I need some guidance and perspective desperately.
My 7 year old is having difficulty asking for space from a child (5yo) in our homeschool group. I will call this child W. There is some history but i'm not sure it's relevant and i'm liable to get bogged down in it if I begin typing it all out...
W is obsessed with my daughter and being next to her and copying her, etc. This has been going on for about 1.5 years. Her mother absolutely believes our daughters to be peers, despite the age difference and social maturity level differences. My daughter has complained about this little girl from the start. The little girl's older brother and my son were friends so I made the huge mistake of trying to convince my daughter to play with W. Getting the boys together wasn't possible without the girls along, if you know what I mean.
We spend 6 hours in a cooperative homeschool group 1x per week - herein lies the problem. W follows my dd the entire day, insists on sitting next to her and doing everything she does. She is very pushy and persistent. My dd is afraid of hurting her feelings because in the past, when she has tried to set boundaries, W has completely melted down and W's mother has been very very upset about that.
My attempts at communication with this mother have been a total failure. In fact, communication with her tends to cause a great deal more distress and I always regret it. So I think my only option is to arm my dd with some type of strategy - or tell her she has to suck it up - yet again.
Here is an example of the conversation dd and I had on the way home from co-op this week. DD is upset that she will be spending the next 14 weeks in a class with W (class has a very wide age range) and that W absolutely insists on sitting next to her. Given the history, I can understand dd's wanting space. My first reaction to these things is wanting to keep the peace and avoid the wrath of W's mother. I realize this is not honoring my dd's needs, though. I am afraid my perspective is out of whack due to the history we have with this family and my interactions with the mom. Please help me figure this out.