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<p>I really hate to even think about making this decision, but I have been considering it. There is one family at my kids' small school that is completely toxic. Unfortunately the youngest daughter of this family and my daughter are extremely close friends. The girls have been friends for a year and a half, which has been fine. But lately I can see how this little girl is changing due to the toxicity of her parents - starting to have an attitude, being mean, etc. She is only 4, but her mom was saying how she likes to "flirt with men" by batting her eyelashes and sticking out her hip and pouting her lips. The mom seems to think it is cute (?!).</p>
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<p>Last year, this mom had a restraining order for her husband who she said was trying to take her kids from her and run away to Taiwan. She also mentioned that he has "quite a gun collection". He drained all of their bank accounts and cancelled her credit cards. At the same time she is saying she hopes they can work it out and keep the marriage together (?!). This year they moved back in with him. My dd is always asking to have a playdate at her friends' house and you can see why I always have to tell her no!</p>
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<p>Anyway, the girls are in the same class this year. The teachers mentioned to the mom that they may separate them next year because my daughter often answers for her daughter (they are in a bilingual school and the 2nd language teacher is trying to help the kids speak in the 2nd language). I would be thrilled if they were in separate classes! I know dd would not like it as she is highly dependent on this girl and will hardly play with anyone else. But I also know she makes friends easily when this particular girl is not around.</p>
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<p>The mom was very upset that the girls might not be in the same class next year. I found out that she has been telling my daughter something along the lines of "people can't learn if you help them". I only found out because my daughter became very upset when my son was trying to help her learn something. She now thinks that if you really want to learn, you shouldn't let anyone help you. I believe the mom was trying to get her to stop helping her daughter so the teachers would agree to put them in the same class next year.</p>
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<p>I really can not stand this mom, but so far I have been too nice/polite to bluntly say "please stop talking to me". She thinks we are great friends because I listen politely while she dumps all kinds of negativity and reports of her poor choices on me. I admit I have let this go on for too long and should have had more boundaries with this woman. I just have a hard time walking away from someone who is speaking to me. I totally dread picking my daughter up from school because I might have to be talked at by this person.</p>
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<p>I have tried to stay away from her, even varying my pick up time a bit to avoid her. She will still use any opportunity to start talking at me even if I don't look at her. Today I tried confronting her and telling her that the girls can be friends if they want, but I don't think we are suited to be friends. She kept arguing and running over me until I literally had to say "just stop". Even after I said that she continued talking. Since I know how she tells her personal problems to anyone who happens to walk by, I'm sure this story will be over-dramatized and spread around and possibly believed by people who don't know her as well. </p>
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<p>So the problem is that even if they do split the girls up next year, it is likely that they will end up together again for 1st through 5th grades at the school, since there is usually only one class per grade. I really hate the idea of being stuck with this family for the next 6 1/2 years. And I am worried about the influence this girl has on my daughter, now that she is starting to be mean, exclusionary, etc. She will be my daughter's best friend and then suddenly dump her if she doesn't want to play the same thing (which totally crushes my daughter who I think is overly dependent on this friendship). I have a feeling that this is only going to get worse as they get older.</p>
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<p>Also, am I really going to have to dread picking my kids up from school for the next 6 1/2 years? Not to mention school events, etc.? Yet I have not found another school in the area to switch to. The 2nd language is very important to me, so that narrows our choices. My son is really happy there and I don't think it would be fair to move him, since this has nothing to do with him (he is in first grade right now, my daughter in PreK). Yet I worry about my daughter and my own stress level! I just don't know how to escape this person that I have to see 2-3 times a day. :(</p>
 

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<p>I wouldn't let one person/family ruin a good thing for your family.  There is no guarantee that at another school, you won't find there are other people just as bothersome.  There is also no guarantee that they will stay at this school in the long run.</p>
 

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<p>I agree with eepster - also the girls are 4? Social dynamics change a lot. Just because they are best buddies now doesn't mean that they will be in the future.</p>
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<p>I would however set some boundaries with listening to the mother, and I would set up some playdates for your daughter with some of the other kids in the class.</p>
 

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<p>I think a fair few of the behaviours you describe ("flirting", being exclusionary, being possessive about friends) are pretty normal little-girl behaviours that you will encounter no matter WHO she is friends with.  I think it sounds like you and the other mom are not a good friend-match, she sounds a little like she talks when she's nervous, which is perhaps why she was unable to back off when you were telling her you didn't want to be friends with her.</p>
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<p>I'm not sure how i would deal with it all.  I don't think moving schools will stop your DD being influenced by others in potentially negative ways, but it will stop her, and you, having contact with this particular family.  I guess i would maintain clear boundaries and not move.  THere might be worse people at other schools and they might move themselves.</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>GuildJenn</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1282747/would-you-leave-a-school-you-love-to-get-away-from-a-toxic-family#post_16084080"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>I agree with eepster - also the girls are 4? Social dynamics change a lot. Just because they are best buddies now doesn't mean that they will be in the future.</p>
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<p><strong>I would however set some boundaries with listening to the mother, and I would set up some playdates for your daughter with some of the other kids in the class</strong>.</p>
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<p>This woman is socially inept, so it is going to take some consistent effort and some time to get through to her that you aren't going to participate as her dumping ground anymore.  When you see her, smile a polite greeting, break eye contact immediately and try to get involved in a conversation with someone else. </p>
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<p>I would also foster some new friendships for your DD. If your DD can't readily identify anyone, the teacher probably has some good suggestions for other children she likes to play with. Don't limit it to just girls either. At that age, a like-minded boy might be a better friend, especially if there is some gender role playing happening already with the girls (flirting etc. - it may not be just that one little girl).</p>
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<p>If this other little girl is struggling with the second language program, she may not stick with it for much longer. The teachers/administration may recommend that she transfer to a unilingual program. Her parents may decide to transfer her. She might beg to move to a different school.  </p>
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<p>If the school is going to split them up next year, I'd at least wait that long before making a decision to change schools. In the meantime, you can work on distancing yourself and your child from this family. </p>
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<p>I've seen similar posts before, so this isn't unique to this school. You could specifically request that the girls not be in the same class next year.</p>
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<p>In the meantime you could ask the teacher to separate them as much as practical (since they already see a problem) and help facilitate other friendships...perhaps you can involve her in an after school activity, like dance. My son has one particular boy in his class that the teacher tries to keep separated from him because this boy will just keep at ds until he reacts.</p>
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<p>As for pick-up time, you could try sticking in ear buds or calling someone on your cell.</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Emmeline II</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1282747/would-you-leave-a-school-you-love-to-get-away-from-a-toxic-family#post_16084360"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>In the meantime you could ask the teacher to separate them as much as practical (since they already see a problem) and help facilitate other friendships...perhaps you can involve her in an after school activity, like dance. My son has one particular boy in his class that the teacher tries to keep separated from him because this boy will just keep at ds until he reacts.</p>
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Asking for your child to be separated from a kid who picks on him/her is very different from asking for your child to be separated from a kid b/c they are friends but you dislike the mom.   We don't get to pick our children's friends.</p>
 

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<p>Really depends on the circumstances. We've come across a couple doosies but they haven't chased us off. One mom is a total lunatic. I made the mistake of congratulating a man <strong>she told me</strong> she was engaged too when they weren't actually engaged. She wrote me nasty grams but I didn't respond. She then targeted my DD with ridiculous claims about her. I freaked out initially but then realized that no one on the planet believed her lol. DD's track record and behavior spoke for itself. Since she never approached my DD personally, her DD was always polite to mine AND the principal was watching the situation, I just let it be. I can't say I'm not thrilled they are in different high schools though!</p>
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<p>I almost pulled my DS due to a bully situation with another boy. His parents were morons who felt that my son deserved to be bullied because we aren't religious and they were born-again. You should have heard some of their excuses as to why it was OK for their son to slam DS into walls and say every nasty comment he could come up with! However, the principal really stepped up and turned the situation around right away. Their son struggles in school so even when they've been in the same class, they've always been seperated into different learning groups. I also made sure they never sat by eachother.</p>
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<p>Certainly put distance between you and the mom. You'll have to do the same with the girls. If you talk to the principal about your reasons for keeping them seperate. I can't say there is NEVER a time to move away but I don't think you are there yet.</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>eepster</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1282747/would-you-leave-a-school-you-love-to-get-away-from-a-toxic-family#post_16084557"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Emmeline II</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1282747/would-you-leave-a-school-you-love-to-get-away-from-a-toxic-family#post_16084360"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>In the meantime you could ask the teacher to separate them as much as practical (since they already see a problem) and help facilitate other friendships...perhaps you can involve her in an after school activity, like dance. My son has one particular boy in his class that the teacher tries to keep separated from him because this boy will just keep at ds until he reacts.</p>
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<p><br>
Asking for your child to be separated from a kid who picks on him/her is very different from asking for your child to be separated from a kid b/c they are friends but you dislike the mom.   We don't get to pick our children's friends.</p>
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<p><br>
The OP's dd uncharacteristicly confines herself to this one friend who suddenly and frequently withdraws her friendship. I don't see a problem with separating them a bit so the OP's dd can have the opportunity to develop a wider circle of friends without the influence of that particular friend.</p>
 
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Discussion Starter #10
<p>Thank you for your replies. It does help to hear that we should stay at the school. I really love the school and haven't been able to find a plan B school in the area.</p>
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<p>Unfortunately I don't think they will leave the school. The kids going to the school is one of the things the parents fight about, so by keeping them there, the mom is "winning" in her opinion. I think she would do anything to keep them there if only to prove to her husband that she "wins". I don't think the school is a good fit for her younger daughter, but her older daughter seems to be doing fine. (Her older daughter is actually pretty mature, I think she has been forced to be a grown up at the age of 6).</p>
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<p>I think the teachers are completely on board with splitting them up next year. I spoke with them about it a month or so ago at conferences. (They did not gave me the same reasons as they gave the other mom). They mentioned a few girls in the class who are nicer. I have been asking my daughter if she wants a playdate with one of them, but she doesn't want one. She only wants a playdate with this one girl. For me that is a red flag as well.</p>
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<p>I think I will concentrate on the deflecting the mom for now as I think that might be the bigger issue. I will ask the teachers to let me know what they see during class time.</p>
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<p>Using the cell phone at pick up time is a great idea. I have tried reading a book, but she still just starts talking at me anyway. At least with the cell phone my ear will be obviously busy!</p>
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<p>Thank you again for your replies so far, especially since my original post was so long!  I really appreciate getting input from people without involving people who know her. (I don't want to gossip or talk about her behind her back, but I do need some fresh perspectives). I hope there is a way for us to just be acquaintances or something. I really don't want her to have influence over my emotions or my family.</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Emmeline II</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1282747/would-you-leave-a-school-you-love-to-get-away-from-a-toxic-family#post_16084800"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>eepster</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1282747/would-you-leave-a-school-you-love-to-get-away-from-a-toxic-family#post_16084557"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Emmeline II</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1282747/would-you-leave-a-school-you-love-to-get-away-from-a-toxic-family#post_16084360"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>In the meantime you could ask the teacher to separate them as much as practical (since they already see a problem) and help facilitate other friendships...perhaps you can involve her in an after school activity, like dance. My son has one particular boy in his class that the teacher tries to keep separated from him because this boy will just keep at ds until he reacts.</p>
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<p><br>
Asking for your child to be separated from a kid who picks on him/her is very different from asking for your child to be separated from a kid b/c they are friends but you dislike the mom.   We don't get to pick our children's friends.</p>
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<p><br>
The OP's dd uncharacteristicly confines herself to this one friend who suddenly and frequently withdraws her friendship. I don't see a problem with separating them a bit so the OP's dd can have the opportunity to develop a wider circle of friends without the influence of that particular friend.</p>
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<p>Encouraging more friendships is a good goal, but doing so by deliberately keeping the girls apart as much as practical seems to be taking things to an unfair level.  Since the school seems to already want them in separate classes next year for educational reasons, I don't see why additional separation should be pushed for.  The whole exclusive thing is very age appropriate, it is why the idea that it is OK to have more than one friend needs to be actively taught in pre-school and kindergarten.</p>
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<p>My mom disliked my best friends mom when we were kids, but that friendship was very valuable for me.  My friend was much more outgoing than I was (I was a very shy little girl,) and when I was the new kid in class she actually helped me get to know the girls that became my wider circle of friends.</p>
 

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<p>I would be concerned with a classroom where teachers are pointing out nicer kids to be friends with and a school that employs teachers who try to ostracize children they don't like.  If they notice a problem they should be addressing it by redirecting the girl, not by trying to ostracize a four year old child.  Four is a tough age and it takes patient teachers who are willing to stay on top of things and gently enforce expectations while teaching children what to do instead.  It sounds like the teacher at this school decides who is good and deserves friends and who isn't and that is probably reinforcing this girls negative behavior.  I would be very worried about what the next grade up will be like if the preschool teacher is that harsh towards small children.  It may be that your dd rubs the teacher the wrong way next year and is the one targeted.  My dd was targeted by a teacher in first grade and I won't return her to that school again.  One nasty teacher can cause a lot of insecurity in a small child and it sounds like that could be happening if she has suddenly gone from a good friend to a bad one with the only thing changing being the teacher.</p>
 

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<p>Have you thought about setting up a playdate with one of their moms, anyway?  You could always go to a small park and then "Hey look who we ran into!  And, guess what, they brought their lunch, too!"  If the park is small enough and has few other people there, the girls will most likely end up playing together.  If she enjoys it, invite them right then to your house on ___day, while she's still having fun and not thinking of her other friend.  This is a big issue at my DD's school with quite a few kids, trying to get the kids to have a wider circle of friends instead of just one or two.  Sometimes they aren't thrilled about playdates, but when they're in the middle of them it goes fine.<br>
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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>HipGal</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1282747/would-you-leave-a-school-you-love-to-get-away-from-a-toxic-family#post_16085140"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><br><p>I think the teachers are completely on board with splitting them up next year. I spoke with them about it a month or so ago at conferences. (They did not gave me the same reasons as they gave the other mom). They mentioned a few girls in the class who are nicer. I have been asking my daughter if she wants a playdate with one of them, but she doesn't want one. She only wants a playdate with this one girl. For me that is a red flag as well.</p>
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Discussion Starter #14
<p>One_Girl,</p>
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<p>I'm sorry if I gave you the wrong impression. The teachers were not saying that my daughter should not be friends with this girl. I was asking them to help her expand her friendships to include more than one. They mentioned a few names of girls they thought would get along well with my daughter and treat her nicely. I think it is a good idea for her to have some friends who treat her nicely to balance out the one that doesn't. The teachers were in no way saying that my daughter should not be her friend. I think they were concerned (as I was) that the girls are so dependent on each other. I know when the other girl is absent for the day, my daughter just plays by herself. So it is a good idea for her to have a few friends rather than just one.</p>
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<p>Also, they were suggesting two girls who are new to the school, so I think they might have also been thinking about helping those girls make friends. So I think they have the awareness of the importance of all the kids making friends. I hope that helps! I'm so sorry your dd had a bad experience in first grade. Unfortunately I have run across a few teachers before who really shouldn't be teaching (and some who seem to hate kids! Time for a career change, imho).</p>
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<p>Spring Lily,</p>
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<p>That is a great idea. I know if I plan/tell her ahead of time she is only going to want to play with this one girl. But I have seen her play very easily with other kids (when that girl is not around). I have one friend we had a playdate with and her daughter played so well with mine it was really sweet (they were going out of their ways to give each other turns at things at the science museum). Unfortunately they live a couple hours away so we don't see them too often.</p>
 

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<p>I can't advise, but definitely started to understand your position once you mentioned the word "guns". I would definitely consider moving, if there isn't a better strategy.</p>
 

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<p> They mentioned a few girls in the class who are nicer. I have been asking my daughter if she wants a playdate with one of them, but she doesn't want one. She only wants a playdate with this one girl. For me that is a red flag as well.</p>
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I wouldn't necessarily ask my dd if she wanted a playdate, just set one up! She'll likely be excited to hear there is a fun event planned. If she doesn't "click" with the girl, no harm done, anyway. FWIW, my dd, now in 2nd grade, has had 3 "best friends" since she was in PK, and now has a group of 4 girls that she regularly plays with. Best friends are not locked in stone at the age of 4.</p>
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<p>Also, if your school is the type that extends birthday party invites, or outside of school hours events like girl scouts/clubs, I would be sure to attend. It's a great way to meet other parents and expose your dd to some different kids in a non-school setting. She may find another close school friend outside of the classroom.</p>
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<p>I also would not hesitate to request that the girls are in separate classes next year. You don't have to offer any explanation other than you feel that your child is too dependent on this one girl. But, I suspect this is an issue that could resolve itself. If the girl is becoming "mean", and she is not being nice to other kids/your dd, your dd will probably naturally gravitate towards other children. I suppose I would try to help it along, though, too.</p>
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<p>We do have one toxic family at my school. The dd is nice, I feel sorry for her, but, the parent is a known thief and has questionable morals. I have not attended a birthday party at her home, would never let dd go to home, and have (without verbalizing anything to my dd) actively discouraged my dd connecting with this particular girl. I don't know what I would do, nor how I would react if my dd came home announcing this particular girl was her new best friend! After all, it is our responsibility to protect our kids. What a difficult, crummy situation.</p>
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<p>When my ds was in preschool, he really latched on to another little boy.  I had my doubts about the kid (and his family) and didn't do much to encourage the friendship, though I let it run its course at school.  This child is a year older than my son and so they spent a year apart before my son started Kinder at the same elementary school where the friend was in 1st grade.  My son now avoids his former best pal because he  has turned out to be a mean kid.  It's sad...but there it is.  DS didn't need anything other than a year of space and maturity to see his friend's true colors.  The mom is a complicating factor....but I think that your DD will eventually pull away from the friend if the friend truly is mean.  If she is just being four and has a rough home life, she may need a kind friend like your daughter.</p>
 

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<p>I just found this thread, what other activities does your DD do?  Can you join the library story time? Possibily find an art class to take?  Sorta broaden her circle of potential friends ya know?  And no you dont have to allow play dates with this certain child.  Are their other kids on the block your DD will play with during non school times?</p>
<p>As for pick up and drop off times, bring a book, stick in an IPOD (even if its turned off) or just flat out say "hey its the new year, im trying something new"</p>
<p>I think seperate classes would be great as well as reinforcing to your DD that she is her own person and she can make her own decision inside and outside the classroom!</p>
 

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<p>Thank you all for your advice so far. I thought I would give a bit of an update. I have had a few adventures with the mom (who "accidently" sent an email to the entire parent list of my daughter's class that referenced our disagreement). Also her mom started texting me (?!). It's weird. I really enjoyed the two weeks we had off from school! I was really bummed to go back. I haven't really had any interaction with the mom since we have been back, but I feel stressed three times a day for dropoff/pickup.</p>
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<p>We have had a couple playdates with other kids from the class. My daughter had fun but was asking why we didn't invite the other girl instead. During the break she didn't really mention the girl and that was nice.</p>
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<p>Since we have been back she seems to be totally obsessed with her again. The teacher told me today that my daughter was fighting with other kids that were sitting next to the girl because she wanted to sit next to her. She also pushed some kids out of the way so she could line up next to her. I've *never* known my daughter to fight with other kids (other than her brother! LOL) or push. I've also witnessed this girl being mean to my daughter. (For example, laughing at and criticizing a drawing my daughter made). My gut is really telling me that this is an unhealthy situation. I don't know what to do. I was thinking of moving her to the other PreK class, but I know she would be upset. I don't know if it is right to wait until next fall and hope they are separated for the one year. The preschool actually goes through the summer and I already decided we would just pull her out for the summer rather than continue in that class. I did talk to her a bit about how before this girl was in her class, she used to play with other kids and loved school. I think she doesn't remember life before this girl (she was three back then).</p>
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<p>Dd is about to turn 5 and obviously this girl was the first on her invite list. I did invite her to respect my daughter's wishes, but I really don't look forward to seeing this family at the party. :(  My instincts are telling me that the only way to have them in our lives less would be to move schools. But then I see my son at the school and he seems so happy and at home, I just feel it wouldn't be fair for him to have to move schools (and possibly for our whole family to move our home in order to get into a school district that would have a public language program). Ugh!  I feel really stuck and I don't want my daughter shaped by this situation. She is a very sweet and outgoing girl who used to have no problem making friends. Now she says no one else will play with her except for this one girl. :(</p>
 

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Have you talked to the teachers to get support on having her sit with other kids at least at snack? Tell them that you are concerned that your DD is overly focused on this one friendship and you are trying to help her learn to be friends with other kids, too, and would like her to sit at a different table for snacktimes. I've known families that have done that with two siblings that are in the same class, to encourage them to branch out. Would the teachers be supportive?<br><br>
Also, check with the teachers if she says no one else will play with her. Preschoolers aren't the best reporters. <img alt="wink1.gif" class="bbcode_smiley" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/wink1.gif"> We have had kids at my DD's preschool go home telling their parents that other kids were mean to them or wouldn't play with them, etc, but adult witnesses have very different versions of the story! If your DD is being isolated or kids don't want to interact with her, then the teachers and you need to have a meeting about what to do about that.
 
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