Does your son or daughter struggle with a friend that is sometimes nice and other times mean? In my house, we call those friends “Yo-Yo” friends, a term that I got from the book, Little Girls Can be Mean by Michelle Anthony.
Frenemy Jane The Sometimes Friend written by Stephanie Sorkin is about a girl named Maddie who struggles a difficult friendship with her friend Jane. Jane is a “sometimes” friend. One day she is nice and wants to play, and the next day she is teasing her and putting her down in front of others. Maddie struggles with how to handle this friendship and reaches out to her mother for help. Her mother guides her by suggesting she write a list of the “good” and “bad” things about Jane. Some of the good things include “she is sometimes funny”, and “remembers my birthday”. Some of things on her bad list include “laughs at me when something bad happens”, “wants me to be friends with only her”, etc. In the end, Maddie figures out a way to stand up for herself and face Frenemy Jane.
I enjoyed this book because as a parent I can reflect on many friends in my past that were “sometimes” friends. One friend in particular was a “sometimes” friend until the end of college when I realized that I needed to cut the friendship off because of the way she treated me. Being in a friendship with a friend like Jane can confusing and feel like you are on a roller coaster ride. It takes support and confidence to stand up to a friend like Jane. Stephanie discusses the issue of bullying in a “Note to Parents” and also has discussion questions in the back for you and your child to review within the home or school environment.
I have reviewed all of Stephanie’s books including Nutley, the Nut Free Squirrel and Chocolate Shoes with Licorice Laces. Every book that she publishes, she donates a portion of her proceeds to a non profit organization. For this book, Frenemy Jane, The Sometimes Friend, Stephanie is donating a portion of her proceeds to PACER National Bullying Prevention Center. PACER has many resources on their website for parents including templates and handouts for discussion about bullying. To help build awareness of bullying, click here. For more information about this organization, visit their website here.
I asked the author, Stephanie Sorkin some questions about her book and asked her to provide tips for parents. Check out her responses below….
1. What inspired you to write Frenemy Jane The Sometimes Friend?
I was inspired to write Frenemy Jane by an incident that happened to one of my children. My daughter had a “friend” in kindergarten who rotated between nice and mean behavior. She went to school not knowing how her friend would act that day, leading me to coin the phrase “sometimes friend”. I explained to my daughter that a friend should not act that way. I was excited to write about it…knowing that many children will identify with the story.
2. What are some tips you can share with parents to help guide their child who struggle with these type of friendships?
I hope to help parents and children cope with similar situations. My story lets the child know that telling grown ups does not make you a “tattle tale”. My book includes a discussion page with questions that encourage and educate children as to how to handle bullying behavior. For example, one question asks “Does bullying take place only at school?” Students and parents can come up with answers together.
I encourage parents to remain positive and approachable. Children who bully can often be rehabilitated with the proper support system. I have always encouraged my kids to give someone more than one chance. If such behaviors are repeated, remove your child from the situation , if possible. Notify the appropriate personnel (teachers, etc) if necessary. If it’s a classmate, make sure that your child feels safe. Assure your child that they did not do anything to “deserve” the treatment and make sure that their self esteem remains in tact.
To check out my interview with Stephanie Sorkin about her other published books, click here.