So here's the background.
We live next door, no fence in between the yards. "Bonnie," the mom has 5 kids living with her, ages 16 to 6. She is a hardworking mom, with DH not helping out much, and she often babysits too, so she has an extra kid in the mix. The kids are very outdorsy, and are outside all the time, when they are home. They are mostly home.
J is 10, a year older than DD9. We've been here for just over a year.
DD is very social and likes to have an easily available playmate, but the dynamics have been getting compliated.
J tends to be controlling and manipulative. She hasn't forced DD into anything bad or dangerous, but they do what J wants. Most of the time it corresponds to what DD wants too, and things are fine, but when it doesn't, J wouldn't let go. If DD is reluctant, J just whines and goes home. On the other hand, DD feels guilty going home when the activity is not what she wants to do. She doesn't want to hurt J's feelings.
J has called her names, 'cry baby' and 'loser'. She is trying to control who DD plays with.
When the girls had a minor disagreement over dandelion vs. colt's foot, J didn't speak to DD for two weeks. Glared at her every time she saw her, and tried to make other kids not to play with DD.
J is difficult even for me to handle. When I didn't allow DD to go to a day trip with J's family, J grabbed me by my waist, and kept on whining and begging, despite me asserting myself and telling her to stop.At first it looked like she was being playful, and I played along, but my initial playful / gentle requests to stop were ignored. When I used a firmer, very serious tone, she didn't let me go, until I forcefully removed her, and it wasn't easy! This is just to illustrate, that a simple 'No, thank you," does not work with her. She persists and persists. Then she pouts, often for days, afterwards.
She called me 'mean mommy' to my face, but also, seemingly joking, so my response was also playful, something like, 'What do you know, I'm not your mommy,' but this behaviour is pretty alien to me.
J has issues with boundaries--even after I explained to her that she can't know on our door when the curtains are drawn, she still does, often waking someone, as our sleeping hours are different from hers.
DD has admitted that she can't trust J with her emotions, and she hopes they end up good playmates, but not necessarily close friends.
DD and I read some books on bullying yesterday, and one, Confessions of a Former Bully, really spoke to her. But she feels she wants to help J. She feels that J is probably bullied at school (her nickname there is 'bossy'), and that her 12 yo sister bosses her around, and that's why J is like this. DD is compassionate towards J, because they ARE similar--both very sensitive, both take a long time to get over things. The difference is that DD is really trying to be a good friend, and is understanding and supportive, while J is more controlling and manipulative. DD wishes J had a nice councellor to talk to, like the girl in the book.
When J was not speaking to DD, other than telling her that she wants her to feel 'bad for what she's done', I tried to talk to the mom, Bonnie. Bonnie just gives me canned replies, like kids will be kids, and both girls want to be the leader, etc, and wasn't concerned at all. I can't talk to her--she always has a response to everything, but it is not really a response, and I get lost. Bonnie seems respectful to her kids, doesn't spank, doesn't yell, but she has this fed-up, matter of fact attitude.
DH thinks that maybe he could talk to Bonnie (he thinks really well on his feet). His idea is to arrange a meeting for both girls and the parents, and maybe read that book together (The Confessions of a Former Bully). It is short, and has a great approach, without blaming anyone; it also offers solutions. He thinks that if it is all in the open, it will be easier for DD to call J on her behaviour, and remove herself from the situation.
And these are complications:
DS6 wants to sometimes play with the 6yo twins.
DD is always eager to play with J, when she calls.
There's no fence.
The neighbours' parents are never out when the kids are out, and often aren't even at home.
My mama bear instinct is to build a 9 feet tall privacy fence and a gate . We can't really afford it, and I'm not sure it will help the situation.
I'd like to hear more thoughts on how to have a meeting like this. How to talk to Bonnnie about it, and how to talk to J as well, so it ends up being a productive, supportive meeting.
It the above is a bad idea, what is a good one?