Friday, August 20, 2010


I was talking to a dad at my day care one day and we were laughing about our daughters’ relationship. H. and A. have been in daycare together since they were infants. One moment they are best friends and can’t live without each other and the next they can’t stand each other. The dad told me that he didn’t know day to day whether they were friends or not. I told him they were “frenemies.”

“Frenemies? That’s a great description!” he said. “I’ll have to tell my wife there’s a name for this.”

I’m amazed that at 3-year-old kids are capable of having frenemies. But really, that’s the pattern of the relationship. They hug each other one moment and fight like cats and dogs the next. And A. is a convenient culprit for all things gone wrong.

“Who spilled milk on the floor?” I ask.

“A. did it!” H. says in all seriousness.

“A. can’t have done it. She’s not here.”

“Yes she did. A. did it. A. is mad at me because I hit her.”

“Why did you hit A.?”

“Because she was mean to me and hit me first.”

Of course, it's likely that H. did something to cause it.

On another day, the conversation is different.

“A. wants to come over to my house.”

“We need to set that up with A.’s mommy.”

“She likes my house and my room and wants to play dress up. A.’s my best friend.”

By the way, A. has never been to our house. This is all in her imagination.

I remember when I realized for the first time that my oldest had his own social network. He had specific friends he enjoyed and those he’d rather not play with. All separate from my social circle and even kids I didn’t know. My daughter has taken this up one level and chosen the person she loves the most and is the most jealous of. The dichotomy cracks me up.

Friendships need navigation and these early conflicts will help my daughter determine how to best handle similar situations in the future. I know it doesn’t get easier as she gets older. I know many who tell me that preteen and teenage girls are mean. Junior high seems to be the biggest problem. I hope that H. will have the skills she needs to get through that stage unscathed.

“A. gave me a present today.” H. says with a smile.

“She did?”

“Yes, and I told her thank you and gave her a hug because A.’s my best friend in the whole world.”

“She is?”

“Yes. A. and M. and M. are my friends but not S. because he was bad today.”

But don’t worry S. You’ll be back on her good side tomorrow.

Reace Alvarenga Smith, APR
Public Relations Manager

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