Do you like everyone? Do you get along with everyone? No one does and it’s impossible to put such expectations on our children. They will not be liked by everyone in their class, on their team, or even in their extended family. And that is OKAY! Nor will they like everyone in their class, on their team or in even in their extended family. And that is OKAY too. We need to let our children know that it’s okay to not be invited to every birthday party (note to schools- stop insisting that if we send invitations to school, every child in the class must receive one), they will not be invited to every sleepover, and they won’t always have a friend to play with on the playground. And that is OKAY! I can think of quite a few people who don’t like me and I am sure you can think of a few who don’t like you. As adults it’s a part of life, so why are we sheltering that part from our children, which is essentially lighting a fuse that explodes in middle school and high school when kids really start to realize they don’t like some kids. I once had a principal try to tell me that if a certain girl wanted to play with my daughter, my daughter had to say yes “it was the Christian thing to do” – well, I respectfully disagreed and told my daughter that the next time the girl asked to play or (in this particular case) insisted on playing, she state to the girl, “I’m sorry but I don’t feel like playing with today, maybe another time.” There is NO NEED for a child to be rude when they don’t like someone, but you can kindly decline an invite to play. Adults do not have a problem saying to each other “No, not today.” Or “I’m just not in the mood for that.” Or just plain, “Sorry, no.” Our kids have to see the same people every day at school for 6-7 hours a day, just like an adult at work. Adults get tired of seeing the same faces everyday and they don’t like everyone they work with, nor do they want to go to lunch with the same person every day. Children certainly feel the same way, they get tired of the same kids each day, they don’t like everyone that is at their school or in their class, nor do they want to play with the same person every day at recess. I went on a road trip with two friends and my kids once, one of my friends truly got so far under my skin I was losing my mind. My kids noticed and we discussed it when we arrived back home. It’s human nature (and by the way, still love that friend, just can’t travel with her). When any human is with another human too much, they get annoying. Let’s give our children the tools to understand when someone has had enough of us, and learn to walk away and not be hurt when someone doesn’t want to or doesn’t like playing with them. And let’s give them the tools to say, kindly, to another child that they have had enough of their company. Teach our kids to use their words!