Is your child a “Heather”?

by Honest Mom contributor, Janine Huldie – blogger at Janine’s Confessions of a Mommyaholic

Is your child a Heather“Are you a Heather?” “No, I am a Veronica.” Yes, for those who can remember back that far, I am quoting a conversation from the 1988 movie Heathers between Winona Ryder (Veronica) and Christian Slater. You are probably asking – why I am doing this?

Well, I had an experience with my three-year-old daughter at her preschool, where she was involved in being a part of the so-called “in crowd.”

Let me set up a bit of background. My older daughter, Emma, has three cousins, and they all are born the same year and are the same age. They have, of course, been best friends and played with each other from pretty much as far back as they can remember

This year when Emma started preschool, both of her cousins did, too. They all go to the same school and are even in the same class. When Emma refers to her cousins, she simply says “My Friends.” Even though they are her cousins, to her they are just friends. We are so happy to see them together, because they do truly love each other.

And it is a very cute scene with the three of them walking down the hall holding hands, because they remind me (at least) of three little old ladies with their walking pace – and they sometimes bicker like them, too.

One of their classmates, another little girl (I will call her “Veronica”), was standing with her mom waiting for the day to begin. I had spoken to this mother a handful of times, and she always told me that Veronica talks about Emma often at home. Well, Veronica was standing there and wanted to hold hands with the three “Heathers.” If you have seen the movie Heathers, then you probably know where I am going with this. The Heathers, of course, wanted nothing to do with Veronica, and she stood there dejected, hiding behind her mother.

My heart broke for Veronica, because when I was young, I was never one of the popular kids, and I knew how it felt to be left out. I also was embarrassed and ashamed of Emma, because I have not raised her to be this type of person, and have always encouraged her to be outgoing (she was uber-shy even up to last year), but to be a kind and warm person, too.

I then tried to include Veronica by telling Emma that they were in the same class, so why not hold her hand, too? My “Heather” wanted no part of it, and that left me shocked and upset.

Emma went into class and I stayed behind to speak to Veronica’s mother, who was nothing short of gracious and totally understanding that the three girls grew up together.

But still, I came home feeling terrible and mentioned it to my husband Kevin when he called from work. He was just as appalled and thankfully on the same page as me. We discussed how we were truly not part of that in-crowd and remembered what that felt like way back when.

At dinnertime, Kevin had a conversation with our little “Heather” about what happened at school, and by the end of it, I felt he got his point across to Emma.

After their conversation was over, we both agreed that we needed to keep a better eye on the situation and even try to set up a playdate, so that Emma can play with Veronica more and get to know her better.

It is ironic, because last year another blogger was talking about “the mercy playdate” and how her son wanted nothing to do with it – but in the end it turned out more than fine and her son enjoyed himself. I even commented on that post that I didn’t think I would have to deal with this for a few years.

I guess I was off by a couple of years. But I will say this: I do not want my daughter to be a Heather and to be hurtful to other kids her age. And will do anything I can in my power to make sure of this.

Has your little kid been a “Heather” – or a “Veronica”? What did you do about it?