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My kid hasn’t even reached kindergarten age, and I’m already worried about his social standing. Wait—before you leave, I promise this isn’t as vapid as it sounds.

The only reason that I want my kid to be liked in school is because I can’t stand the thought of him coming home crying because people have laughed at him, rejected him, made fun of him, etc. I just don’t know if I’m strong enough for it. I’m not even using the word popular in the scenario because it has ridiculous connotations. I can only hope that he makes a few good friends and is kind to others and has a healthy school experience, if that’s even possible.

I never had issues with being unpopular in school, save for that really awkward stage in sixth grade (chubby, glasses, frizzy hair, the works). But I did have some family issues growing up that made me feel like I couldn’t be myself. Even though I had friends, I was well-acquainted with feeling alone and vulnerable and trying so desperately to cover it up.

Maybe that’s how every kid is destined to feel some time in their school years, who knows? I can only speak to my experience.

I get that it’s not realistic to try to shield my kid from any unpleasantries in life. I want him to experience some negative emotions so that he can learn to work through them himself. Tough emotional situations can also teach him to have empathy for others.

There’s no easy solution for this because I know that my son will probably come home crying at least once in his lifetime. I haven’t figured out how I’m going to comfort him while teaching him that disappointment and loneliness and vulnerability are healthy and expected parts of life, in small doses.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. If I’ve learned anything from the Mommyish community, it’s that teaching kindness to kids really does matter. I may not be able to guarantee that my son will always have friends at school, but I can teach him to look out for kids that don’t. I know that this shouldn’t be about me, but I don’t know how I’m going to handle it if my son is the kid that is always excluded and sits alone in class.

(Image: Twin Design/Shutterstock)