ad failed to load

It Happens

giphy

As a culture, we like to romanticize relationships in general, even friendships. Whether it's via television shows or movies, we're constantly being bombarded by friendships that are seemingly effortless, last forever, and hardly ever experience any arguments that last longer than a 30 minute episode or two hour flick. While entertaining and endearing, they're not necessarily realistic.

Friendships end. People change and go off in different directions and make different life choices and, sometimes, there's just no logical reason why a friendship should continue. It's OK if your friendships aren't ever-lasting or look like the media friendships we've come to celebrate.

When It Happens, It's Not Automatically Your Fault...

giphy

I don't know about you, dear reader, but whenever a friendship or relationship ends, I tend to blame myself. Call me a masochist or a martyr or just dumb, but sometimes it's easier to place blame on yourself, so that you can claim you had some control over the situation, instead of throwing your hands up in the air and saying it was all just inevitable. Turns out, that isn't always the case.

Sometimes, a friendship ends and it's absolutely not your fault. Sometimes, a friendship ends because it's toxic and, honestly, ending that relationship is the absolute best thing for you and your mental health. Other times, friendships just end, and it's no one's fault. I don't want my kid to beat himself up or constantly blame himself for situations that were completely out of his control.

...But Sometimes It Is, Because You Will Make Mistakes

giphy

Then again, sometimes it absolutely is your fault, and I want my son to be humble enough to realize when he has messed up and atone for his actions. Sometimes, you just weren't a good friend and you did something that hurt someone else, and an apology is warranted before you both go your separate ways.

I've been there. I've been the reason why friendships didn't work, and I want my son to know that he's not expected to be perfect in any aspect of his life, including his relationships.

Ad failed to load

You Will Learn A Lot About Yourself...

giphy

I've learned a lot about myself after the end of a friendship. I've learned how much I've changed over the course of a few years, and how those changes inevitably made me distance myself from someone I once cared about. I've learned how to handle heartbreak, because a friendship ending is never easy, even if it's necessary. I've learned what to expect (nay, demand) from a friendship, and that staying in a toxic relationship with someone simply because we've been friends for a certain amount of time, is not wise or healthy.

Yes, it's difficult to see or appreciate the lessons when you're dealing with the aftermath of a "failed" friendship, but I do hope that my son realizes that there's a silver lining and losing a friend, in the end, can actually be beneficial.

...And A Lot About Relationships In General

giphy

Not only do you learn about yourself, you learn about relationships. You learn that people evolve and, as a result, so do the relationships they share. You learn what it really means to be in a healthy relationship, which is never a 50/50 situation, but a constantly swinging pendulum of percentages. One person will always require a little more from the other person; it should just, in the end, balance out. You'll learn how to end relationships the right way (and the wrong way) which will come in handy on more than one occasion.

Sometimes, It'll Hurt More Than A Romantic Relationship Breakup

giphy

I've been through my fair share of romantic relationship breakups, and they're no fun. However, my friends are the ones to help me get through it, and relying on them definitely a makes the process much easier.

Which is why a friendship ending is exponentially more difficult than a romantic relationship ending. There's no one there to hold me up or make me feel about it, because that person is no longer part of my life. Relationships come and go, yes, but friendships are "supposed" to last forever, so when they don't your entire world seems nothing short of confusing.

Ad failed to load

It Doesn't Mean Your Friendship Didn't Matter

giphy

Just because your friendship didn't last forever, doesn't mean that it was meaningless or "fake." Sometimes, things just don't last, but the length of a thing doesn't determine the legitimacy of a thing. I've had some life-changing friendships that, honestly, only lasted a few years. I have learned so much about myself and others because of some friendships that I no longer cherish or hold dear. I'm thankful for them, even though they're no more.

It Doesn't Mean You Are A Bad Friend (Or Person)

giphy

Again, the end of a friendship doesn't mean you've failed on some molecular level, and now you're doomed to experience "bad friendships" for the rest of your days. You're not a bad person just because you're no longer friends with someone. You're just, you know, a human being (and so is that someone you're no longer friends with, so be kind.)

Sometimes, People Just Come In And Out Of Your Life

giphy

It's impossible for any of us to assume someone will stay in our lives forever. We can make promises, of course, and we can try our best to work through any potential issues that may arise. However, and in the end, sometimes we change so much as human beings, that it no longer makes sense to stay friends with someone we no longer have things in common with, or even particularly like.

People come in and out of our lives for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, they stick around for a very long time. Other times, they are only in our life for a short period of time. Life is complicated and complex and wonderfully painful, and I want my son to know that, well, so are friendships.

Ad failed to load

I'll Always Be Here To Talk To You And Help You

giphy

I would imagine that my son will end up making friends at a relatively young age (I hope). I'm sure that the good majority of those friendships won't be ever-lasting, and he will go through some difficult friend breakups. Never, ever, do I want to undermine those moments, just because he's a "young person" and doesn't "know the real world" or some other condescending thing that adults tend to say to teenagers when they're going though something emotional.

I want my son to know that he can always come to talk to me (about anything) and I will always lend a sympathetic ear.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

The Reason Why Babies Smile At You Will Seriously Make You Smile

Whether you're currently the recipient of your own baby's sweet smiles or you just seem to be a magnet for baby grins in general, you might find yourself wondering why babies are always smiling at you. Sure, you could be a 'smile whisperer' but scien…
By Kate Miller

8 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say That, Yes, You Are Their Favorite

For a baby to show a preference for a specific person is not only normal, but an essential part of their development. Babies need to form strong attachments to their caregivers for their emotional, social, and physical wellbeing. Usually, but not alw…
By Kimmie Fink

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

7 Things A Mom Really Means When She Says She Doesn't Want Anything On Mother's Day

Every year my family asks me what I want for Mother's Day, and every single year I tell them the same thing: Nothing. So, by now, they know that when I say "nothing" I absolutely do not mean "nothing." In fact, there are more than a few things a mom …
By Candace Ganger

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills
)}