To be annoyed at this Mother who is discouraging her DS from being friends with my DD?

(63 Posts)
MrsMushroom Sun 27-Jan-13 23:07:53

DD is in reception and since she attended the attached pre school, has been close friends with a little boy.

She has quite a lot of friends but this one is special. He also adores her and she him.

When it was DDs parents evening last term, her teacher told me that they were discouraging the friendship because the little boy was too reliant on DD....they THOUGHT but weren't sure, that the dynamic wasn't good as he would not play with any others....they assured me that DD was not stopping him....just that together, they seemed too intense.

They began splitting them up.

This upset DD who missed her friend. The Mother spoke to me about it and said that she wanted her son to form friendships with boys...I understand that it is not good for a DC to only be friends with one child exclusively but does that mean the friendship should be discouraged completely?

I left things until this term and as DD was still mentioning the boy, I made a tentatve suggestion of him coming for tea at some point and the Mother did a nervous laugh and changed the subject.

Am I missing something? I have not had any complaints about DDs beaviour...she's kind and nice girl and she adores her friend. I know that the Mother has let her son go on other playdates with boys...she's always been terribly friendly to me in the past.

Shouldn't 4 year old's be allowed to be friends with who they like?

WadingThroughTreacle Mon 28-Jan-13 11:42:35

TBH I think you have to leave alone, unfair though it is. My son has had the same female friend since he was 4, although he does also have a good male friend too. I thought they would grow apart after the first year or so but they didn't and I'm fine about it. I do worry a bit more now he's getting a bit older as he doesn't really seem that in with the other boys, though as far as I'm aware he's reasonably popular and gets on with everyone. I have thought about enrolling him to scouts to get him a bit more interested in other 'boy' stuff, mainly cos I think he would enjoy it and so he can get by with the other boys if you catch my drift. But tbh it's up to him who he's friends with!

Helltotheno Mon 28-Jan-13 11:38:15

...oh and also, far be it from me to generalise but on the basis of seeing my own kids (who conform perfectly to gender stereotyping, with little input by me grin) and their friends in action, little girls tend to be bossier than little boys. Like I said, not always the case, just what I've observed.

Could there be a bit of that?

Helltotheno Mon 28-Jan-13 11:34:42

OP it's pretty obvious the school acted on the request of the other parent. You going to the school isn't really going to change anything, with the exception that they may tell you the other parent approached them.
It's not just what you want that matters here; the other parent, for whatever reason, isn't happy with the situation and wants it to change. You can't force what you want on the other parent.

I would encourage your DD to embiggen her friendship group, and would definitely not go to the school.

By the way, in any instance where I've seen this scenario (with friends etc), there was usually one stronger personality and one more passive and the parent of the more passive child felt there was monopolisation. I'm not saying this is the case here. Regarding gender, hard to know if it's factor, given there are definitely oddballs out there who would see a small boy hanging out with girls a lot as a surefire way for him to catch the ghey... shock

QOD Mon 28-Jan-13 11:16:40

My dd was split from her friend in reception as they felt the friend was following dd decisions, like when they would chose who would have the playhouse during goldie time, who the scooters etc, dd would choose what she wanted every time, friend would choose that to be with dd.
Both friends 100% happy, dd wasn't considering her friend to be fair, she would think what she wanted and friend would copy.

Kept apart, dd is now the most unconfident child in the world and her friend is super miss confident.
They did something wrong in their handling as it was all downhill from there on.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Mon 28-Jan-13 11:10:00

OP reading between the lines, it sounds like the friendship with your DD was preventing this little boy making other friends.

The friendship may work very well for your daughter, but not for her son.

I was in a similar position with DS1 when he was at preschool. He became really good friends with another little boy, to the point where he didn't want to play with anyone else when this boy was around. DS1's behaviour was also much worse when with this other child, and there were several incidents where preschool felt that DS1 was actually being encouraged into behaviour that he wouldn't normally exhibit by this child - DS1 can be quite passive and this other boy, although a nice a friendly child, was very domineering.
They made efforts to encourage other friendships for DS1, and my primary concern was that being so dependant on one child left him very vulnerable if the other boy suddenly didn't want to play with him.

Fortunately they have gone on to different schools, but if they had ended up at the same school I would have requested that DS1 be put in a different class to this boy.

It sounds like school, and the other mother, have tried to be diplomatic with you. Go in and speak to them by all means, but be prepared not to like what you hear.

goldenlula Mon 28-Jan-13 11:01:25

Ds1 formed a strong friendship with a girl in Reception. They played together all the time, talked about each other to anyone that would listen. They did play with others, but normally they both played with the others and if anyone tried to push one of them out, they would go off together. Ds1 rarely played with boys, even as a young child, I had a small circle of friends with children of the same age, 3 boys and 1 girl, ds1 would always play with the girl and still has a closer bond with her. Now, though, at 7 and in year 2 he plays football with the boys at playtimes, and talks about lots of children but is still firm 'best' friends with the little girl from Reception and she is the one he chooses to do things with outside of school. I can understand the other parents concerns, as I had similar concerns (not gender related just that ds1 was so taken with one child), but now we are 2 years on I know that given time they develop and grow. I would maybe speak to the school to see what there take on it is.

DumSpiroSpero Mon 28-Jan-13 10:50:57

I think it's a shame but ultimately the other parents will do what they feel is right for their child - I can understand them having concerns about their DS focussing only on one friendship regardless of the gender of the friend, having been in that position with my DD.

I'm also not surprised that the school are backing them tbh. Our primary is a bit OTT about this kind of thing too (imho) - they don't like the children referring to having a 'best friend' for instance.

GooseyLoosey Mon 28-Jan-13 10:47:34

I have been involved in a similar situation, but with ds and another boy. Ds regarded this boy as his best friends and I had assumed that they were. The other mother then approached the school and said that her son was overwhelmed by ds and would like the school to put some distance between them. I was friends with the other mother and could never understand why she did not approach me. However, I can guess that she would have found the conversation too hard.

At the time, I was deeply hurt by this as was ds, but in my heart, I understood where she was coming from. Ds has since left the school and the other boy cried when he heard he was leaving.

A bit rambling, but what I am trying to say is that it is not always easy to be objective about hour children' friendships. Sometimes other parents may not view our children as the wonderful associates they clearly are. I think there is little you can do but help your daughter to deal with a change in the nature of her friendship, anything else has the potential to cause more distress down the line, whatever real reason behind the other parents' stance.

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Mon 28-Jan-13 10:40:11

Knowing some parents as I do, especially dads, I suspect it may be to do with gender.

DS1 was very close friends with a girl at nursury and another girl in reception. I didn't bat an eyelid and neither did his dad.

Kalisi Mon 28-Jan-13 10:34:48

I'm another one who feels that the gender is not the issue here. You say yourself OP that dd has other friends and yet this boy doesn't so it stands to reason that his Mother would be concerned. 'Wanting him to play with boys' is just easier to explain than suggesting that your daughters relationship with him may be too possesive. It is hard to explain something like that to a parent who doesn't agree without them becoming defensive.
I wouldn't worry, they can still play in the olayground together. If the friendship is that special it will continue. You should leave it be.

quoteunquote Mon 28-Jan-13 10:32:02

My middle son, had all the way through pre school, and primary his BF who was a girl, they happily played with other children, but it was impossible to separate them for a moment, anyone who tried gave up, very quickly and decided to see the positives in the relationship, they adore each other.

Both are extremely well rounded, happy and have a great social group of both sexes, I don't think children care what gender their friends are, adults need to get over it.

In their social group there is about a fifty fifty split of boys girls, all get along really well, hang out and support each other, I think it's weird to base friendships on gender.

DeWe Mon 28-Jan-13 10:08:48

I've seen similar situations where both dc are the same gender. It's nothing to do with them being boy/girl and just to do with encouraging them to have other friends.

NoTeaForMe Mon 28-Jan-13 08:34:00

People are jumping to conclusions that the problem is that the friendship is with a girl. It sounds like the other mother feels that the friendship is too intense, regardless of boy/girl. Though in my experience this is nearly always more true when you add a girl into the mix!

MammaTJ Mon 28-Jan-13 08:27:07

fuck I was just about to say perhaps they are worried he will catch the gay, when in fact the gay can only be catched by always playing only with people of the same sex. The best cure for the gay is people of the opposite sex.

OP go in all guns blazing and explain this fact to them!! grin

fuckadoodlepoopoo Mon 28-Jan-13 08:21:48

I can understand the nursery doing this as I've a few friends whose children its happened too. As long as they are doing it to encourage his social skills or because they don't think they are a good influence on each other (i had a friend whose child was encouraged to make other friends because whenever she hung out with her best friend they would bully other kids).

But the mum stopping the friendship because your child is a girl . . . well that's just stupid! It doesn't mean he'll never have boy type friends!

Perhaps the mum is worried he'll catch the gay! hmm (sounds like my sil who forces her son into football, won't allow him to play dress up and will only let him wear dark colours!)

NoTeaForMe Mon 28-Jan-13 08:16:50

I understand why you feel upset for your daughter, but to be honest I can really see the other mothers side too. Her son is struggling to make friends and relies on your daughter throughout the day, he needs help to make other friends and in turn that means discouraging him from always playing with your daughter.

I used to work in schools and this was a concern a couple of times. Reception/Year 1 children especially would sometimes make that one friendship and wouldn't try to make any others. When their friend was off sick or in any other situation they were lost, it's not the best thing to have one best friend to the detriment of all other friendships!

Try not to see it as a bad thing for your daughter but as a positive for her friend. If they're still playing together at lunchtimes etc then the school haven't stopped them completely.

greenfolder Mon 28-Jan-13 08:14:52

my dd turns 18 in a matter of weeks

she is still friends with2 boys she knew from reception. i would chill out about it tbh- their friendship may well endure. one mother of one of my dds other friends did everything she could to stop them being friends- never found out why but we all survived!

Sneepy Mon 28-Jan-13 08:09:39

Read between the lines: "relies on her" means your dd might be bossy, domineering, possessive or controlling. Likely he's been upset about it at home ("I wanted to play with Y but X wouldn't let me" "We always have to play what X wants to play") and his mum thinks he needs to widen his circle. I'm guessing it has nothing to do with gender and everything to do with the boy's unhappiness. Why don't you encourage your dd to form other friendships--when things calm down, they'll go back to playing with each other on a more casual basis.

orangepudding Mon 28-Jan-13 07:58:05

I think its a shame but the school probably have a reason to do this.

My ds is in reception and his best friend is a girl. They play really well together but play with others too both together and individually, this is really important. His best friend isn't a mothering type, if she was I think they would need to be seperated a bit. Ds is however mothered by some of the other girls in the class, they change him for pe!

lljkk Mon 28-Jan-13 07:56:25

Some of these statements are ridiculous, gender mix of friendships and toy choice doesn't matter in reception. They all mature together and accept changes as they happens, it takes until mid yr1-yr3 before gender divides tend to happen naturally. There's no need to interfere in reception to protect a child's future reputation with same gender, ffs.

DS1 rode a magenta girl's bike to school well into yr1. DS2 wore pink shoes to school and brought in pink toys on Toy Day in yr2. They've got no lingering girlie labels.

CloudsAndTrees Mon 28-Jan-13 07:56:00

I think there is a difference between discouraging a friendship with your dd, and encouraging this boy to form wider friendships.

The school providing opportunity for the boy to mix with other children doesn't mean they are actively discouraging a friendship with your dd. It's good that the school is encouraging wider friendships for all the children, especially if in their opinion a friendship is becoming too intense.

The same goes for the mother. She might want to encourage her ds to become friends with more boys, but that doesn't mean she has a problem with your dd. the mother will have next to no control over who her ds plays with at school, and even the school will have very little control over who the children choose to play with during free flow time, and especially at lunchtimes.

Tailtwister Mon 28-Jan-13 07:43:14

That's a shame for both children. DS1 was very much like this, he seemed to enjoy the company of girls more than boys at that age and had one particular little girl he liked to spend time with. Over time (he's nearly 5 now) he started to join in with the boys more, but he still seems to find girls more interesting (if that's the right word!). I think he sometimes finds the rough and tumble with the boys a bit much and likes some of the imaginative play the girls do.

In any case, I don't think it's necessary to split children up. Their friendships are very changeable at reception age and over time I'm sure he would have widened his group of friends by himself. It seems a real shame to upset 2 children who up until then had been really enjoying each other's company.

Tbh OP I don't think there's much you can do. If the other mother is hell bent on splitting them up there's not much you can do about it.

TotallyBS Mon 28-Jan-13 07:07:19

If the OP was about two boys or two girls would we still be having the same conversation?

MN is full of posts from parents whose DC has only one close friend and how, after a falling out with said BF, DC now hates school. The mum is probably trying to avoid this pitfall.

So all this boy/girl thing is IMO a red herring.

Joiningthegang Mon 28-Jan-13 06:54:32

I love mine having different sex friends, bit if this mum doesnt then you are going to be banging your head on a brick wall. I would be encouraging some other friendships - boys or girls - change the things you can, accept what you can't

But you are not bu in being upset or annoyed by the situation.

HollyBerryBush Mon 28-Jan-13 06:26:44

By the end of year 2, as they start to think about moving into juniors, that lovely innocent friends-with-everyone starts to naturally disintegrate and girls gravitate to wards girls, and boys to boys.

Let me give you my story about DS3 - he's agentle soul (autistic) the girls adored him, but the natural split came, and he just could not be accepted by the boys. It lead to dreadful bullying and self harm. I removed him from the school as the Head was utterly useless in stopping it.

Maybe the teacher knows what is in store for a soft/gentle/quiet boy if he doesnt strive to make male relationships now.

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