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#1 of 16 Old 07-28-2010, 09:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My almost 7 year old dd is having trouble with a friend. Her friend is very bossy, always tells my dd to get things for her or do things for her that she is totally capable of doing herself. My dd really likes this girl and wants to be her friend and she falls for the "if you don't do x, I won't be your friend" every single time.

It bothers me to see dd fetching this and that for her friend or letting her friend tell her how to roll dice "her way," so I talked to dd about it. She said that she didn't know why her friend asked her to do so much for her. I asked her if she liked it and said "not really" and that she didn't like "doing all the friend's work for her." I told her to speak up and tell her friend just that.

Last week at the pool, dd's friend kept asking dd to get out of the pool and then pull HER out. 1) I thought it was dangerous for dd to lean over and pull her friend out. She could fall in head first. 2) Her friend was totally capable of climbing out herself or using the steps.

So I called dd over and told her that she was not allowed to pull her friend out of the pool and I shared the reasons stated above. When friend asked again, dd told her that she wasn't allowed and friend said that if she didn't, she would no longer be her friend.

DD ran over crying to me. I told her that what her friend said wasn't very nice and that I understand that her (dd) feelings were hurt b/c of it, but I wasn't going to change my mind about it b/c it was dangerous. I also assured her that her friend would most definitely still be her friend even if she didn't do it. So dd went back into the pool. Her friend used the steps and shortly after went back into the pool and they played together.

Friend's mom asked if everything was OK and I told her what happened. I just mentioned the pulling out of the pool, and told her what I told dd about friend being capable, etc. I also told her what her dd said, not to tattle, but just to give her a heads up about the situation and how it all worked out in the end. She shrugged and said, "My dd is just mean and there's not a damn thing I can do about it."

I was a little surprised at her response and I'm not sure what it means. Does it mean that she's aware of her dd's behavior and just doesn't care? She's resigned to the fact that this is her dd's personality and it's OK?

Where do we go from here? These girls do play dates together at both our houses. I now wonder how my dd is treated there and do I pull back? Do I let the girls work it out? I don't want dd to be a doormat either.

I just started Queen Bees and Wannabees, but there's only one chapter that really pertains to this young age. Any advice?

Baking,, Chuck Taylor Wearing, , SAHMom of 2.
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#2 of 16 Old 07-28-2010, 11:00 AM
 
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I'd start conversations which get to the root of the issue - about what is a good friend, about paying attention to our instincts about staying safe, about how to gracefully get out of sticky situations. Now is the time to start helping her build that sense of self and the skills to set healthy boundaries. But at age 6 or 7 kids need a lot of help to do that.

Can you role play some responses to the "I won't be your friend" that works for you and your daughter (depending on what you want for this friendship?)

You could try: Friends are friends because they like each other, not because one does everything for the other.

Or That's a silly reason not to be my friend.

Or Let's do something else together

Or I won't be your friend if you say things like that.

I personally would be concerned about a mother who has already thrown up her hands and is not helping her daughter find ways to be kind and compassionate.
I think I would stick fairly close to the girls for a while and probably err on the side of having the girls play together at your house more often.

You might also try talking to the mum about the girls relationship and how to help both of them have a healthy friendship, treat each other kindly, etc. If she's not interested in setting that standard for her daughter, she might at least be proactive around this friendship if you have talked about expectations and parameters.

good luck - I find the girls social thing exhausting so I can totally relate.
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Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. ~ Buddha

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#3 of 16 Old 07-28-2010, 11:25 AM
 
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Originally Posted by olliepop View Post
She shrugged and said, "My dd is just mean and there's not a damn thing I can do about it."

I was a little surprised at her response and I'm not sure what it means. Does it mean that she's aware of her dd's behavior and just doesn't care? She's resigned to the fact that this is her dd's personality and it's OK?
I would take it to mean "My dd is mean to me too. I don't know how to deal with her meanness effectively; I am afraid she won't love me if I institute consequences, and I don't know another solution to help my daughter."
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#4 of 16 Old 07-28-2010, 11:28 AM
 
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honestly i would not do anything. they are 7. old enough to figure it out on their own. dd had this happen at school last year when she was 6. she finally at the end of the year decided enough was enough. and stopped hanging out with her so much. they still play but only sometimes. not all the time.

so i would let the girls work it out.

today i really feel bad for the little girl. i notice that she has been losing friends very often. she is not alone and still has friends but they keep moving on when she refuses to change and new ones take their place.

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#5 of 16 Old 07-28-2010, 12:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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honestly i would not do anything. they are 7. old enough to figure it out on their own. dd had this happen at school last year when she was 6. she finally at the end of the year decided enough was enough. and stopped hanging out with her so much. they still play but only sometimes. not all the time. So i would let the girls work it out.
They are 7, but is that old enough to work it out if they haven't been taught the skills to do so? I guess from the common sense/natural consequence approach of "If you are not nice to me, I won't play with you anymore," they can work it out. But I don't want this girl to lose all her friends and my dd likes her when they are getting along.

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#6 of 16 Old 07-28-2010, 12:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'd start conversations which get to the root of the issue - about what is a good friend, about paying attention to our instincts about staying safe, about how to gracefully get out of sticky situations. Now is the time to start helping her build that sense of self and the skills to set healthy boundaries. But at age 6 or 7 kids need a lot of help to do that.

Can you role play some responses to the "I won't be your friend" that works for you and your daughter (depending on what you want for this friendship?)

You could try: Friends are friends because they like each other, not because one does everything for the other.

Or That's a silly reason not to be my friend.

Or Let's do something else together

Or I won't be your friend if you say things like that.

good luck - I find the girls social thing exhausting so I can totally relate.
Karen
I will do this. I just want her to recognize the signs and understand that as a friend, she should be treated with respect and definitely vice versa. I'm sure there will come a time when she'll be Miss Bossy Boots and I just want her to learn how to be a friend. Thanks for the luck -- I'm gonna need it. Second grade, here we come...

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#7 of 16 Old 07-28-2010, 01:16 PM
 
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My dd is almost 7. On my turf, meanness does not fly. I intervene whether it is my child or the other child. What you did at the pool was great, and if it was something where there wasn't a safety thing involved I just make it about standards of behavior. "In my house we don't say / do X. If it doen't stop I will have to end your playdate. Go figure out how to be good friends to each other."
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#8 of 16 Old 07-28-2010, 01:30 PM
 
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The thing is, I know girls like this, and it's incredibly hard to put a stop to. Her mom has probably thrown in the towel already.

I think most of us say we want the "nice girl". But, deep down, some of us secretly want the "mean girl"... the strong always get her way, always popular, knows how to dress girl. It seems like those girls never suffer from hurt feelings, and always just breeze through life. Even the teachers seem to like them best.

Most parents feel powerless to change the "mean girl" personality. We see that the other friends are getting walked all over.. but, it's so hard to know what to do about it. It would be so much easier if her friends would all stand up to her, but in reality, nobody will.

Your daughter can't really do much about it either. YOU can help your daughter though. It's not going to hurt the other girl if you quickly and matter of factly say something like "You can get yourself out of the pool, dd is not your mom". You don't need to use a sweet sappy voice. Use a teacher's voice.

You can help your daughter role play, and learn ways to be treated with respect. But, even that won't go very far. This other girl can take it up a notch every time. This will eventually evolve into the friend getting other friends to exclude your daughter.

The best thing you can do is find other friends. Your daughter will eventually find her BFF, and they will play so happily. (there's always heartbreak there too)
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#9 of 16 Old 07-28-2010, 11:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by olliepop View Post
They are 7, but is that old enough to work it out if they haven't been taught the skills to do so? I guess from the common sense/natural consequence approach of "If you are not nice to me, I won't play with you anymore," they can work it out. But I don't want this girl to lose all her friends and my dd likes her when they are getting along.
My dd is a bossy kid, not to the point of telling people mean things but she does like things her way. I really think that the natural consequence is wonderful because I have talked and talked to her about letting other kids have a turn choosing things in the game but that isn't as powerful as a friend leaving because she is to bossy. She is friends with many other bossy kids though so it may be that her bossy nature has been curved to some extent into a more socially appropriate level of leadership. I think encouraging your dd to say she won't play with this girl when she is being mean or too bossy, helping her find other things to do, and seeing if they can work it out for a while that way is a good place to start. I think it is too early to tell if this girl will be a Queen Bee or not. Kids this age are often bossy and experiment with the power of their words.
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#10 of 16 Old 07-29-2010, 10:18 AM
 
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My younger dd has been through this one, with the child of a very good friend of mine. We did a lot of role play and practice of walking away from games that had ceased to be fair. We ended up talking a lot about how dd needed to be fair to the other girl, articulating what she wasn't happy with, and how she had to be ready to try again the next day. (They are in the same school class, dance classes and Sunday school.)

I do wonder if the girl's mother really means,
"If the other kids are putting up with her meanness I can't do anything about it."
It's all very well to talk to kids/model how to be good friends but if they don't experience the consequences of being mean when they give it a try there is a limit to what she can do kwim!
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#11 of 16 Old 07-29-2010, 11:48 AM
 
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honestly i would not do anything. they are 7. old enough to figure it out on their own. dd had this happen at school last year when she was 6. she finally at the end of the year decided enough was enough. and stopped hanging out with her so much. they still play but only sometimes. not all the time.

so i would let the girls work it out.
I disagree. This is a tough age for a lot of girls, where big differences in the rate of social development really show. My DD is not very socially sophisticated. She does not see the subtext of her peers' messages very clearly. If I were to live and let live, it would be equally likely that my DD learns that the way you interact with other kids is through this emotional blackmail pattern.

I do not monitor the blow-by-blow interactions between DD and her peers, but we do take a more general view of working with her to teach her basic social skills, including understanding when something looks like being a friend, but isn't.

We spend a lot of time in our house away from situations like this discussing what friends are. What friends do. What they look like. What behaviors are "off." We both model them (describe something that happened to me at work or with a neighbor) and discuss them for what it looks like for 7 year olds. I point out "great friend" behavior amongst her peers. I give her specific instructions to follow ("say 'hello, <name>, how has your summer been?"). The "if you don't do X, then I won't be your friend" treatment seems really common. I actually contemplated giving DD a script for this situation, but I can't quite come up with a good one for her. Taking suggestions...

We also talk about why other girl's in her class don't get that same sort of "if you don't do X, then I won't be your friend" treatment. Very simply, they won't put up with it. They are confident enough in themselves that they know that either it isn't true or they don't need that friendship.

DD is learning, but slowly, unfortunately more slowly than her peers continue to develop.

I don't know the OP's daughter or how she generally fares socially. My DD continues to need significant support.
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#12 of 16 Old 07-29-2010, 02:34 PM
 
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The thing is, I know girls like this, and it's incredibly hard to put a stop to. Her mom has probably thrown in the towel already. My DD is 5 and she has a very strong personality and I find she leads play 90% of the time. I look at it as a big responsibility, and even at 5 we already talk about that. The fact that people listen to her and do what she says means that she needs to THINK before she speaks. Which is tough at 5.

I think most of us say we want the "nice girl". But, deep down, some of us secretly want the "mean girl"... the strong always get her way, always popular, knows how to dress girl. It seems like those girls never suffer from hurt feelings, and always just breeze through life. Even the teachers seem to like them best. I can say for a fact, my DD does suffer hurt feelings and is quite sensitive in her own way. But, she rarely lets other kids see it--even at 5 she will walk away to cry alone instead of just saying she thinks something is unfair (or more likely, not the way she wanted it to be) Or because she thinks everyone thinks she is "yucky". And sometimes other kids are mean to her, and for me it's almost tough to take seriously because I feel like I know she can be a tough little nut.
Most parents feel powerless to change the "mean girl" personality. We see that the other friends are getting walked all over.. but, it's so hard to know what to do about it. It would be so much easier if her friends would all stand up to her, but in reality, nobody will. It's also a big balancing act between accepting someone's positive attributes--in my DD's case, that she is really fun and can lead imaginative play, and makes kids laugh vs the fact that sometimes she can be mean and thoughtless. I can see how she is so much fun because she is dramatic and over the top--figuring out how to channel that positively is really hard.

Just a couple of thoughts from the other side of the parenting coin, up there in blue. It's not so much that I give up--I certainly don't!
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#13 of 16 Old 07-30-2010, 08:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The thing is, I know girls like this, and it's incredibly hard to put a stop to. Her mom has probably thrown in the towel already.

The best thing you can do is find other friends. Your daughter will eventually find her BFF, and they will play so happily. (there's always heartbreak there too)
I hope her mother hasn't given up. Actually, this girl isn't my dd's closest friend. She has a "bestie," but sometimes this girl comes between her and her bestie too.

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My dd is a bossy kid, not to the point of telling people mean things but she does like things her way. I really think that the natural consequence is wonderful because I have talked and talked to her about letting other kids have a turn choosing things in the game but that isn't as powerful as a friend leaving because she is to bossy. I think it is too early to tell if this girl will be a Queen Bee or not. Kids this age are often bossy and experiment with the power of their words.
I really appreciate your point of view. I wish I had this kind of dialogue with her mom.

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My younger dd has been through this one, with the child of a very good friend of mine. We did a lot of role play and practice of walking away from games that had ceased to be fair. We ended up talking a lot about how dd needed to be fair to the other girl, articulating what she wasn't happy with, and how she had to be ready to try again the next day. (They are in the same school class, dance classes and Sunday school.)
My dh thinks that severing all ties w/this little girl is the way to go, but I would rather dd learn how to deal with this situations b/c they are bound to arise again and again.

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I disagree. This is a tough age for a lot of girls, where big differences in the rate of social development really show. My DD is not very socially sophisticated. She does not see the subtext of her peers' messages very clearly. If I were to live and let live, it would be equally likely that my DD learns that the way you interact with other kids is through this emotional blackmail pattern.

DD is learning, but slowly, unfortunately more slowly than her peers continue to develop.

I don't know the OP's daughter or how she generally fares socially. My DD continues to need significant support.
My dd definitely isn't as savvy as her peers. She only has about three very close friends and only feels comfortable with them. I feel that I have to be there for her and work with her more b/c of that.

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#14 of 16 Old 07-30-2010, 11:03 AM
 
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Just a couple of thoughts from the other side of the parenting coin, up there in blue. It's not so much that I give up--I certainly don't!
I agree with all of that. But, strong personality is not the same as "the mean girl". I have strong girls in my daycare, and I notice that they seem to make things work in their favor. But, they generally want to be a good friend, and know the balance between making it work for them, and being completely unfair.

Mean girls don't care about being fair. They care about having that control. They care about having themselves or their group of friends getting what they want. They are the girls who will walk up to a table of kids in the lunch room and make the other kids leave the lunch table so the mean girls can have it. They can manipulate an entire grade into excluding one girl. They can practically destroy one girl's social life before October.

It doesn't start to get bad until fifth and sixth grade. So, it's entirely possible that those girls that are strong, but not mean have had parents who care and spend lots of time teaching and modeling kindness. Maybe the mean girl's moms were mean too.

My own daughter was/is strong. But, she's only been mean once, and it backfired on her. It was the worst year of her social life. She learned a hard lesson, and I was supportive, but she had to ride it out herself.

After that, she was her own person. She won't get involved with the Queen bees, or the wanna bees. She avoids them completely and has found her own niche in the world. People genuinely like her because she's good to be around.
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#15 of 16 Old 07-30-2010, 01:30 PM
 
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Personally, I would stay in earshot and EVERY time I heard the girl pull the 'I won't be your friend' line I would say in a firm, matter of fact voice - 'we don't say that, it's NOT acceptable. If you can't play nicely it's time to go home'. This does two things - 1) teaches the friend that it's not OK to say those things 2) shows your DD that you don't approve of or accept what her friend is say and models standing up to her.

By the way, I'm not saying don't coach your daughter to say things to her friend, I'm just adding to what people have already recommended.
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#16 of 16 Old 07-31-2010, 12:59 AM
 
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Coincidentially, my generally EXTREMELY nice dd apparently said to her friend today "do x or I won't be your friend" but her friend told me and I do not believe that little scenario will be occurring again any time soon. Hey, we all make mistakes.
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