Mothering Forum banner
1 - 9 of 9 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
48 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Don't want a "mean girl" daughter....

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

My daughter is 4 yrs 8 months old. Her friend is 5 months youngers. I don't want my daughter being mean and developing bad habits towards others.

It seems that my daughter has three times now told her friend that she is not her friend. This has of course hurt her feelings. They have been friends for two years. They are on the same soccer team (just starting). When her good friend showed up at the meeting, my daughter said, "you can't play with us." I went to my daughter and told her that we are all friends here and we can all play. She quickly said she was sorry and the rest of the time they played without incident.

When we are alone, i've stressed how important it is that she treat her friends the way she wants to be treated. I've told her that saying "your not my friend" hurts her feelings.

Another troubling thing is that I've also noticed how much she doesn't allow her friend's ideas in conversations or playing. She over rides her.

These aren't problems I typically see when she is playing with other kids, especially older. Her good friend that is having issues with this is very sensitive and sweet and cooperative. I don't know if that dynamic is bad. Either way, I don't want my daughter being unkind to people.

What can I do to prevent her from being rude and mean? What would you say and instill in her? How do you encourage kindness and empathy? I don't want my daughter to "stuff" her real feelings, but I don't want to allow rude anti-social behavior either.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
3,000 Posts
I think you are doing a fine job of it. I do think that this *may* be a phase, you know, just an experimentation of power over her friends feelings, ect. I don't think that it means she will grow up into a mean girl, she probably doesn't even realize how hurtful those comments can be quite yet. I would continue to talk to her, ask her if there is a reason she isn't wanting to play with this particular friend.

My dd isn't 4 yet, but she has moments of exclusivity when there is 2 or more other friends. I think it's just hard for her to play with more than one other person still. It doesn't happen all the time, and I wouldn't call her mean, but I have noticed a few incidents. I simply take her aside and remind her to be respectful and kind with her words and actions. I ask if there is a problem and help her find a resolution.

I also have to be a bit more active in suggesting group/cooperative games. At 4-5, maybe Twister? Any games where there isn't really a 'winner'. Or even if they are pretending, if I help them to come up with roles (mommy, baby, doctor, nurse) that are all needed, it works to get them all playing together. HTH!
 

· Registered
Joined
·
5,188 Posts
I would listen for some other message behind her behavior other than just "meanness." There is something about this relationship that is bothering her right now, and it may be something small, but I would try to figure out what it is. Maybe your daughter feels overshadowed or replaced by her friend in some fashion that she doesn't understand herself, and can't find the words to explain. Maybe she needs some space/activities that are just for herself alone.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
48 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the feedback. It sounds like I need to be hyper vigilant for a while and offer alternative behviors, etc.

My daughter's mother and I are friends also. Actually, it is our whole family. Our two year old daughters are also close. I noticed that she has been reducing contact with us. I wish she had been more direct in dealing with this with me. I told her what I was doing to deal with it and asked her for any ideas she had. I think that it is also important that on her side she teaches her daughter that if someone hurts her feelings, she can tell them so. Simply saying, "when you say that to me, it hurts my feelings and it makes me not want to be your friend" or something. I am hoping that these can be teachable moments on both sides.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
48 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
That is interesting that she might need some space as well. I think the problem is that this girl is her best friend and she is being meanest to her because she is the closest to her. Does that make sense at all?
 

· Registered
Joined
·
5,188 Posts
Quote:

Originally Posted by thomrho View Post
That is interesting that she might need some space as well. I think the problem is that this girl is her best friend and she is being meanest to her because she is the closest to her. Does that make sense at all?
Sure, it makes perfect sense. Almost like sibling rivalry.

It is interesting that you are "family friends." Does your daughter get to choose when she will play with her friend, and does she get to say "no" when she is not in the mood?

My kids have gone through phases of seeming to resent the friends that I chose for them, and wanting to choose their own friends that are separate from our chosen community. I think this needs to be honored.

I had a close friend like that growing up, and I clearly remember feeling resentful (even though I loved her) that she was imposed into all my activities and interests whether I liked it or not. Often times she was better at things than I was, or made friends quicker, and often my other friends like her better than they liked me. My mom would often show affection toward her, and give her "guest" type privilages that I didn't get (even though she was over all the time!) It was hard all around. I'm not saying she had no right to do the activities that I did -- just that I needed some breathing space. Some things that were mine alone. I also needed to know that my mom didn't love her more than me, kwim?

Anyway, I'm not trying to read all that into your dd's situation -- just to give an example of how a lot can be going on under the surface that you might not guess at.

I would encourage you to try to find times to connect with your friend in spite of the rough patch with the kids. Can you manage a drink or snack together once a week after the kids go to bed?
 

· Banned
Joined
·
4,685 Posts
When you hear her excluding her friend it is good to call her on it so she realizes that this isn't an acceptable way to behave towards other people. I don't think that you need to worry that she is doing anything unusual for her age though. It is really common for children this age to form clicks, become the boss or the follower, and say things that are just mean sounding when they get angry. It is good to address these things to some extent when they occur to give feedback but try not to label her in your thoughts because that may come out in your reaction and it may feed into a cycle of her being deliberately mean to see your reaction.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
417 Posts
My DD (5 1/2 yrs) does this with her BFF but it's a mutual thing... one of them will say something that isn't nice like "You're not my friend anymore" or "You can't come to my birthday party" and the other child's feelings will be hurt. This goes on literally all the time. The other child's mom and I are good friends so we have an understanding... whichever mom hears it can say something to the child about not saying hurtful things to our friend. We also encourage them to say something in self defense. So, if my DD says something hurtful to her friend then one of us moms says something to her about talking nicely to our friends and we also encourage her friend to say something like "I don't like it when you say things that aren't nice, it hurts my feelings". We feel that it is a stronger message coming from the child than from an adult, kwim? So, my advice to you is to of course continue to tell your child not to say hurtful things to her friend but also encourage the other child to say something to your child.

From my understanding this is a phase. It still drives me bananas sometimes though. Oh, and one more thing. I have found that the majority of the time this happens when my DD is upset or mad about something her friend has said or done (like not sharing a toy). I try to work with my DD on appropriate ways to manage conflict. I validate that she is feeling angry or upset and encourage her to think of other ways she can handle the situation that are more socially acceptable. Like, telling her friend "I'd like a turn with the doll when you are done please". If it gets to the point where she is being really nasty to her friend we go home, because it's just not fair to the other child to be put in a situation where someone is being mean to her... and the other child's mother has done the same when her DD was not playing nicely and it continued.

HTH,
Beth
 

· Registered
Joined
·
48 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
What great advice! I want our friendships to be able to weather all of this, but I definitely think that it is important that we have mutually agreed upon stratagies with both girls to deal with the issue.

I have to admit that I am relieved to hear that this is a somewhat typical experiemental behavior. It almost reminds of toddler's hitting. They will try it. We teach them either not to do it or channel it towards a better expression.
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top