Cognitive Story Audio:
Feeling Sad Because Friends Were Mean
This is a cognitive story for children. The purpose is to help children learn how to handle different situations.
A cognitive story teaches children how to think rationally about problems that commonly occur in childhood.
These stories are often good at bedtime because the end of the story focuses on relaxing and drifting off to sleep.
This audio is a conversation between a wise old parrot and a child. The parrot advises the child when the child is troubled about being hurt by friends. The story the audio is based on is also listed below so that it can be read to a child.
As told by Carol Watkins, professional storyteller
. Written by Dr. Monica Frank.
Transcript: Feeling Sad Because Friends Were Mean
You lie back on your pillows and try to go to sleep. But your thoughts about what happened today are busy in your mind and you feel sad. It is harder to relax and drift off to sleep when you are feeling sad. You are hoping that your friend, the parrot, will stop by because you need to talk.
You are thinking about how your friends were mean to you at school. You want to go to sleep but you can't get the thoughts out of your mind. You feel so sad. Suddenly, you hear a “squawk.” Opening your eyes you see your friend the parrot on the windowsill with its wings spread as if it just landed. You notice the deep blue, the bright yellows, greens, and reds of its feathers as it shakes its wings and folds them back.
The parrot squawks “You look like you need to talk. Let's go to our special place.”
You eagerly join your friend for a walk in your special place. Your special place is a winding trail through a park with lavender grass and silver leafed trees. The sky is always pink with tinges of red and orange. Wisps of clouds of all colors float lazily across the sky. The sunlight sparkles on the silver leaves of the trees almost like drops of water. You hear the birds chirping in the trees and occasionally see a flash of color as a bird flies from one tree to another. At spots along the path are benches surrounded with colorful flowers and butterflies flitting from one to another.
As you walk the parrot flies next to you, sometimes gliding high in the air and sometimes swooping next to your shoulder. It is a beautiful sunny day and you feel a gentle breeze blowing.
Your friend squawks “You look like you are sad today. What's wrong?”
You tell the parrot about something that made you sad. “Today at school my friend played with someone else and ignored me. I was all alone. No one likes me.”
The parrot says “But that isn't true—I like you.”
You tell the parrot “It's not the same. My friends didn't want to play with me. When I tried to play with them, they made fun of me. They don't like me.”
The parrot glides down and sits on the back of a nearby bench and invites you to sit down. You sit on the bench feeling the rough painted wood against the backs of your legs. The bench is shaded under a large silver-leafed tree. A butterfly settles down on your shoulder as if listening to your conversation with the parrot.
The parrot begins to talk to you. “It's sad when friends don't want to play with you. But it doesn't mean that you aren't likeable. Other children are trying to figure things out just like you are. Sometimes the way they do it is awkward and hurtful. Not everyone has a friend like me to help them understand what they feel.”
“But it still hurts!” you say to your friend, the parrot.
The parrot responds, “I know it does. It hurts a lot when you get left out and when others ignore you. But it doesn't mean you did anything wrong or that there is something wrong with you.”
You ask the parrot, “What should I do?”
The parrot tells you, “Sometimes you can't change the situation, but you want to remember that things don't stay the same. You will have other friends in your life. You can focus on what you can learn from this about being a good friend.”
“What do you mean?” you ask.
The parrot spreads its wings for a moment, preens its feathers, and explains, “When you are hurt by someone else, it can teach you about how you want to be with others. If you want to be a good friend, what would you do differently than your friend?”
You say, “I wouldn't be mean!”
“Does that mean you have to always play with everybody?” the parrot asks you.
You think for a moment and respond, “No, I can't always play with everybody.”
“Does that mean you don't like the people you don't play with?” the parrot asks.
“No,” you respond. “I just like some kids better.”
“Do you sometimes want to do something different than what your friend wants to do?” asks the parrot.
“Sometimes,” you say.
“Does that mean you don't like your friend?” the parrot asks as the breeze ruffles its feathers.
“No, I still like my friend,” you answer. “But we can't always like the same things.”
The parrot says, “Maybe that is true of your friend, too. Maybe sometimes your friend wants to play with someone else.”
You protest, “But my friend shouldn't have made fun of me!”
The parrot answers, “You're right, but like I said earlier, other children are sometimes confused, too, and trying to figure things out themselves. What have you learned from this?”
You say, “I learned that if I don't want to play with a friend I can let them know I still like them but I want to do something else.”
The parrot asks, “Is there anything you can do about how your friend treated you today?”
You answer, “I could tell my friend how I feel. But what if it doesn't help?”
The parrot tells you, “Things don't always work out the way you want them to but they are still worth trying. By learning these lessons today, it will help you with friendships the rest of your life. By being a good friend, you will have good friends. But sometimes you will lose friends and when you do, it is sad. But that doesn't mean you did anything wrong.”
You and your friend, the parrot, get up from the bench and continuing walking. You feel a little better because sometimes just talking about something sad feels better even if things haven't changed. Just having your friend listen to you helps you feel better. When you get back to your room you snuggle in your bed and close your eyes as you hear the flap of wings flying off into the distance.
You are still a little sad but you know that you can handle it. You know you can relax a little now and fall asleep. You focus on taking a slow breath and noticing the muscles in your chest move with each breath. Those muscles begin to relax with each breath you take. You notice the air coming into your body as you take a slow breath and you notice the air leaving your body. You feel your muscles relaxing more and more.
You snuggle deeper in your cozy bed. As you continue to breathe slowly your body relaxes. You feel yourself beginning to become drowsy. It feels so good to snuggle in your bed! You feel yourself drifting, drifting, drowsy, and relaxing. You feel as if you are drifting off to sleep, so drowsy, feels so good.
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