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?

wanderingcloud Sun 27-Jan-13 23:11:31

Awww that's really sad sad

YANBU - I'm surprised the school are backing this. There must be more to it surely?

Evangelinadreamer Sun 27-Jan-13 23:14:00

How odd.

I would speak to the school and ask for their reasons on backing the discouragement of the friendship

MrsMushroom Sun 27-Jan-13 23:15:03

I thought that too cloud but what? DDs teacher said that he was always with DD and a small posse of girls....could it be that his Mum doesn't want him with all the girs? And that she's asked for it to be stopped?

Ivehadbetterdays Sun 27-Jan-13 23:15:16

I have a DD who is 3. Whenever she comes home from Playschool she only ever mentions boys names.
It seems a shame to discourage a friendship, especially at such a young age, but maybe someone with older children will have some valid points...confused

MrsMushroom Sun 27-Jan-13 23:16:06

Evangelina I think I will...they were rather vague really. It's an outsanding school...all that was said was that he was too reliant on her.

MrsMushroom Sun 27-Jan-13 23:17:45

Days I have another older child...I've never discouraged mixed sex friendships and other mothers have been quite pleased when their boys formed attachments with girls. It's nice and they learn from one another.

DD and her friend play a princess game...he rescues her on his scooter apparently. smile

Thingiebob Sun 27-Jan-13 23:18:25

It's crap isn't it? The same thing was done to my brother when he was a young child. He had a good friend who was female. The school made them sit apart and expressed concerns and so on.

Gradually the friendship dwindled naturally and he made friends with other boys.

pictish Sun 27-Jan-13 23:18:27

My eldest always hung out with girls at that age. He started hanging out with lads more as he got older (he is 11 now)....but when he was little he wasn't into football or play fighting, so he preferred the company of the girls. It never bothered me.

How odd.

I would read between the lines: the little boy has struggled to embiggen his friendship circle, perhaps DD (at school) has been possessive over him, trying be exclusive so the parents, with schools encouragement, have been reducing opportunities for the intensity to build back up, and are still a bit wary, I would say.

Don't take it personally, the little boy's parents are thinking of THEIR child

And, FWIW, DS2's best mate is a girl, they've been firmest friends since pre-school (nearly age 11 now); she comes for sleepovers, they've taken DS on holiday, they are great mates indeed.

WorraLiberty Sun 27-Jan-13 23:19:45

I've got 3 boys and they have (and always have had) female friends.

It's possible that the parents want to discourage him from having all female friends and alienating himself from the other boys.

Yes I know it's not PC but if it's a real concern for the parents, that'll be why they spoke to the teacher.

MrsMushroom Sun 27-Jan-13 23:20:02'v'e all made me determined to pop in. I'll just ask how she's doing generally and is she still playing with X a lot....and let them take the cue.

Then I will ask if they're still splitting them up. if they are I will ask why

MrsMushroom Sun 27-Jan-13 23:20:45

Worra would the school listen to that and actually ACT on it though? It's so odd!

StraightTalkinSheila Sun 27-Jan-13 23:20:53

Best word ever.

MrsMushroom Sun 27-Jan-13 23:21:42

Boys no...she's not possesive over him, I said upthread that she's not stopping him from mixing.

WorraLiberty Sun 27-Jan-13 23:23:07

Yes if it was a real concern to the parents.

And if the school agree he's too reliant on her then it would make sense to them to kind of help him mix with others.

Many schools do the same with twins as they don't feel it's healthy for them to stick together at the cost of any other relationships they might form.

I think the most important thing here is that whether you agree with the parents or not...the school is at least trying to support what they're saying.

MrsMushroom Sun 27-Jan-13 23:24:11

I just can;t believe parents get themselves so involved in their child's friendships tbh.

My older DD has made friends in the past that I''ve not been fond of for whatever reason but I NEVER interfere. I allow them to learn about friendships themselves.

MrsMushroom Sun 27-Jan-13 23:25:17

Worra It seems a bit cruel I suppose.

Letmeintroducemyself Sun 27-Jan-13 23:25:46

the boys mother has made her views clear, you dont know why, leave it alone because you risk embaressing yourself

WorraLiberty Sun 27-Jan-13 23:26:12

Yes but they may feel their son playing Princess games with your DD and her friends will eventually alienate him from the boys.

Surely you can see that even if you disagree with it?

yes agree Worrra

Try to not be cross with the parents of the wee laddie, they are doing what they think is best for their kiddo, and it's of sufficient concern for school to agree to intervene.

Also there might be other stuff going down that you are not privy to (and why should you).

If DD should ask again for the child to come to tea or whatever, of course still invite him.

Ivehadbetterdays Sun 27-Jan-13 23:27:20

Sorry mushroom, I didn't realise you had an older child yourself.
I wouldn't discourage it either. DD is into trains, cars etc rather than dollies so always prefers playing with the boys. I haven't got a problem with it at all.
My BF at infant school was a boy, until he moved schools. I still remember how sad I was when he left sad

If the parents have requested this for whatever reason or it has been decided because of the impact the friendship was having on the little boy then the school can only give you a vague answer. They can't give you details of another childs behaviour or parents requests.

Letmeintroducemyself Sun 27-Jan-13 23:30:33

dont keep inviting him, his mother doesnt want him to

I am not saying I agree with her, but these are her views

FWIW I wont allow my reception child to go to tea anywhere for reasons that are private to our family

Ivehadbetterdays Sun 27-Jan-13 23:32:03

I can see your point worra about him maybe being alienated later on, but isn't 4 a bit young to worry about it? Surely it will all change in a year or two anyway?

WorraLiberty Sun 27-Jan-13 23:33:25

I think so Ivehad but either the parents/school don't, or there's more to it than the OP knows.

It's hard to know exactly what goes on but I'd love to be a fly on the wall in my own kid's schools grin

I suspect it is nothing to do with male\female friendships and everything to do with the dynamics of the friendship.
And yes, parents do ask schools to help - I went in last week to ask that ds is encouraged to play with children other than a particular child - they don't play nicely together, they end up being mean and either my ds or the other child is upset. My ds really needs to embiggen his friendship group.

My DS is in reception, his best friend has always been a sunny little girl he has known since she was 2 days old. On starting school they were put into different classes. I think this was deliberate because their closeness was well known i think the school thought he would rely on her. I was very worried about it, so was her mum. However, in his class he is friends now with 2 boys and 1 girl, the irony, the girl is very shy and relies on him! His best friend who is in the other class meets him every day on the playground at lunchtime where they play chase and says she wants to marry him! (Suits me! I'll get on fine with the in laws!grin)

I suppose in a way the school have got what they want, in class time the both have to stand on their own 2 feet and in fact quiet DS is supporting a quieter child, which has helped him! But at play time they make their choices clear and play with who they want!

If the school or the parent are being this funny about it I would question was there an incident you were unaware of. Definitely speak with the school.

MrsDeVere Sun 27-Jan-13 23:38:43

Hi OP.
I don't know what is going on in the school but I had a similar thing from the other perspective.
My DS was at nursery and a little girl took a shine to him. She had a very forceful personality. DS is pretty passive but able to take care of himself.
He was ok with the arrangement but this little girl totally monopolised him.

I would have preferred DS to have the chance to mix with other children. Certainly NOT just boys. I felt that he needed the chance to play with a wider circle of friends and he wasn't getting the chance.

It was also quite sad for the other children who tried to join in. The girl pushed them out and it upset them. She would play with them until DS turned up and then totally ignore them!

I didn't make a fuss. DS wasn't unhappy or being bullied. I did mention it to his keyworker and she agreed with me. Unfortunately the girls mother worked at the nursery and she was VERY pleased with the arrangement so it was a bit awkward.

In the end I sort of left it tbh. DS was ok and I loved the nursery. I have to be honest and say I would have preferred it to be different though.

It really wasn't anything personal.

Ivehadbetterdays Sun 27-Jan-13 23:40:43

Haha so would I worra grin I don't get much info from DD (just turned 3) about what she gets up to at playschool, apart from a few boys' names!

WorraLiberty Sun 27-Jan-13 23:43:51

I get no info whatsoever until it's time for them to go to sleep

Then suddenly they wan't to tell me every minute fucking detail including what they ate for lunch.

I know what they ate for lunch...I bloody made it and put it in their lunch boxes angry grin

MrsMushroom Sun 27-Jan-13 23:50:14

Letmeintroduce I never said I'd keep inviting him did I? hmm

No I never and as for embarrassing myself...nope...I'm pretty sure I'd not do that thanks.

MrsMangelfanciedPaulRobinson Sun 27-Jan-13 23:52:52

I think if my child was playing solely with children of the opposite sex I would ask the teacher to gently help steer them in the direction of playing with at least some kids of their own sex. Perhaps that is what the boy's parents have intended for the teacher to do?

Floralnomad Sun 27-Jan-13 23:55:41

I wouldn't go in to the school , they're unlikely to tell you any thing different to what they already told you . Has your daughter made other friends to play with ? If so I'd just move on , as other posters have said if the little boy really wants to play with your daughter at playtime the school will not be able to stop him . If he's not playing with her he obviously doesn't want to ,and for whatever reason the other mum doesn't want them playing and that is her business .

Letmeintroducemyself Mon 28-Jan-13 00:00:48

Thank you for getting stroppy with me - no you didnt another poster did, "If DD should ask again for the child to come to tea or whatever, of course still invite him."

And you suggested going back to the school again.

MrsMushroom Mon 28-Jan-13 00:06:03

Yes introduce I did suggest asking the school what it's about, I think that's's my child's happiness we're talking about aswell. hmm And your posting manner is abrupt. SO it's reasonable to expect a stroppy response.

Flora yes...she's made other friends too. she does seem to play with him at playtime still....her and some others as far as I can make out...that's what my being a bit sad about the whole thing is about really. I'm not SAD-sad...just think it's a shame really.

Letmeintroducemyself Mon 28-Jan-13 00:09:10

That would be to do with one handed typing while breast feeding at the same time - not because I am rude.

You have already been told by the school what the issue is - hence why I suggested asking them again would be embaressing for you and also for them.

They will not be able to disclose to you any more than they already have.

WorraLiberty Mon 28-Jan-13 00:09:59

I don't see the problem if they're still playing together at playtime?

They don't need to be joined at the hip in class...especially if the boy is too reliant on her and the school agrees.

Maybe the Mum used the 'boy/girl' thing as an excuse because it was easier than explaining what the teacher had explained to you?

Either way, as parents we have to accept that not all parents see our kids as ideal friends/influences on their kids.

And with Infants being as fickle as they are, this probably won't be the last time you feel sad for your child over a friendship.

In fact I can guarantee it.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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!

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.

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!)

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

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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?

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!

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