Mary has always been very friendly, but has never really had a "friend". This year, a girl in the neighborhood started going to Mary's school. I take both girls to and from school each day . I was thrilled to see Mary interact with this girl, they both seemed to understand each other and not get bothered by the sometimes off the wall conversations. Mary also opened up at school, her teachers where pleased with how she grew socially. Even her reading voice became louder, the teachers could finally hear her. I know having this friendship helped Mary to not feel so different. Now, like her brother and sisters, she had friends. I was happy to see her not spend so much time alone. This girl also has a sister Mary's age , so everyday there was someone to play with.
Well, we have had to put the breaks on this situation. Mary has developed some negative behaviors and I have noticed changes in her attitude that I am not pleased with. There was an incident here in the neighborhood where one of the girls blamed Mary. Fortunately a neighbor witnessed the whole thing and Mary had nothing to do with it. Mary however, was traumatized! It was impossible to help her understand that we knew she didn't do anything wrong. Both of these girls have had a rough upbringing, they are being raised by their grandparents because mom has been deemed unfit. So, understandably there are behavior issues.
So, after talking with their Grandmother, I asked that she keep the girls from coming by everyday. Mary is so easily manipulated and very easily influenced, and I am afraid both of these girls have taken advantage of that fact. Even Grandma admitted to that, with explanation of course. I know that I cannot shelter Mary from everything, she needs to interact with other kids. I can however, do whatever it takes to make sure she is not taken advantage of. Mary is a wonderful mimic, she tends to take on the likes, dislikes and mannerisms of other people. They say it's because she doesn't know how to act like her own person. Something clinical like that.
Mary will start "play therapy" with a psychologist in August and I will do my best this summer to help her learn to be herself. To help her understand what it is like to have, and to be, a good friend. It's funny, because Mary has such a wonderful, unique personality all her own. It would be nice if everyone were a little more like Mary.