My Grandson's Approach To Making Friends
Every time I take my grandson to the beach, we walk until he spots other kids and runs up to them. Then I drop my bag and our spot is claimed. Even though I prefer an emptier spot on the beach, I walk until he is happy with his surroundings. Otherwise, I would be chasing him down and yelling all day. Then I sit back and watch him go to work. He isn't a bit concerned about walking up to a complete stranger and asking "Do you want to play with me?" He is relentless. He will not stop until someone is playing with him whether it be by choice or out of fear. I once heard a boy yell out "How many times do I have to tell you no?!" I have had to start having talks with him about how if someone does not want to play with you, you can not force them. I've also tried to explain why he should befriend kids his size instead of bigger ones. I once saw him try to join in a game of volleyball with three teenagers. They just looked at him and scooted away. Several times. But soon he spotted a lizard near the net and his attention was refocused.
One particular day he was having trouble finding anyone who would play and I came close to telling him to just stop bothering people. But I stopped myself. One day he may not feel quite as comfortable making friends as he does now but I don't want it to be because of me. Instead I advised him to just play alone for a few minutes so everyone would see how totally cool he is. It wasn't long until he had a new friend.
He showed no anxiety over the first day of preschool. In fact, by the end of the day he had three new best friends. Sometimes I sit and watch him in amazement. He hasn't yet been jaded by hurtful actions of others. One bad experience could change his entire outlook on friend making. But I hope it doesn't. I hope he remains a fun loving, outgoing child. He lives only in the present and doesn't care what others think of him. He doesn't adjust his approach in an effort to please others. I want to be just like him. 😃
Written in 2017