To despair at how hard girls and their friendships can be

(58 Posts)
Molehillmountain Thu 21-Mar-13 19:21:49

I love dd to bits but the friendship stuff makes me tear my hair out. I can't bear the to Ing and fro Ing that goes on and the best friend not best friend angst. Especially when I can see how she's not helping herself. Aargh! She's seven. Will it get better?

MadCap Fri 22-Mar-13 13:01:40

My dd has already started this AT PRESCHOOL. She only turned 4 two weeks ago. We're working on assertiveness because her current BFF physically bullies her. I told her she shouldn't be friends with people who hurt her and she just wailed "but she's my best best friend ever!"

Takver Fri 22-Mar-13 13:09:13

IME it gets WORSE, not better. At 7, they were all friends, they just had a tendency to thump each other / run off with the ball / insert crime here. It was painful to hear about but the next day it was all forgotten.

Now in yr 6 there is far more angst, whispering together about who did what at the weekend & long lasting misery. I am hoping and praying it will be better in 2ndary when there are more than 6 girls in the year so more alternative friends . . . but maybe there are just more people to be angsty about?

TomArchersSausage Fri 22-Mar-13 13:16:41

Agree with Soggy regarding year9. My dd has had an awful time with her group this year. I won't call them group of 'friends'sad

They've been so horrible to her and she's been terribly hurt. A couple of them were supposedly good friends from junior school too whom she's known for some years. Thankfully she's starting to make some new friends but it's def changed her in that she's had to toughen massively up to survive.

Tailtwister Fri 22-Mar-13 13:20:34

I don't have girls, but I do remember the whole friendships thing. It was SO complicated and could literally change from one minute to the next. It got mildly better (for me) later on in secondary school, as I found a group of friends we we kind of stuck together.

Are boys as bad? DS1 starts school after the summer and I'm dreading it.

Molehillmountain Fri 22-Mar-13 13:28:18

Yikes! Good to know, I think, but now what do I do to ease the next few years? My current strategy is to ignore day to day bits and pieces and keep inviting children dd wants to come for tea. Yesterday's drama was that the ex best friends new best friend was claiming that dd was never best friends in the first place. Lord alive! Thank goodness for the holidays.

TomArchersSausage Fri 22-Mar-13 14:03:54

We didn't have too many problems until about age 10+. From then on it got decidedly tricky.

I have always tried to impress upon my dc (well dd's mainly, ds seems less complicated re friendships so far) that at school it's better to be generally friendly with a lot of people and to buzz from group to group rather than to be too exclusive.

However this advice is only ever followed minimally - usually following some sort of fallout - because girls seem to be hard wired into wanting to be exclusive and will gravitate to certain disaster in this no matter what you say.

Always things reach a point where they couldn't be any closer if they tried and everything becomes too intense. At that point someone in the group inevitably detonates the thing with some minor misdeed or action and because it's usually just a fragile house of cards anyway the whole thing collapses. They fall out and things cool off.

I think barring outright bullying, you can only be there to offer cuddles, chocolate and encourage the next friends. It's very wearing though.

The trick is not to get too involved. As dh says. Be there to support her but don't help her dig the hole and jump in with her over it. I try to bear that in mind because there have been times when I think I probably have taken it all on board too much for my own good especially in yr9 where things can get quite nasty. I've dreaded dd coming coming home some evenings to hear the next installment. I feel so helpless and hurt for her at the same time; she is still my little girl after all.

Although I have noticed sometimes I seem to worry about it more than she does which goes to show that really they need to resolve it in their own way and in fact often can resolve it which is empowering and helps them learn how to deal with such things.

Astelia Fri 22-Mar-13 14:17:13

I found Y8 and Y11 the most difficult years.

My top tips would be to listen sympathetically, try to help them see other people's possible motivations and coach them in suitable responses to scenarios that they think might crop up.

Problems always seem much worse after school when everyone is tired, so I nod and sympathise at first. If the problem is still a problem the next day and the one after that, I will start trying to offer strategies.

moominmarvellous Fri 22-Mar-13 14:24:08

TomArchersSausage - 'Be there to support her but don't help her dig the hole and jump in with her over it.'

I like that. Although it sums up exactly what I feel like I do sometimes!

TomArchersSausage Fri 22-Mar-13 14:28:58

It's like walking a high wire. Esp with teen hormones thrown into the mix where everyone is moody and tetchy and looking for reasons to be offended.

Thank god for ginwink (That's for me not dd btwgrin)

TheGirlOnTheLanding Fri 22-Mar-13 14:45:22

SuburbanRhonda, I just ordered that book on Amazon in the hope it might help with DD's friend issues, you recommend it do you? DD is 8 and has recently lost the person she regarded as her BFF - we think long term it will help with her social skills and resilience (as well as minimising the daily drama) but it's been hard going in the short term. Girls in her class seem to be obsessed with being paired up with a best pal, and not having one makes playtime very very hard; hoping that this will give her some strategies to try out.

aliasjoey Fri 22-Mar-13 14:53:59

tomarchersausage I snorted my coffee reading your post about the group dynamics ('detonates' !) because it is so true.

Another thing I have done is role-play certain situations with DD (swapping characters) also remind her that the teacher is NOT taking sides just because she doesn't automatically leap in to her defence.

And boys are usually easier, they fall out, they shout and maybe have a tussle and then its over.

Girls are whisper, whisper, whisper, and texting each other all the time.

Littlefish Fri 22-Mar-13 14:55:26

We have the opposite problem to you TheGirlOnTheLanding. There are 10 girls in dd's class and they all seem to play together all the time. It means that if there is a falling out, the person who leaves the group/feels excluded, has no-one to play with.

Unfortunately, dd is quite bossy a strong character who always wants to lead the games. We are working very hard with her at home on listening to others and letting others lead, but don't seem to be making much headway at the moment. sad

Oopla Fri 22-Mar-13 14:59:38

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TomArchersSausage Fri 22-Mar-13 15:07:14

Oh yes.. the whisperinghmm

And by 14 they have honed it down to 'glaring and funny looks'. Dd was told she was apparantly 'staring' at one the other day when in fact dd was sitting in front of the girl and facing the opposite way.

And excluding one by being overly exuberant towards others. That's another favourite. Hugs and kisses to all but one. I mean I ask you...!

It's so subtle and so cutting that the only explanation is that this behaviour is the product of millions of years worth of 'teenage girl evolution'.

Cherriesarelovely Fri 22-Mar-13 15:10:55

Yanbu OP. I completely agree. However, most of the time it is literally a drama one day and fine the next. It only got really awful when a parent with a real agenda (that her child was always the victim...not true at all) started sticking her oar in. By and large I just let my Dd talk it out with me but have learned not to do anything other than that and not to worry too much as it always seems to sort itself out in time.

namechangeguy Fri 22-Mar-13 15:15:22

It's so subtle and so cutting that the only explanation is that this behaviour is the product of millions of years worth of 'teenage girl evolution'.

My God, TomArcher - if someone from the feminist board reads that, you are in trouble grin

TomArchersSausage Fri 22-Mar-13 15:15:27

And I meant to say, when dd said 'well how can I be staring at you when I'm facing away from you?' The aggrieved girl thought for a minute, then agreed with dd and decided that everything was ok after all. Well ..phew for thatgrin

That's the logic you're dealing with...confused

ItsallisnowaFeegle Fri 22-Mar-13 15:15:34

Oh God, sorry OP.

My DD is almost 15 and I'm finding it gets worse not better hmm

All we can do is listen, suggest and mop up the tears.

TobyLerone Fri 22-Mar-13 15:17:26

I hate to tell you, OP, but DD is almost 12 and it hasn't got any better yet sad

Molehillmountain Fri 22-Mar-13 15:48:52

Forewarned is forearmed - I think confused

SuburbanRhonda Fri 22-Mar-13 16:05:35

TheGirlOnTheLanding, it's one of the best books I've used and I've lent it to parents who have also found it invaluable. In fact, I used to have three copies and now only have one! I think what is good about it is that it doesn't pretend to offer solutions to make the things not happen. So it stops children blaming themselves for the bad things. Instead it says, in child-speak of course, shit happens, but here's some strategies for managing your feelings so next time, you don't feel so bad.

TheGirlOnTheLanding Fri 22-Mar-13 19:40:10

Sounds really good, SuburbanRhonda, thanks (and sorry for slight hijack, Molehill)

kerala Fri 22-Mar-13 20:49:20

Sadly I think its developmental - a painful process most of us have to go through. In an extreme form it can tip into bullying but for most its practice for real life adult relationships. I still remember the sick feeling of being excluded from my friendship group because of my bag. Then I was in again and someone else was out....oh joy.

DD is 6 and has a happy group but there is one girl in the class (not one of DDs friends thankfully) who seems to delight in making others unhappy. Odd as she is pretty/clever/indulged I always thought unpleasant children came from awful backgrounds but seems its innate in some kids.

Morloth Fri 22-Mar-13 21:35:06

So is this behaviour learned or built in I wonder.

Like woopsi DS's friendship issues usually pass in a couple of moments and are shrugged off.

I don't actually know any girls of a similar age.

DorisIsWaiting Fri 22-Mar-13 21:44:02

DD1 is also 7 but apart from some upset last year we don't really have this at all. BUT this year she has a much broader friendhip base which seems to work better at this age. (This took suggestions and rewards from us and building confidence to play with different children at playtime a set number of playtimes each week)

Hey ho I'm sure it will all change soon

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