DD is 5 and began school in August.
She's settled in really well and loves going. She's made dozens (literally) of friends and plays with about 20 kids on a regular basis (she will usually name 8 or 9 a day when i ask "who did you play with today?").
She and a couple of friends are having a bit of an issue now...
DD initially liked and played with these 2 girls, i'll call them B and C, about equally. C's second language is English so though her comprehension is excellent there are some barriers (getting less by the day) with communication for her. DD likes her and i have spent time with her mother a few times (we also get on fine). Then DD became close with B too and began to come home saying "i want to play with B but C won't let me". I encouraged her to "play games EVERYONE can join in with." and "talk to the teacher if you feel upset about it."
She's tried both of those but it seems that now C really doesn't want DD to play with anyone else, and will physically grab her hand/coat and DRAG her away from other girls, not ONLY B, but ALWAYS B iyswim. She doesn't want to play games with anyone but DD and yesterday for the second time in as many weeks DD ended up in tears over it, as B was ALSO becoming possessive and DD ended up literally with one holding each hand and screaming at each other over her head!
She was rescued by an older child and cheered up by them, and came home in good spirits despite this, but i'm getting more worried about it now. I will talk to C's mother when i can, but she's working part time so i won't see her again until Monday, and i don't want to blow it all out of proportion you know?
This morning DD and i were waiting in the playground for the bell to go and C arrived, then B arrived. DD looked longingly at B then sighed and said "i want to play with C but you won't let me will you" to C. The bell then rang, which helped immensely, but i didn't know what to say to them all. I'd begun saying "you can all play TOGETHER" when the bell went.
So in addition to all this, the more passionate C gets the more frosty DD gets, which is obviously very painful for C. DD has had this problem before with a friend's son who has ASD (which i thought might be why he was so full-on as he is that way with others too). The more passion the other person displays the frostier DD becomes until it is basically bullying-by-exclusion against the other person.
I am totally lost with this - who thought 5yo playground politics could be so complex!? DD does understand what is behind C acting this way as she has told ME that if B plays with someone else she feels jealous inside that someone else is playing with her friend, but she deals with it differently by finding someone else to play with. DD is upset if C gets upset, but is also upset if she's unable to play with B or the others. It would be easier if C had other friends, but she seems focussed on DD only, and is putting most of her energies into that, and not wanting to play with others.
Today DD is going to tell the playground assistant, who she knows and who is kind and listens to the kids and helps them sort out problems - i taught DD the word "possessive" and what it means, and the ways people can feel and act possessively, in the hopes that the grown-ups will "get" what is going on better. Still worried.
What should i do? What shouldn't i do? Any ideas from mums of girls who've been through this would be so welcome, sorry for the novel!
Are they all in the same class? Have you talked to the teacher?
Some schools have social workers and part of their job is to do targeted social trainings with a class. Kids needs to *learn* social skills, and it's easier for some kids than others. It's quite possible that the teacher or social worker could address the issue with the whole class (not in a singling out way, but in a positive way) to help the kids develop better skills.
So my advice --enlist the help of professionals in the school and stay positive. It's a chance for growth for ALL the kids.
but everything has pros and cons
This is very typical behavior for 5 & 6 -- 5 & 6 year olds are at the cusp of learning that you can have more than one friend and that 'sharing' a friend doesn't mean losing them. It sounds like your daughter and some of the other children are further along that developmental curve than C is.
That being said, however, this situation is clearly beyond your daughter's ability to cope with it, and I would definitely involve the school (teacher and counselor). What C is doing is bordering on bullying, and she needs to learn appropriate social behaviors and that she can't dictate who your daughter can play with. The school definitely needs to keep an eye on it.
I'd also role play with your daughter at home, focusing on two things: 1) Telling C that she's going to go play with other children and standing up for herself and 2) going to get/call for a teacher/aide when C grabs her or tries to physically prevent her from playing with others.
i would email the teacher and let her know what's going on so she can tell the people necessary to keep an eye on the group. i am surprised the recess person hasnt noticed anything yet. physical pulling and pushing is absolutely NOT allowed in school.
this is v. normal behaviour for that age but it actually gets worse in 3rd and 4th grade.
usually i dont come between dd's playground issues. (i would if it was your dd's situation) i just listen and commiserate with her. many times i have found with dd - inspite of being terribly upset, she just wants me to listen and not try to do anything.
in 3rd and 4th grade the teachers had their own system of reporting where the kids and the teacher took care of it with very minimal parent involvement.
dd's faced this situation in 3rd grade but without any physical touch. i did not get involved. i just reminded dd to say no kindly
I'm with teaching her to seek the help of an adult when this other girl gets physical with her. Also, I would tell her that you want to know if any adults are refusing to help. Some schools teach the kids not to 'tattle' and might consider that type of thing 'tattling' even though it clearly needs intervention. Not the physical part, that would not be tattling, but the other stuff besides the physical pulling and pushing. If you know, then you can get involved if there are adults not doing their job. it does need help....*I* was the 'c' girl as a kid, and what *I* would do for 'c' girl is talk to her and help her understand that just because DD doesn't play with ONLY her doesn't mean she's not her friend. And 'C' probably needs help approaching other people--I would help her with that if I were an adult in that school. Also, I might step in and help your DD, B, and C figure out things they can do as a group. If necessary, though, I would help them understand that they do *not* HAVE TO include each other ALL the time. They are free to choose to interact as a group, include others in their group, and play as just 2, AS LONG AS THEY ARE NOT MEAN TO ANYONE. There are also valid reasons a child/children might not want to include someone, and I would talk to them and figure out if that stuff is going on and help them deal with it. Things like a person who does not share, take turns, maybe someone hits, kicks, pushes, screams when they don't get their way. Maybe they throw a fit and namecall when they lose. Maybe they always want to do or be the same thing and won't let anyone else have a turn with that role. Maybe they use someone else's things without asking or in a way that makes the owner think their thing will be damaged---maybe the person broke a toy previously. There's millions of things, and kids need help in how to talk to each other and agree to try again. That's the role the adults should be taking on, and if it were my child, I'd instruct them to tell me if the adults are not helping them deal with a situation that is bothering them.
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