Relational aggression by tween girls towards our 7 year old daughter? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 10-05-2009, 05:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am posting here because I am stumped about what to do.

Our daughter will turn 8 in a few weeks. We homeschool her. But we live in a neighborhood full of children, and our daughters favorite friends in the neighborhood are three fourth grade girls who go to the local public school.

The situation that is coming up involves two girls, called A and B for the purposes of this post. A and B live next door together and are good friends with each other.

A and B come to our house a few times a week, usually knocking on the door and asking to play. They sometimes come together, sometimes separately. The girls usually play with makeup, dress up, and they are currently writing a play together.

Girl A has in the past tried to frighten our daughter with stories about her dead grandfather living in OUR house and so forth. I didn't give this much thought, just told our dd it was nonsense and silly.

But the next act by Girl A has me concerned. Girl A told my daughter that Girl B actually "can't stand" our daughter and that Girl B "hates" our daughter, and that Girl B only comes to our house because of Girl A. After hearing that, our daughter decided Girl B should no longer come to our house or to her birthday party, which is coming up in a few weeks.

I believe that Girl A is just jealous about Girl B being friends with our daughter. But I don't know. I don't know their mothers well -- they seem very mainstream and they are 15-20 years younger than I am.

Honestly, I do not know how to handle this stuff. Our daughter is very sad, because she thought Girl B liked her.

Our homeschooling friends say that we should simply avoid these kids, but our daughter is an extravert and she really likes both girls, plus all the kids play together in our neighborhood. The second grade girls, whether homeschool or public school, do not seem to like our daughter very much, and they rarely reach out to her.

OK, so please help me out. To make matters worse, there is an annual Halloween party across the street where the neighbor invites almost all of the kids in the neighborhood except for ours. I don't know how to handle that, either.
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#2 of 7 Old 10-05-2009, 11:31 PM
 
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It does sound like jealousy to me. We've had to deal with that a LOT over the past three, almost 4 years (DD is now 11). Girls start to get really mean around that age (8/9ish). Honestly it needs to be your DD's choice. She can go to the Halloween party with your support and know that if at any time she doesn't feel happy or is getting picked on she can get you and go. DD has a "friend" who we've known for YEARS. This girl has been through a lot, and often lies to DD about random things just to cause hurt. We don't ever intentionally make playdates with her, or do anything to go out of our way to see her, but we travel in interconnecting circles and they do bump in to each other. I've had long talks with DD about how to handle this, and she knows that under any circumstance she can separate or we can leave if things start to upset her. Sometimes this girl is awesome, sometimes not.

My point is, I wouldn't have DD stop playing with these girls all together unless SHE wants it that way. She'll be dealing with icky people for the rest of her life, and helping her learn how to handle them and/or ignore them is a very important life lesson. If she seems unphased by all of this, maybe the girl will look for drama elsewhere? Best of luck!

Proud mama to DD#1 (11) DS (4) and DD#2 ( 2 )
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#3 of 7 Old 10-06-2009, 03:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Would you talk with the girls' mothers at this point or would that be an overreaction?
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#4 of 7 Old 10-06-2009, 04:03 AM
 
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First I would explain to my kid that Girl A is being immature and rude.

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But the next act by Girl A has me concerned. Girl A told my daughter that Girl B actually "can't stand" our daughter and that Girl B "hates" our daughter, and that Girl B only comes to our house because of Girl A...
I would speak directly to Girl A. I would tell her that this is what my child understood her to have said and explain why it is totally inappropriate thing to say to someone younger. She'll most likely deny saying it. I wouldn't worry about that. I'd send her home and tell her she's welcome to come over the next day, so she can cool off a bit.

I'd also stay out of the way but close enough to hear Girl A for the next few visits after that, just to make sure she's not scolding your daughter for "telling."

I'll tell ya, a well placed baby monitor can convince even a fourth grader that their friend's mother is an all-knowing force to be reckoned with!
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#5 of 7 Old 10-06-2009, 07:50 AM
 
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I agree with the above posts. Unfortunately, this type of negative social interaction becomes common at this age, and it can show up anywhere-playground, school, youth activities, etc. So the point is that beyond this specific circumstance, your dd needs the skills to deal with this type of behavior in other situations. Sometimes kids just "naturally" seem to know how to respond, but others (like my own dd) need some help.

I would first and formost make your home a safe spot. Doors open, checking in, and clearly articulating if/when something unacceptable is said. I would also talk w/ your dd about what a friend really is-how do they make you feel when you are around them, are they nice to you, or make you feel badly. Real friends do not try to hurt each other.

The American Girl series has a book entitled The Care and Keeping of Friends, which might be a bit old for your dd, but has good conversational jumping off points. There are many good books about relational aggression out right now for parents as well.
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#6 of 7 Old 10-06-2009, 09:49 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yogachick79 View Post
If she seems unphased by all of this, maybe the girl will look for drama elsewhere?
Yes, unphased. Bored. "This again?"

My dd is 8, and has dealt with this kind of jealousy with a few friends, although usually she is in the role of B (a friend is trying to scare away another friend). Luckily, dd has a good understanding of these dynamics, and stands up to the child who is bullying (I hate to label the child a bully, because I've seen girls get past this behavior and become a decent friend).

What is your feeling on B and her mom? I might start there. It wouldn't be a confrontational conversation with the mom, because B's dd isn't making the bullying comments. But B is in a strong position to make an impact, since her friendship is important to A. Dd reassures the friend that she is important to her, and dd really wants to be her friend, but can not accept her being mean to [other friend].

A good book on the subject is Barbara Coloroso's The bully, the bullied, and the bystander. I think every parent of a child this age should read it, because our children will likely fall into one of those categories over the next few years.

Finally, I would encourage my dd to value her own judgment of B's feelings over A's assessment. Does B seem to like playing with you? Do you have fun together? Has she given you any reason to believe she hates you? Never replace your own good judgment with another child's jealous ravings.
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#7 of 7 Old 10-07-2009, 11:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much for your help and insight. I am so inexperienced with this sort of thing, aside from my own tortured childhood.
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