I don't like the neighborhood kids - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 22 Old 05-15-2005, 04:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My daughter is 10 years old. We live in a small subdivision, maybe 50 homes. There is a group of about half a dozen girls approximately my daughter's age (9 to 11) that lives here. I don't really like them. They are not always nice to each other, or to my daughter. She is a bit of an outsider in this group because they all attend the public school across the street and she is home schooling. They always have to have one girl who is not part of their "club" and though it's not always my daughter who is "out", it often is.

She desperately wants to be part of the group, but I want her to know that it is not important to belong to an "in crowd". I try to model this, she knows that many of the choices that her dad and I make are not "normal" (at least around here) but are what we feel is right. Some examples are, not driving new cars (I drive a 96 and he drives a 99) or being big spenders, co-sleeping with her 2yo sister, I am still breastfeeding, I am a SAHM (unheard of in this neighborhood!) etc, etc, etc.

She has made friends in her homeschool group and I try to get her together with them, and we go to a homeschool group meeting on Thursdays. She is part of a homeschool soccer team. She has a really close friend that she's known since they were 5, and though they are not near our neighborhood they do get together about once a month for some fun and they talk on the phone often. BUT, the default playmates she has are these mean girls.

Right now she is at a Girl Scout meeting, a troop that she really likes being in (she is the only homeschooler but the other girls attend 4 different schools in town). These other "friends" came knocking on the door earlier looking for her and when I said she was at GS they made faces and said things like "Oh...yeahhh" and "I *used* to do that but it stank", as they were walking away. Aaargh!!!

I don't really know what I'm looking for here but I just wanted to talk...my IRL best friend is gone for the weekend and I wouldn't call up my other IRL friends to complain about this in the middle of a Sunday afternoon. How *do* you other moms handle this kind of thing? I don't want to make her an outcast by forbidding her from playing with these kids, but on the other hand, I would *love* to keep her away from them as much as possible without making it obvious. We live here, these are our neighbors and the kids we're stuck with at least for the next few years.
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#2 of 22 Old 05-15-2005, 07:43 PM
 
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Well, my thought is that unless you are planning on moving soon and your daughter wants to never play with a neighborhood girl, you need to get to know these girls ASAP. I like all the kids in my neoighborhood, but when I talk to my next door neighbor, she says "I hate all the kids in this neighborhood except yours". Sje esp hates this one little kid that I adore. I accept that I have more patience than most, but since I live here, and my kids play outside **all the time**, I have made it a point to learn as much as I can about the kids when they are here. There are a couple whp def could be nasty, but since I am always talking to them, reminding them that everyone who plays at our house needs to feel safe , there are certain standards I hold them to.

My neighbor, imo, is wrong wrong wrong. She doesn't care to get to know them and she assumes that little children who argue are mean. Her kids are by no means perfect, let me tell you. *All* kids, even the sweet homeschooled ones can get crabby and snappy to their friends, and say things sometimes that are not all sweetness and light. I accept that kids are like grownups-- sometimes they just lose their heads, They feel shy or embarrassed and say things they might feel bad about after. Do you ever remember saying something to a friend you wished you hadn't? Kids are no different.

I don't beleive it's possible that *all* the kids in your neighborhood are jerks, even if they do go to school. Have them inside, make cookies with a couple, give them a snack, as what they like to do, if they like sports, whatever it is.

My neighbor is convinced all the kids are horrible, nasty children, but they are not. But I know them, I give them odd jopbs around the yard, and I pay them a dollar for things they do etc. I 'm gonna share this next little story with you, and I swear to you, every detail is true. I gave my sister a baby shower yesterday, and I had yard work, patio and porch to sweep, dusting and vacccuuummmming that needed to be done etc. I had about 6 kids here helping. They swept the patio, they swept the porch, a couple of them cleaned my patio doors with spray, one 13 yr old vaccumed while my kids dusted etc. It cost me $8 and they did a fab job. I told them how helpful that was, how less stressed I was etc. I *truly* appreciated it.

If you get to know the kids, tell them the rules of your house etc., you will watch kids you think are nasty turn into people you like to be around. One of the little girls who plays in the sandbox, who is 11, at my house with my 6 yr old wears heavy eye makeup and body glitter. She looks like nothing you would want your child around. She has an older sister she adores, like much much older, so is exposed to older teen interests. She is so sweet when she is here, so thoughtful. Kids are not always who they present.

My feeling is you live in a community, you participate in the community. You try to get to know your neighbors, unless you want to be locked in your house all the time. My kids are the only ones in the neiighboorhood who are homeschooled, they used to be the only ones who went to private school. I drive a 10 yr old Volvo and there are plenty of new cars in my neighborhood. Nobody seems interested in my car. And at any rate, i would not care. They co-sleep, weaned were they were ready (one still isn't) yada yada. But they can still be friends with the neighbors.

My feeling is that unless it's dangerous out there- gangs, crime etc., you try to make it worl. 10 yr olds are not so far gone. If you don't want to start with a group, start with one or two. I think you might even enjoy getting to know them. At any rate, it's better than your child being a prisoner in her own home. If all the kids turn out to be horrors, then go to Plan B.
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#3 of 22 Old 05-15-2005, 10:54 PM
 
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HI! While I don't have any children the same age as yours, I do remember vividly being your dd age and being the "one left out". I am currently reading "Queenbees and Wannabes" and it has given me a lot of insight as to why girls behave the way they do and how parents can respond in a helpful manner. Good luck!
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#4 of 22 Old 05-16-2005, 12:33 AM
 
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I have no direct problems with the kids in our neighborhood, save one, but I am trying to figure out how to resolve differences in parenting styles. My older dd played with some kids in our neighborhood the other day, and I really like the kids, but their parents practice corporal punishment from a "spare the rod.." perspective and I am uncomfortable with the idea that she might be witness to one of them being spanked, yanked or kicked . The first thing she asked me the morning after she played with them was "Mama, may I go over [insert neighbor here]'s house and play?". I tried to hold her off with, "Well, we have things to do, and Mama and Da can't go over there with you" but she retorted with "Can you call [insert neighbor's Mama name] and ask if I can play with them while you do those things?" If it were some of our other like-minded friends I would have, but I really didn't want to explain to her why -- she's only 4! Luckily, I was able to divert her with an errand I knew she'd want to go along on, but I sense a conflict coming....
I'm not familiar with the book the pp recommended, but the first thing I thought was, "Have you ever talked to any of those girls one-on-one?" Girls especially IMHO are prone to pack mentality and it might be easier to understand them if you remove the peer pressure of the larger group. I love the idea of modeling nicer/kinder behavior for them, even if it means you might be a target for jibes yourself.
Good luck with this, and hopefully your daughter will find a way to deal with these girls in her comfort zone.

Kelly, blessed to be with Stephen, and mama to three little ladies with huge hearts:, lotsa energy:, and curious minds.
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#5 of 22 Old 05-16-2005, 08:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for your responses. To answer a couple of questions, Yes, I have talked to all of these girls individually on one occasion or another. And yes, individually they are OK. I would be much more comfortable having my daughter play with any one of these girls on their own. In fact we have taken a couple of them, and one in particular, to the park, library, shopping, etc. so my daughter could have fun with one girl at a time.

But, the reality is that they all hang in a pack in the neighborhood. That is just the age they are at right now, I think, that they all want to be together and establish their identity as belonging to a group. Unfortunately part of this particular group's dynamic includes the exclusion of one girl (not always the same one) all the time. I talked to my daughter about this, and we've had the whole "It hurts when YOU are the one excluded, so it's not good to make anyone else feel that either" talk.

UUMom, the idea of these girls doing ANYTHING for $8 is laughable. Babysitters here charge $10 an hour and up. The kid who knocked on my door asking to mow my lawn this weekend asked for $25. (We mowed ourselves, thankyouverymuch!) I'm glad you are able to motivate the "Little Women" in your neighborhood girls. I don't seem to have that skill. It doesn't help that one girl's parents in particular have a "friendly" (NOT) antagonism thing going with us over where he and my husband work (ridiculous really, competing industries).

We are making efforts to participate in our community. I go to the "parties" (Tupperware, Pampered Chef, etc) and chat up my neighbors, and have a nodding acquaintance with most of them by now. I feel a little left out when the discussion turns inevitably to day cares and jobs and sleep training (ACK) but I contribute with my own talk of my volunteer work etc. and am fitting in OK. We go to the block parties and my husband mowed for our neighbor whose husband is laid up. I recognize that life will be easier for my daughter if I participate in the neighborhood, since it might be harder for my daughter to be the "out' girl if the other girls are getting pressure from their parents to be nice to her. It just feels very artificial, and I am starting to have a horrible feeling that we picked the wrong neighborhood. We built a new house in a community of new houses, and I am missing my "old" old house and established neighborhood with more diversity a little bit!
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#6 of 22 Old 05-16-2005, 09:50 AM
 
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It was mostly boys, and two girls, plus my own kids.

The kids who did the windows were like 8. The girls were 11 and 13, and they worked really hard. I went outside and said, "I have a couple of chores and I'll give a dollar per chore". it was a stampeded, really. lol

I think they just like being at my house and talking to me. Free popsicles, too.

Sounds like you live in a very different place. I like my neighborhood,although i tend to think kids are the same everywhere, At any rate, I am really grateful that the kids are nice-- it's really affects my quality of life and my children's.

I like the kids here and they like being here. I've kind of made my house attractive so I will always know where my children are. As 'odd' as we are, our neighbors seem to accept that. The kids even laugh and ask "Is this popcorn 'organic'?? Or, do these popsicles have 'sugar'? The 16 yr old girl next door says I am "I love that you are so natural".

I don't know if i am lucky or what, and I suppose it's a combination of factors and that the kids in my neighborhood know I like them, so 'act better' for me.

Good luck with everything! It's hard to live in a neighborhood that's uncomfortable.
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#7 of 22 Old 05-16-2005, 10:07 AM
 
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I think it's a common thing at this age that you can't have more than 2 of them together or all heck is going to break loose. I remember it when I was a kid, and I've gone through it with DD now too. She's another that gets pushed to the side, the other 2 neighbor girls are both 13 and in 7th grade, she's 11 and in 6th grade. She's come home crying, I've told her to not play with them...but as soon as they knock on the door, she's right back out there.

I "think" (crossing fingers) they're growing out of it FINALLY...they've spent 2 weekends in a row camping out, going fishing at the reservoir, bike riding, etc....TOGETHER....all 3!
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#8 of 22 Old 05-18-2005, 09:33 AM
 
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I think you are doing the right thing by having your dd involved in lots of other stuff outside of the neighbourhood. I personally don't think there is much wrong with letting her get together with these girls if she wants to, so long as she doesn't feel it is her only opportunity to socialize with kids her age, and so long as you know what is going on and you can talk about it with her so she gets more than just the girls' perspective on things. For example, you could bring up that one of them seemed to not enjoy her experence with GS but you and your daughter could talk about her own enjoyment of this activity and reinforce that different people have different interests. If your daughter is one of the unlucky ones being left out you could take that as an opportunity to discuss the qualities of a good friendship and make an extra effort to find something special for her to do so she doesn't feel that she has to put up with an unfair relationship in order not to be alone... there is something to be said for learning to enjoy your own company!

We live in a similar neighbourhood... my ds is 9 years old: the only one homeschooled, we have a family bed, I still nurse his 3 year old sister, I am a SAHM, etc.... I think many of our neighbors think we are a bit crazy, actually! There are a couple of boys up the street who he likes to play with when they are around and I just cringe when I see them at the door. Individually they are okay but they get into so much mischief and are raised in a way that I am completely uncomfortable with (their mother was bragging to me how she washed her 8 year old's mouth with soap when he said a bad word!). They like to do really dangerous things (swordfight with pieces of timber with rusty nails sticking out of it for example!) and can be kind of sneaky... my ds would sometimes complain that they wanted him to do stuff he wasn't comfortable with with but the more I tried to discourage him to play with them, the more defensive he would get of them and want to see them more. I decided to back off on trying to restrict his time with them but instead I have them play where I can see them and intervene if things are getting dangerous or my ds is not having fun any longer. We talk about the good and bad times he has had with these guys and he is coming to the conclusion on his own that he enjoys much more the time he spends with his other friends outside of the neighbourhood and that he doesn't have to do stuff he doesn't feel good about and this doesn't mean that he has to choose not be friends with these kids.

It can be a real struggle as kids get older to step back and help them deal with these situations on their own... good luck!

MizLiz
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#9 of 22 Old 05-22-2005, 10:29 AM
 
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I would consider moving if I didn't have the funds to keep her so busy with other fun and social activities that she could stop caring about the neighborhood kids (dance, gymnastics, girl scouts, youth group, whatever).
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#10 of 22 Old 05-22-2005, 12:14 PM
 
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Do you own your home?

This could be a consideration homes are pricey now, and really have always been.

Personally, I never bothered with the neighbors. I always have my own life, and they theirs.

"The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic."
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#11 of 22 Old 05-22-2005, 01:22 PM
 
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Personally, I never bothered with the neighbors. I always have my own life, and they theirs.
I think that is really sad. For me, being a part of the community you live in is a very important part of life, and an important value to teach children. IMHO it is always possible to find some way to interact with your community. We are all human beings-- there is always some commonality.
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#12 of 22 Old 05-23-2005, 12:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Bestbirths
I would consider moving if I didn't have the funds to keep her so busy with other fun and social activities that she could stop caring about the neighborhood kids (dance, gymnastics, girl scouts, youth group, whatever).
Well, we are not considering moving. We own this house and really, how would we know that the kids in another neighborhood would be any different? I have been thinking about this issue a lot lately, and I think that really, I can best serve my daughter by helping her make the best of the situation she's in now. We've been talking about how it's important to have friends, but that it's also important to make sure to be true to herself, too. Aaah...it makes me even more tired than I already am to think about this issue! I have enjoyed getting others' perspectives on this whole thing, though. Thank you, ladies.
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#13 of 22 Old 05-23-2005, 03:16 PM
 
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pajamaMama:

I've been all over these boards suggesting the same book for a myriad of issues. I'm starting to feel like a Hold-on-to-your-Kids evangelist! :LOL

But seriously, get the book or borrow it from your library (Hold on to Your Kids, by Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Mate). The book describes the children in your neighborhood and the issue you're having exactly, and it's all about dealing with it. Those girls sound like they're peer-oriented and your child is most likely adult-oriented b/c she's homeschooled. This is really good for her! And you're going to have to continue fighting the battle. Just keep in mind that the battle is not against the girls themselves, but against peer-orientation. You don't want your daughter to start attaching to her peers. Anyway, read the book, it'll help.

DS1: 2/02 ROTFLMAO.gif DD: 9/04 blahblah.gif DS2: 9/07jog.gif and EDD: 11/13 belly.gif

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#14 of 22 Old 05-24-2005, 11:03 AM
 
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Just wanted to share you are not alone in the neighborhood children issue.

I also have issue w the neighbor's children. When they first moved in they walked right into our house w/o knocking or asking - my dh was naked getting out of the shower in the hallway!!! It took some time to teach them to knock and wait for someone to answer the door. They moved here from a trailer park in West Virginia, I didn't know this until I went to talk to their mother about the girls needing to learn respect of other peoples property.
Then they came over and took our outside toys from in front of the house, had to have a talk about that.
Then they decided to skate, ride bikes, etc in our driveway around our vehicles and up and around our flag stone walkways. This didn't bother me at first as much as it did my dh. They still forget this rule of our property. They are all over the other neighbors driveways and I have to remind my children they are not allowed to do this.
The neighbors girls came into our backyard 2 yrs ago while we were away and sat at the edge of our above ground covered pool waiting for my ds to come out and play. My ILs who were at the house told them to leave. Several occassions I've found them in our backyard and told them they are not allowed in the back yard w/o my ds and my knowledge.
Those girls must thing I'm a strange mom. They contantly all summer long ask to have dinner with us. I don't usually pull out more than what we will eat and tell them not tonight (there are 4 girls who live there and 1 who stays there while her mom works 3rd shift). Finally one night I was making Tuscon Chicken soup and allowed them to eat with us, they have never asked again -- they didn't like it.
My ds has picked up a few bad habits for which I quickly nip in the butt. The girls across the street talk back to their mother, disobey their mother, and behave in a manner that I do not wish my children to be around -- but they live across the street... The oldest girl is the mouthiest brat I have come across in a long time, she grats on every last nerve in my body. The mother knows her daughters are brats and does nothing to correct their behavior, it's just sad.
My ds1 had tried to behave the way they do and has on more than one occassion been punished by my non-GD dh. The talking back is the biggest issue right now. I'd like to think over the summer I can get him away from here, but my mother's house is so full of mold it made me very sick at Christmas and that was only a 7 day visit.
I would like to take comfort in the belief that eventually girls will likely be taboo to play with, but ds1 is the sensitive boy and may not go through that phase.
And to top it off, the owner of the house next to mine called me on the phone to ask me about those girls. His tenants were complaining those girls walked right into their house and yard and they have a bit bull trained attack dog. Other neighbors have also talked to me about that family, probing and complaining, like I would know anything. But I guess they think since my boys play over there that I would know things about their personal life -- not...
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#15 of 22 Old 05-24-2005, 09:50 PM
 
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This is a situation that really worries me when my kids get older. We live in a low income area, and the kids here walk up and down the street yelling and cursing loudly at eachother; I see older boys (jr high or high school age) hitting on and hassling girls that look like they are in the 6th grade. They congregate in the middle of the street and don't move when you're driving by. I see no families with young children (at least none that speak any english). We are involved in AP and homeschooling groups, but if I wasn't, I just can't imagine what we'd do. I figure we will need to move in a few years.
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#16 of 22 Old 05-24-2005, 11:20 PM
 
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hey,
that must really suck for you and your daughter. I believe that parents need to make sacrifices for their children and I believe this is one of those times. Try and make an effort to do whatever you can to make the girls like her. The girls at her age, often like people for other reasons than there personalities.
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#17 of 22 Old 05-27-2005, 07:01 PM
 
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My dd is 10 y.o. She has two close friends. Three girls is a problem, almost inevitably. Regardless, she's delt with various problems as best she can in the past year. One of these girls mom is a close friend of mine, and my friend's solution is to get together with me and ask me what 'we' should do about their disagreements. I've decided 'we' (my friend and I) really shouldn't do anything, other than to

- be there to listen when dd is upset and tearful or angry.

- ask dd if she wants help figuring anything out

I have asked if she wants help figuring out a solution to her girlfriend problems and actually, no she doesn't want help, she just wanted me to listen to her, and to know that I love her and think she's wonderful, even when her friends are bickering.

More thoughts...

Someone moved my effing cheese.
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#18 of 22 Old 05-27-2005, 07:33 PM
 
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I know this is not great socialisation, but these kind of dynamics happen in the world a lot, and if she is getting an opportunity to participate in a safe way - near home, with plenty of other stuff to balance it out, it might not be something you want to interfer in a lot, apart of course from the talking and guidance you give her.

Nothing teaches like experience. This could make her understand why compassion for "outsiders" is really important, because being on the outer can be arbitary and even if it isn't, it still hurts. It can make her realise how her actions can hurt others, and how if someone is buttering her up, she can be swayed to behave in ways she would usually not chose to, and so on. Better to learn the pitfalls of peer pressure at 10 when what you are doing wrong is excluding someone from a game, than to do it as a teen and be doing something with longer lasting consequences. Or as an adult, as many people don't stop this kind of thing, but it's gossip in the office and being mean picking bridesmaids hehe

I'd be inclined to say, "I know you want to be friends with the girls, and even tho they are great, the way that group works you might get hurt sometimes and you might be swayed into hurting someone else. I want you to know you're still responsible for your actions even if you've been talked into acting some way. I also want you to know that I will help you with what goes on no matter what." And let her navigate it, I am sure she will do a really good job if it! She sounds like she has a great base
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#19 of 22 Old 05-27-2005, 07:58 PM
 
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Ok, picked the kids up from school.

One thing I have asked dd about is her part in any disagreements. By other people's account, dd is easy to get along with and has a sunny disposition. She's more popular than I was at her age. So she must be doing something right. But I was pretty nerdy and prickly when I was her age and now I know what part I had in alienating some girls. I'm conscious of that when deal with dd.

I'm a home body and am perfectly comfortable not being as sociable as some people are. But I want to know dd's friends and their parents, so I push myself once in a while to be sociable with them. It's an effort, believe me.

I really do sympathise with not liking the neighbor kids. The one girl whoes mom I'm friends with is this girl I really don't like. She's a spoiled drama queen. She's more socially astute than dd is, is interested in all things teen. She's 10 going on 16. She tries to whisper secrets to dd in the back seat of the car, and I don't know why that drives me up a wall, except to say that none of dd's other friends do that. It's like they're still little girls, transparent, genuine and sincere, while this other girl has an agenda. She's just a child, a product of her parents. She's innocent, so I have to be very careful not to let her know my perception of her. I'm an adult, and that would be damaging and very unfair if she became aware of what I think of her.

I know what it is I don't like about the whispering. I can hear what she's saying sometimes, and it's usually venomous things about other girls. :

My point is that, while I did ask dd's teacher if they could be in separate classes next year, I do make the effort to have this girl over once in a while.

Someone moved my effing cheese.
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#20 of 22 Old 05-27-2005, 08:06 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azyre
I know this is not great socialisation, but these kind of dynamics happen in the world a lot, and if she is getting an opportunity to participate in a safe way - near home, with plenty of other stuff to balance it out, it might not be something you want to interfer in a lot, apart of course from the talking and guidance you give her.

Nothing teaches like experience. This could make her understand why compassion for "outsiders" is really important, because being on the outer can be arbitary and even if it isn't, it still hurts. It can make her realise how her actions can hurt others, and how if someone is buttering her up, she can be swayed to behave in ways she would usually not chose to, and so on. Better to learn the pitfalls of peer pressure at 10 when what you are doing wrong is excluding someone from a game, than to do it as a teen and be doing something with longer lasting consequences. Or as an adult, as many people don't stop this kind of thing, but it's gossip in the office and being mean picking bridesmaids hehe

I'd be inclined to say, "I know you want to be friends with the girls, and even tho they are great, the way that group works you might get hurt sometimes and you might be swayed into hurting someone else. I want you to know you're still responsible for your actions even if you've been talked into acting some way. I also want you to know that I will help you with what goes on no matter what." And let her navigate it, I am sure she will do a really good job if it! She sounds like she has a great base
: Well said!

Someone moved my effing cheese.
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#21 of 22 Old 06-09-2005, 10:40 PM
 
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Personally, I never bothered with the neighbors. I always have my own life, and they theirs.
I agree wholeheartedly with Applejuice. When we first moved into this neighborhood, we introduced ourselves to the neighbors, brought over homegrown vegetables from our garden, and made it a point to be the best neighbors we could. Some neighborhoods are friendly, and others are just too busy to care, it seems. People here get up early and drive to work or school. When they get home, they invite their friends or family over, and want to be left alone by the neighbors. I learned that the hard way.

It's just the way it is. I used to wonder what was wrong with me, but I got tired of doing that. Now there's school, work, and sporting events where we meet friends. Our home is our castle surrounded by our imaginary mote. We leave the neighbors alone, and (for the most part) they leave us alone. The only way for us to change that would be to find a new neighborhood. In the mean time, I enjoy our privacy at home.
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#22 of 22 Old 06-13-2005, 03:03 PM
 
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:HUG

Girls are so mean! Sorry I didn't read all the replies so I apoligize if this is a repeat...

Your daughter might just have to learn that the girls are mean on her own...I think it is great that you are telling her that she doesn't need to be part of a group but she might still just have to hang out with them to find that out for herself.

Just keep introducing her to new girls, the homeschool group, etc. so she can see that the girls are truly not her "real friends".

Oh and I am a big advocate of parent networking. Get to know the other girls parents. Maybe do a block party or something this summer.

Sarah - wife, mom to Riley 7/9/03 and Jacob 7/15/05 and Hannah 1/5/11 a successful vbac.gif
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