Handling a painful social exclusion situation w/10 yo DD - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 06-19-2012, 10:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Mamas!

 

I desperately need some wise Mama advice and perspective for a really painful situation. DD just had a wonderful year in fifth grade at a public open school.  DD has felt very close and connected with the 5 other fifth grade girls in her class --- her joy and a highlight of her year was that--in her mind -- they always "looked out for each other and no one was ever excluded."  She'd actually mentioned this to me many times the past few months.  My daughter knew 4 of the 5 quite well --- and had enjoyed getting to know the 5th girl (call her V) that she'd never been in class with prior to this year.      

 

DD had very excitedly and happily told me a couple of weeks ago that all of the fifth grade girls were going to meet at a local ice cream shop to hang out after the last day of school to celebrate the end of the school year.  Fast forward to the last day of school --- I arrive to pick DD up and she pulls me out into a corner of the hallway and tells me with tears in her eyes that ALL of the girls except her have been invited to a party at V's home after school. DD has absolutely no idea why all of the girls except her were invited. I double check my email to be sure that I haven't overlooked anything ---no invitation for DD.

 

So the whole group of girls leave for their party presumably at V's home --- and I take DD out for ice cream thinking that we won't see V and all of DDs class friends there and we'll have some time to regroup and visit with other friends (it's the big end of school destination).  Lo and behold there's the whole group there eating ice cream with their mothers. We say some hellos and order and eat our ice cream ---- and the whole group of mothers and daughters that includes *all* of DDs closest school friends leaves en mass to go to the party at V's home.  Ouch! Excruciating!

 

Fortunately we'd been invited to a BBQ at the home of one of DDs best friends that evening ---attended by 3 of the 5 girls (whole class invited).  The girls have meanwhile realized what happened and are really upset that DD was not included.  Had never crossed their minds that she wasn't invited...till they're all at the party and realize that DD is the only one not invited. Fortunately DD was surrounded by loving friends for the next few days.   

 

I'm really really upset about this and need to find a way to make peace with the situation.  DD is very hurt but is being very stoic about it-- and I'm helping her keep the focus on all of the many people who love her and value her and her friendship. The couple mothers that I've discussed with claim that it wasn't anything personal ---oversight --- mom only invited V's close friends of several years standing  blah blah blah. The competing explanations ---my daughter was overlooked/invisible and/or she and her friendship really didn't matter to V.  I know that I'm eventually going to end up at an event or social occasion with V and/or her mother.  WWYD? Thinking about sending V's mother a letter.  I can't carry this hurt, anger, and pain around. I'd appreciate any suggestions or BTDT wisdom.       

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#2 of 11 Old 06-19-2012, 11:13 AM
 
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I know it's hard... I absolutely do but really, you need to let it go. Whatever the reason she was excluded, you just need to smile, be friendly and teach your DD to face these situations with grace. Next time you're in a social situation with her just be nice. If it was an oversight, well, maybe it won't happen again. If she just didn't feel she knew you guys well enough, then she'll get to know you. If it were a deliberate exclusion, the best vengeance is a happy life in which she's just a little person who has no power over you. Help your DD focus on the fact that she has real friends, that those friends missed her at the party and she will be able to have them over for fun all summer. She's in 5th grade... believe me, the girl drama is only beginning. Now is the time to teach her that these little things can sting but to just let them go and move on. Teach her how to be the bigger person and perhaps invite "V" to the next all school girl gathering that YOU host. 

 

When it comes down to it, it was their party and they could invite who they wanted. Too many times I invited "everyone" to spare feelings resulting in my own kids feeling uncomfortable at their own party. That's not fair either and it only resulted in my kids not wanting to have parties. You never really know what the social dynamics are when you aren't around. Maybe "V" and your DD don't really click. Sometimes it only takes a little comment that comes out wrong or a joke that isn't appreciated to turn a person against another. Maybe they really just felt they didn't know you.

 

Plan a fun day with your DD, stay positive and try to put the incident behind you.


Married mom of two, DD 17 and DS 13.
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#3 of 11 Old 06-19-2012, 11:34 AM
 
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Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post

I know it's hard... I absolutely do but really, you need to let it go. Whatever the reason she was excluded, you just need to smile, be friendly and teach your DD to face these situations with grace. Next time you're in a social situation with her just be nice. If it was an oversight, well, maybe it won't happen again. If she just didn't feel she knew you guys well enough, then she'll get to know you. If it were a deliberate exclusion, the best vengeance is a happy life in which she's just a little person who has no power over you. Help your DD focus on the fact that she has real friends, that those friends missed her at the party and she will be able to have them over for fun all summer. She's in 5th grade... believe me, the girl drama is only beginning. Now is the time to teach her that these little things can sting but to just let them go and move on. Teach her how to be the bigger person and perhaps invite "V" to the next all school girl gathering that YOU host. 

 

When it comes down to it, it was their party and they could invite who they wanted. Too many times I invited "everyone" to spare feelings resulting in my own kids feeling uncomfortable at their own party. That's not fair either and it only resulted in my kids not wanting to have parties. You never really know what the social dynamics are when you aren't around. Maybe "V" and your DD don't really click. Sometimes it only takes a little comment that comes out wrong or a joke that isn't appreciated to turn a person against another. Maybe they really just felt they didn't know you.

 

Plan a fun day with your DD, stay positive and try to put the incident behind you.

I agree with everything PP has said. 

 

Additionally, this is your DDs hurt, not yours.  I appreciate you feel hurt FOR her, but YOU shouldn't be carrying around hurt, anger and pain.

 

I also agree that you don't know what the dynamics are, and that they can change.  For example, I was devasted at not being invited to a particular birthday party in grade 5.  I really wanted to go and I thought the other girl (also "V") and I were friends.  It turns out I was excluded because another one of her friends didn't want me invited (I found this out years later).  I was so hurt.  But I got over it and my mom helped me to get over it by being positive, and I still invited V to my birthday party a couple months later, despite being excluded.  V and I became best friends in Grade 9 and are still best friends today. 


N, wife to my goofball K partners.gif and mamma to my EC grad D (July 2010) and my new little love S (May 2013).  Exploring the uncharted territory of tandem nursing with my two boys.

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#4 of 11 Old 06-19-2012, 11:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the perspective!  I do think I'm handling it well with DD --- keeping the focus on positive friendships and holding our heads up high.

DD and I both spoke with V and her mother at the ice cream shop --- wished them a good summer in passing. The timing and very public nature of the exclusion made it painful --- and also touches on a veritable hornet's nest of ethnic and social class differences as well. I've realized the extent to which I don't feel all that accepted or included by some of the mothers. DD had been so blissfully happy about the level of cohesiveness this year --- she invited V to her birthday party and has always included her in group activities.  We'll continue to model openness and inclusion. 
 

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#5 of 11 Old 06-19-2012, 12:36 PM
 
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I'm sorry SF, that's horrible. 

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#6 of 11 Old 06-19-2012, 12:46 PM
 
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I agree with whatsnext.  I see no point in contacting anyone's mother over this.  Also, you seem to be annoyed at other 5th grade girls who realized later that your dd wasn't invited.  This has nothing to do with them unless they were the hostesses.  

 

This is just the beginning of social drama and learning how to navigate it well will be an asset.  Things can hurt.  We've been there and done that with our boys.  Our girls are a bit young yet.

 

My second ds just had his end of the year ceremony.  That was to finish 5th grade. Many, many of the families went to a local restaurant after.  He and I went too.  At first I felt bad that everyone else came in groups together and I didn't have anyone to sit with but then I realized I wasn't really friends with any of those families, nor did I need to be.  We all happened to be there because our children enrolled in school at the same time.  Not really cause for celebration or close friendship.  I do have a tight-knit community of loving friends and family, these people just aren't it.

 

So I get it...I do.


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#7 of 11 Old 06-19-2012, 12:58 PM
 
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Ouch, that's hurtful. 

 

In addition to the good advice from pp, I'd also encourage you to help your DD to expand her social groups beyond her classmates, if she hasn't already. If she has friends outside of these few girls and has other fun social events to attend, the occasional exclusion may not sting quite as much. It will still hurt but at least there will distractions and alternative options for fun and the lonely feeling won't be as overwhelming. A few fun extra-curriculars may provide a lot of opportunities to make other friends.  

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#8 of 11 Old 06-26-2012, 05:15 AM
 
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I'm going to encourage you to let it go, as hard as that may be.  You can still harbor a grudge, but be the better person. 

 

I have twin boys, and last year, only one of them was invited to the birthday party of one of their friends.  Believe me, I had similar feelings to what you're experiencing.  And the birthday boy's mom actually emailed me to say that she hoped my "left-out" son didn't feel too badly.  I was going to respond to her email, but I decided that someone so clueless about the dynamics of twins, and just plain common courtesy, wouldn't benefit from my email. (But I sure wanted to tell her a thing or two!)  She is in our social circle, so it would have been extremely awkward when we see her.  As it is now, almost a year later, I'm pleasant, but I will never actually like her again.  I'm fine with that-- she knowingly hurt my twins-- I don't need to let her into my life.  I think you could feel the same way about the family in your situation.  

 

It's up to your daughter whether she still has warm feelings for the girl.  I don't think she needs to continue to include the girl just to be polite.    In our situation, our boys have all gotten over it, and that birthday boy has been to our house since.  But I don't harbor any illusions that the friendship is super-deep with this kid.

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#9 of 11 Old 06-26-2012, 10:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks so much for all of the responses and suggestions.  Much appreciated!  We're very actively moving on and putting this behind us.  Framing this as an opportunity to learn how to deal constructively with the awkward and inexplicable interpersonal interactions that life sometimes throws our way. DD is very actively spending time with other friends. I heard from a Mama friend that this isn't the first time that this Mama has done something like this --- she tends to be "clubby" and frequently excludes children and parents in hurtful and often quite public ways.  I really don't know her --- the girls had just become friends this past year. The suddenness of this just made it especially jarring.  DD had been looking forward to going out to ice cream with "all of the girls".  No one had any idea that it was an exclusive party to which she wasn't invited--- till the invited party guests convened in her classroom during the final moments of the very last day of school.    
 

DD is very resilient and we're talking about it and examining how we choose to do things differently as a family and in our relationships.

Talking about it and writing here has helped me let go. I'm also focusing on our other friendships. I know that I can't carry that sort of hurt and anger around.  Not how I want to be in my life or in the world!

 

Thank you!

StillForest 

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#10 of 11 Old 06-28-2012, 07:17 AM
 
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I hate to tell you, but this is only the start of the jockeying for "position" in friendships, etc. My kids have both been through it a few times over the years. My son  has always marched to his own drummer, so it never really bothered him much. He's in college and has a solid core of good friends. My daughter learned oer the years that it was wise to culitivate friendships among a broad range of kids - when one group played the games, she had others to lean on. In HS, she finally developed a solid group of g/f's. Or so she thought. This past spring (her Senior year) was excruciating as "her girls" drew in other "friends"/classmates to wage war on her reputation. Nasty, nasty stuff (shich I did actually get involved with at the school). Luckily, she has friends through her club team.

 

One thing, too, that you should consider exploring. It may not be ALL about the other girls. Your daughter may have some role in this dynamic. I know my girl has a... difficult personality. She has a lot of self-confidence (which can border - if not cross into - arrogance). She is brutally honest, with absolutely no tact (and she will tell people - friends included - not to ask her a question unless they want a truly honest answer). I've worked with her to temper this for years, and it's helped a bit, but not enough, obviously. And I can understand how it grates on one to deal with it. Just something to think about...

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#11 of 11 Old 07-09-2012, 03:05 PM
 
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My heart is full, reading your post. What wonderful, wonderful responses you've received from the moms here.

 

Personally, I find the whole group-social thing to be very tough. It often seems that adult women are as busy

creating cliques and excluding others as their children are.

 

What has helped me and my children is to have friendships from all walks of life and to serve other people. My

kids have breakfast buddies who are senior citizens, they'll have coffee with adults, and they'll play silly with

toddlers as well as kids their own ages. They volunteer with other children, where they make buddies of other

ages, genders, and educational choices. They volunteer with my husband and I where they are outgoing and

kind and good listeners to people who are ragged, unbathed, of any age, might be disabled or very rough looking

and sometimes hard to look at. Having that regular perspective and a grounding away from the mind-meld of

peer fixation has been a sanctuary for the soul.

 

peace,

teastaigh
 

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