Lindsay remembers the day in first grade that she couldn’t play with Abby at recess. She wanted to, but I had told her she couldn’t. I said that Abby wasn’t a good influence, and Lindsay needed to have more than just one friend. “So tomorrow,” I told her, “I don’t want you to play with Abby. I want you to find a new friend, instead.”

For Lindsay, this was the longest recess of her life. She walked around sadly, twisting her toe in the wood chips, and wondering why Abby wasn’t a good friend. Wondering when she would ever have a friend again.

Sadly, I don’t remember this day at all. I don’t even remember Abby. I do remember worrying about Lindsay’s friend choices and the patterns that she was establishing. I worried a lot.

But at present, from our perch in her second half of eight grade, Lindsay’s first grade friendships seem rather trivial to me. And I told her so. I said, “Oh, Linds… I’m sorry. I’m sure it wouldn’t have hurt you to play with Abby.”

So, Lindsay wanted me to tell you this. She’s thinking that you might have a kindergartner or first or second grader who has chosen a less than stellar friend, or has picked up some bad habits, or is falling behind. She wants you to know that parenting is a process and you don’t have put shellac on your kid just yet. There is time for some tweaking and fine tuning.

And in seven or eight years, you’ll realize that the one you’re making the most adjustments to is you.

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