Kendra has a tendency to be too nice. I know that sounds like a good problem for a kid to have, but sometimes her sweetness just breaks my heart.
We went camping for Labor Day weekend, and it didn’t take the kids long to make new friends at the campground. The people right next to us had a son who was five and just started kindergarten and a daughter who was eight and was in third grade.
Besides just the age/grade coincidence, the kids actually had a lot in common. The little boy carried a book bag full of things like a bow and arrow, handcuffs, and a flashlight – pretty similar to the kinds of things Max usually plays with. And the girl loved dancing. That alone is enough to be a pal of Kendra’s.
When it thunder-stormed Saturday night, the kids all came in our camper to watch movies and play out of the weather with all the toys our kids brought. Kendra showed the other girl her stuffed animal collection while the boys played Matchbox cars.
The little girl really loved a particular stuffed animal of Kendra’s, which happened to also be one of Kendra’s favorites. The girl begged to have it, and I was so proud that Kendra stuck to her guns and said no because more often than not, Kendra feels pressured and gives other kids whatever they want.
The girl was relentless. She really begged and pleaded for that toy.
Kendra caved and told her that she could borrow it for the night, but she had to give it back first thing in the morning. That sounded like a pretty good compromise to me.
But, when morning came, and it was time for us to leave and time for Kendra’s new friend to return the toy, the little girl turned on the puppy dog eyes and begged for it again. She hugged it and said she would cry if she couldn’t have it.
Kendra was still saying no. I’ve talked to her so many times about how people will try to take advantage of her and how it’s okay to say no. I had even told her the night before that I was proud that she didn’t give away her animal because I knew it was one of her favorites and it was special to her.
Somehow, though, that girl ended up with that toy. She guilted Kendra right into it. Kendra told her she wanted her to have it to make her happy, and then she climbed in the truck and cried her little eyes out. It absolutely broke my heart. She didn’t want to give away her animal – she was just once again being too nice.
Kendra and I had a long talk about it. I asked her if she thought her new friend would have given one of her favorite toys to Kendra if Kendra wanted it, and she (of course) said no. We talked about how a real friend wouldn’t demand her to give up something she loved. We talked about how some people try to manipulate others to get what they want. We talked about saying no.
It’s not Kendra losing her toy that upset me. It’s the fact that she was taken advantage of.
That’s why Ronnie and I hunted until we found a store that sold stuffed animals just like those, and we bought her two to replace the one she lost.
I’m so proud of my sweet little girl.