When she was four her best friend was your best friend’s daughter. While the two of you sipped coffee and gossiped about the neighbors, they dressed up their dolls and pretended to be mommies in their little play kitchen. They put on elaborate plays for you and the most trouble they ever got into was the time that they got into your makeup drawer and got a little creative.
Now your little darling is nine and her friendships have gotten a bit more complicated. Here’s a little list of the girls your daughter is now friends with.
*These names have been selected purely for alliteration purposes…no real friends of my daughter are named here. She wanted to make sure that you knew that.
You’ve known since they were in first grade that she would be the one. Wendy would be the girl that would tell your sweet, innocent little darling about periods and sex and would talk her into shaving her legs entirely too soon.
What you need to look out for: There will be no need to have “the talk” with your daughter because Wendy would’ve already covered those bases. Fast forward a few years and this will be the girl that will probably introduce your angel to alcohol or cigarettes and will also show her how to hide apps on her phone.
Kindergarten: “Mama, Brittany kissed a boy on the playground today.”
First Grade: “Mama, Brittany has 3 boyfriends!”
Fast-forward to fourth grade and Brittany has probably moved on to “older” guys and is trying to convince your little sweetheart that she also needs a boyfriend (or ten).
What you need to look out for: Brittany will either meet the love of her life in middle school and live happily ever after or she’ll end up talking your child into dating way before she’s ready because her mama won’t let her go on dates yet (unless it is a double date with your little girl).
Anna was hanging upside down from the monkey bars before she could walk. In 2nd grade she was already scoring all of the goals in basketball and soccer and was the only one on the team to actually hit the softball to left field. Anna is fiercely competitive and is most comfortable in a pair of shorts.
What you need to look out for: If your daughter is also into sports, she and Anna will probably be each other’s biggest fan or fiercest competitor. If your daughter is more into books or dance, she will mourn the loss of her friend during the months that Anna’s sport is in session.
You really need to watch out for Jane. She wants to be your daughter’s friend. Your daughter’s only friend. Jane will start trouble if your little darling is friends with anyone but her. She gets especially riled up if she doesn’t get invited for sleepovers or sees your daughter out in public with another friend.
What you need to look out for: If Jane doesn’t make it to the top of your child’s friend list, she will sabotage her other friendships. She’ll spread rumors. She’ll take your daughter’s first boyfriend. She’ll make your daughter’s school year miserable. She will make her cry ugly tears.
Pamela’s parents will give her a cell phone when she is in 2nd grade. She will have the nicest clothes. She will have a dream bedroom. Her family will go to Disney every year and her birthday parties will always be elaborately themed.
What you need to look out for: Know ahead of time that you’ll never be as cool as Pamela’s parents. Your dear daughter will envy Pamela and will secretly wish she had been born into that family. You will suffer the grief of hearing this phrase on a routine basis, “When I was at Pamela’s house we got to…” or “Pamela’s parents gave her ____–why can’t I have one?”
Haven is a pretty harmless girl in her early years. She loves animals. She wants to save the world. She and your daughter will set up cute little fundraisers to give money to the library or local animal shelter. She will start an intense recycling program for the school and the proceeds will benefit underprivileged children in a foreign land that she learned about on a Netflix documentary. She will teach your daughter how to make friendship bracelets and tie-dyed socks.
What you need to look out for: When the girls are older, Haven will talk your daughter into ditching school to go help out at the local soup kitchen. She may not have goals to attend college and may prefer to smoke more organic things.
All of these friendships are important!
You are probably nodding your head and adding your daughter’s friend’s names to each category. You may even have friends from your own childhood that fit there, too. The thing is – each of these friendships is important. Each personality type will be a pivotal part of who your child becomes. Chances are, your little girl fits into one (or more) of these categories, too.
Yes, each friend has the potential to bring chaos to your daughter’s life. But they can also bring out the best in her, too. Worldly Wendy may help jumpstart some conversations that are sometimes difficult for a mother and daughter to begin. Boy-crazy Brittany will be so busy dating all of the boys that your daughter may be spared for heartbreak for a few years. Athletic Anna may teach your couch potato a few things and she might even find a sport that she loves, too. Jealous Jane will show your daughter how not to treat a friend–and your daughter may show her how to be a real friend. Princess Pamela needs real friends–and chances are your daughter has something that she’s a little jealous of, too. Hippie Haven will teach your daughter that it is possible to help others and they just might save the world together.
This post originally appeared on Graceful Mess. It has been reprinted with permission.
Jennifer Collins is a working mom who is married to the love of her life. They’re raising two amazing kids and a dog, too. Sounds pretty normal, doesn’t it? Well, life gets messy sometimes, and she likes to write about the victories and messes along the way. Her site is Graceful Mess and you can find her on Facebook and Instagram.