Gin had to get a little tough love tonight. I told her we needed to talk as soon as I got home this afternoon, but she avoided me after, even sneaking off to bed and then saying that she couldn't get up, she didn't want to talk, the OAT is tomorrow (Ohio Achievement Test). Too bad, I told her. You avoided me all day. We talk NOW.
I had to stop by the store this afternoon after work, and on my way out, I ran into my friend Ang. She also happens to be the mother of both my daughters' best friends. Or was anyway. Her family's going through an extremely tough time right now. About six weeks ago, her marriage ended. It had been going down for a while, but this time was the end. (Although, he's now having second thoughts and asking her back. Isn't that always the way?) Anyway, he sent Ang and her two daughters, R and C, packing, and they've been staying in a little hotel room ever since. C is Munch's best friend. And R is (or was) Gin's best friend. Ang is strong. She's holding up well and working hard to pull things together. R isn't doing so well.
Ang filled me in on the situation. It seems right about the time that her life got turned upside down, Gin got herself a new group of friends - and R wasn't a part of it. That happens, I suppose. Friends do drift apart. However, Gin decided to get into her cliquey little mentality and start treating R badly - talking about her and drawing mean pictures off her that she was passing around class. She's 11 - 12 in a couple of months - and being glorious preteen bitch queen, to put it in a nutshell. THAT behavior doesn't fly with me AT ALL.
So I sat Gin down and put her on the spot. Just once, she tried to pull the, "She started it" bit. She said R didn't like her new friends and SHE was the one who stopped sitting with her at lunch and hanging around with her at recess. I went on to tell her that R is going through the hardest situation in her life right now. Everything's in turmoil. Her life's been turned upside down. She's feeling rejected and lost and alone. If she wanted to walk away because she was hurting, she had every right to, but I told Gin it was HER job as R's friend to reach out to her when she was hurting. It was Gin's job to let her know that she'd let R be alone if she needed to be alone but that she'd be there for her to suppor her when she needed her. And even if they weren't going to be friends anymore - as I said, sometimes friends drift apart - she was absolutely out of order to betray her friendship by treating R so badly.
I told her again - I've told her before - that you don't EVER treat ANYONE that way. I told her that she has to learn to think about people's feelings, that they're real human beings. But you absolutely do not ever treat a friend that way - even if they're not your friend anymore.
And to do that to her when she was going through the toughest time in her life, at such a sensitive age too, well, I put it to her straight - I said to do THAT was stone cold bitch. I said she'd just watched her friend get hit by a truck, then she walked out into the street where she was lying and kicked her in the head.
Gin sat the entire time - after that brief moment near the beginning when she said R started it - in silence looking at me. She's good at doing the dead glare thing, but I could see that glare start to break down and some of it start to sink in - as I went on, and on.... and on. I was not going to let her off easily with this one. I'm not going to let her turn into one of those teenage monsters who pushes her peers into misery. I was always the shy, quiet one with no friends - or one friend - and I've been betrayed too often. I know how it feels.
After I had my say - looking straight into her eyes and without raising my voice the whole time - and she continued to sit there in silence. I finally asked her what she had to say for herself. She seemed almost a little choked up (almost - she's made of steel), but she answered, "Well, I feel bad." I said, "That's a start."
I told her at the very least she'd better apologize to R, and that it had better NEVER happen again. I can't for the life of me figure out how she could turn into a "Mean Girl," but you can be damn sure that I won't let it go on.