My oldest dd will be 12 in a little over a week. She is in public school(we were homeschooling until about 3 years ago so I never even thought we would be dealing with this stuff) and has a few good friends. Lately she has been less talkative about her friends and what they talk about(we used to just talk about everything more). There was a nice girl that she was really close with, they always said they were like sisters and she called me her second mom, but in the last couple of weeks they had some kind of falling out, and my dd said she does not want to be her friend at all anymore. From the snippets of info I get I feel like my dd and the friends she is hanging out more with at school lately are kind of doing the "mean girl" thing with her old friend. I just have a weird nagging feeling that my dd may be doing/saying things that are really hurting this other kiddo that used to be so cclose with her. I have tried to talk to her about it, but she is not very willing to open up so I have kind of left it alone. I feel awful because we see her everyday at school pickup and she always looks so sad. I put so much energy/worry into making sure that my dd wasn't the target of this kind of behavior and I am honestly mortified/sickened that she is possibly causing someone this kind of harm. Any advice?
Talk to your dd about what may be going on.Let her know it is ok to stop being friends with someone,but never ok to be mean towards that person. You could call the mom of the girl in question to see what(if anything) the girl is experiencing at school.Sometimes kids go along with group behavoir(mean girls),because they are fearful the others in the group will turn on THEM. Talk to your dd about these things.There are books for girls about this exact issue.
For starters, don't blame yourself. No kid in this age range comes out of it smelling like a rose. My own DD at 13 did some things I NEVER would have thought possible. It's the age and it sucks.
My advice is to contact this girl's mom with your concerns. Kids do need to figure out their own relationships but it will go a long way if YOU call and say "hey, I've noticed some changes and I'm worried my child is being a creep." You might get the story but more importantly, you are telling this family "I don't approve" and that has some healing properties in itself. Believe me, it's much better than GETTING the "your child is being a creep" call (and yes, I did get one.)
FWIW, for us, it lasted about 6 months. I rode DD pretty hard. I increased the amount of community service we did as a family. I made it difficult for her to connect with the negative influences without directly forbidding it. When I caught wind of poor behavior towards another, I called her out. At one point I told her that while I loved her as my child, I really didn't like the persona she was trying out. My DH let her have it once and that REALLY had impact because she's always had a special connection with daddy. I don't know that *we* actually turned things around. I think we just helped lessen the amount of damage she did. It lasted about 6 months and then she started returning to the sweet, empathetic girl that I knew and was proud of.
Don't let her get away with it but also now that it's not likely to last forever.
Thank you so much!! I am so glad you both mentioned calling the other girls' mom. I have been wanting to do it, but didn't know if it was appropriate. I will do that for sure. It is also comforting to know that this could be just a phase. I will stay with it, keep talking, and making sure she know that this is not ok. She has gotten pretty mean with her siblings in the last few months too(lots of name calling, which is not tolerated at all) and kind of pushing away from everyone. I still see glimpses daily of the girl I knew, so hopefully it doesn't get worse. lol SO glad to know I can come here and get some advice. This whole pre-teen/teen thing does not come as naturally to me as the infant/toddler/preschool age did.
I shared this article with my dd, age 12. We talked about different instances of alpha and beta behavior. She decided she wants to be a gamma, and she wants to help her friends become gammas as well. :-)