Sophia is, for the most part, in a place of equilibrium. We know what to expect, she delivers. She knows what to expect, and we deliver. She gets plenty of sleep and good things to eat, so she feels safe and happy. So there isn't a lot to say.
The parenting issues that we do have are of a different nature entirely. I feel like my job, right now, is preparation for teenage years. This is true of every parent, I know. The issues we have had lately have been about navigating her through relationships and helping her to know herself. We spend a lot of time talking about manipulation. I let her know when she does it to me. I try to call myself out (or she does) when I use it on her. However, the most common initiation of this topic comes from school.
Sophia has a group of very close friends at school. There isn't a kid in her class that Sophia doesn't count as a friend, but four or five of them are tight. This is a situation I have been watching closely from the beginning. It's the potential beginning of childhood friendship trauma, and my objective is to keep her from being at either end of such a disaster.
So far, Sophia still shares with me everything that happens. When a friend says things like, "I won't be your friend if...," or "I will play with you if...," and my personal favorite, "If you're my friend, you'll..." My first response to this is always a question about her feelings when this statement is made.
She is more than willing to share with me times that she didn't use her words kindly. So far, though, that's largely snippiness and irritation, which can also be hurtful, of course. However, she is very aware that friendship cannot be used as a weapon. In her words, "Yeah, I can't ask someone to be my friend and then just *makes whipping motion and sound*." I think she gets it...
I guess we've been doing pretty well on this topic because the other day, she told me that she told a friend that she was feeling too much pressure about something particular. She could not promise to do what the friend required, and the friend ended up understanding. I love that Sophia is confident enough in her personhood and her friendship that she can express her thoughts and feelings. It's the best thing for the kids on both ends of that discussion.
Of course it's still hard at times. She doesn't like to disappoint others. And this is just the tip of a very large iceberg, especially since her friends are all kind and generous in nature. And, of course, they're 6...
I just keep on with what we're doing, hopeful that Sophia can see enough success in being herself that it becomes just as easy and just as good an idea as being someone else in order to win acceptance.
*to my knowledge, Sophia's friend in the picture with her has never tried manipulation. Just felt the need to say that.