Friday, February 25

“How do you find friends for your kids on the road?”

As a parent we want the best for our kids. We want them to be healthy, self confident, happy, and for some of us, we want them to have a lot of friends….. And that’s where things start getting complicated. As a social butterfly myself I just naturally assume my kids are supposed to have a lot of friends, like I always had. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Living a life without school, or even a neighborhood for that matter, my kids have become each other’s best friends, but for a while (ok, and somewhat still to this day) I sought out other kids for them to play with. Only it didn’t take me long to realize I wasn’t doing it for them….I was doing it for ME.
If you ask my kids, they are perfectly content with their social life. If you ask them if they’d like to have more friends, they just shrug their shoulders, ehhh. It’s not even something that crosses their minds. My kids have taught me that “friends” come in all shapes and sizes…..and species. They don’t have to be of the two legged variety for them to be considered their friends.
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While we were with our friends in Colorado, Jewel woke up in a running sprint every morning to play with our friends goat and llama’s. Even the feral cats couldn’t resist her charms. While Jewel chose the stinky friends, the boys enjoyed every minute they could with our fifty-something-year-young host, Dennis. They played Battlefield Bad Company 2 on the Xbox together and just couldn’t get enough of his funny, quirky spirit. There was a mutual respect between those three, and I seriously think when they were together, there was no age difference. They were just….friends.
Still to this day if you ask Jewel who her best friend is, she’ll say, Lisa. Lisa is my forty something friend that we met in a campground about three or four years ago. We still keep in touch, and see each other whenever we can, which isn’t often, but as much as Lisa is my friend, she is also, truly, Jewel’s friend. 
When the boys were younger their cousins were always great friends for them to play with, but now that they’re getting older and the age gap seems to be somehow increasing, the relationships have completely changed. Luckily though, my brother and his wife had an “oops” baby while I was pregnant with Jewel and I have now come to believe that she was put here just for Jewel. Jewel counts down the days on the calendar when we’re in town until the weekend comes, just so she can have Lillie over.
We’ve been to a couple unschooling conferences which we went to under the guise of “it’s for the kids” but none of them led to lasting friendships for them. They were too busy playing with each other.
I have learned there’s no need to try and find them friends, they do just fine on their own.
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15 comments:

activated said...

Love It!

Soultravelers3 said...

Interesting! I agree that kids need to lead and friends come in MANY varieties.

I think I may be more like your kids and my solo kid might be more like you as she is extremely social and I am a true introvert. She has made friends all over the world in many languages and every age..including animals of every sort. In campgrounds in Europe she finds friends within seconds even when no one speaks one of her languages.

We've been on an open ended world trip for the last 5 years ( 39 countries on 5 continents) and she makes friends every where, but it also fine when there is not anyone around. That said, if she never saw her friends or was always alone I think she would not like that as she is very much a people person and she does not have siblings.

For us, following her lead, means honoring her needs to be more social than her more introverted parents.

The Jennings said...

Absolutely agree! My kids are the best of friends and I hope that never changes. Friends come in all shapes and sizes!

Heather's Moving Castle said...

I am with you on this one! I have stopped trying to set up play dates. The boys have grown closer and we are all a lot more content. They still have a lot of friends they see weekly or monthly--but it is very informal and only when my kids ask for it or when their friends call. Glad to see you are well.

The Lundys said...

Kimberly stole my words! Love it! Species, too funny! They really do kinda take care of themselves don't they?!

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Heather said...

Stumbled upon your blog and I'm diggin' it. Great insights. The kids and friends question is one that I've been pondering as I'm deciding to rv fulltime or not with a young kid.

The Solla-Mates said...

really fascinating post! My husband and I don't have any kids yet, but now that we're getting into the RVing lifestyle, we've often wondered how that would work with children. It's good to know you have such happy, well-adjusted kids!

your blog is wonderful by the way...will enjoy seeing where your travels take you!

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