Can anyone suggest any ways I can help my daughter stand up to her friend?

(37 Posts)
innertiger Mon 13-May-13 21:47:31

My dd is 6 and in Y1. She is in a single form entry school with only 10 girls in the class. She gets on well with all the girls, gets invited round to play etc but has become in thrall to a QB. When she started in reception she became particular friends with the QB and girl X. They largely played well together but there were some problems with QB and girl X and the teacher was very careful to try and micro-manage the triangle. My dd seemed to be very happy and unaffected by the issues.

Since the start of the year my dd has reported various bits and pieces but as she is quite a sensitive character I tried to deal with it by keeping it light – trying to get her not to take things too much to heart.

Things have now escalated, examples of recent behaviour:
Telling my dd to say things to other children (usually not kind things); telling her to play what games she wants to play/who will be which characters etc ; telling her that she is fat; criticising her food choices at lunch; telling her that she can’t do things as well as QB can; telling her that her possessions are rubbish; telling her that she is showing off; telling her not to tell me (grrrrrr) and the list goes on……

And my dd goes along with it all!!! She seems to be feeling under a lot of pressure now and I am concerned for her self-esteem. We have been trying to come up with strategies for her, things to say, ways to respond etc but she always loses her nerve, crying and saying that QB will shout at her. She has started to get very upset over this and so I contacted her teacher – who is being very supportive and trying lots of things in the classroom to help.

I can’t talk to QB’s mum. We are friendly and I know she would be mortified but I also think it could make things worse for my dd. I’d rather that was my absolute last option.

I’d really like to hear if anyone has any ideas of what we can be doing at home as nothing I say seems to work and I’ve run out of ideas 

Alonglongway Tue 14-May-13 01:29:08

Hmmm I have 2 girls and we've had similar though not quite the same. It gets bad again at various stages, so no harm to develop a few techniques now. My main one would be to let DD talk it all through at home freely so she can reach her own view of how to handle the situation. So she learns it's fine to disagree and perhaps she might like to play more with others

LittleMissLucy Tue 14-May-13 03:58:10

I have had very similar problems with a child in my own DD's class. She's got a therapist working with her at all times as her behaviour is largely sociopathic - and very like your description, telling people what to say, do etc.

I have tried to encourage friendships with other children and one-on-one situations with these other children to build my DD's self confidence and sense of bonding with other kids. I have directed her to seek the help of a teacher when feeling under too much pressure, to ask for help.

Ultimately, I changed my DD's class...but there were further mitigating circs and i had little other choice.

But I'd say this, if the mum is ok I would definitely talk with her. The mum of this girl is crazy as a box of frogs and that was never an option for me.

thesecretmusicteacher Tue 14-May-13 09:55:27

What about the self esteem of the kids your daughter says unkind things to? What must their parents be thinking?

It might be helpful to shift the focus on to them (and save your daughter's reputation long term).

SavoyCabbage Tue 14-May-13 09:59:45

I would be trying to get her out of the friendship and to start playing with the other children, if they will have her after she has been unkind to them.

Both my girls have friends who are boys which seems to be far easier - for now!

seeker Tue 14-May-13 10:02:58

I could tell you the deeply shameful thing that dd and I did when she had similar problems with a girl who is now, 10 years later, one of her closest friends. But I'd better not........

piratecat Tue 14-May-13 10:04:46

from what i remember, i told dd to ignore and walk away and play with someone else.

when this didn't work ('she just follows me mum')

I think I said you must say 'that wasn't a very nice thing to say'
or ' i don't want to'

and walk away.

it passed, dd kept walking away or avoiding where possible. I said that everyone is different and that this little girl might not be very good at being a friend, at being considerate etc...

walk away mainly !

LifeofPo Tue 14-May-13 10:05:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

piratecat Tue 14-May-13 10:06:08

seeker go ahead!

oh and my dd and this girl, five yrs on are very good friends. the other girl was having probs at home, and i explained to dd (who said -well i have them too mummy but don't act like that) that people, kids, everyone handles things differently.

bootsycollins Tue 14-May-13 10:06:13

Ooooh go on!

OhGood Tue 14-May-13 10:07:12

seeker! Spill!

seeker Tue 14-May-13 10:14:01

Well.

blush

We were browsing in a toy shop, and we found, to both out amusement a small doll that looked exactly like this other girl. We bought her. We used her for role plays, and practising saying no to.

And we drowned her in the bath every night. blush

It did wonders for dd's self esteem, it made it possible for her to step back from the situation, and to laugh at it. And it made her feel as if she had a bit of control, and once she felt that she did, she did.

But don't do it. It's bad.

LifeofPo Tue 14-May-13 10:23:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MolotovCocktail Tue 14-May-13 10:25:31

Oh my OP, you've got to take this in hand, now.

My childhood self sounds all too similar to your dd, and I paid the price for the constant chipping away at my self esteem from such a delicate age/phase in my life. I didn't do anything about it. I didn't learn how to handle it. So this kind of bullying affected me throughout my school years. When my parents divorced in my late teens, that was the catalyst for me developing an eating disorder, which affected me until I got pg with dd1. How I was made to feel about myself was a significant contributor to very low self esteem, and self-loathing.

If I could go back and speak to myself at 6yo, in the lunch hall with Laura Bird who sat there, telling me how fat I was; how much food I had in my lunchbox; asking me why I was eating all that food, I wouldn't reply with "I'd rather be fat than thin <sob> <sob> ...", I'd tell little Molotov to get up and walk away to sit somewhere else.

Another scenario: 8yo Molotov is playing on the school field with other girls. The main girl won't let her play, but little Molotov begs and begs and begs until she gets the chance to play. The girls harass her and make her feel very tiny and vulnerable. The thing to do in that situation was not to plead and let them feel how much I wanted them. I should have just walked away to find someone else to play with. Or, gone off and played a fun game alone, which others were bound to joined in with.

Tell your dd not to waste time with the ones who are going to be cruel.

It's all about power. They have the effect on your dd because she's letting that girl have the power. And, your dd is a target. Bullies find things about their victim(s) to pick on. You need to engender within your dd the confidence to say 'no' to this. Essentially, it's enabling your dd to give a great big 'fuck you!' message through her actions.

She will only do this if she feels safe, so you're doing the right thing by getting school to cooperate. It's your dd who needs to change her attitude. She needs to care less. Help her to find a nice, safe group of friends and that will be a good starting point for building her confidence.

Primrose123 Tue 14-May-13 10:25:55

I would encourage her to find nicer friends. There was a girl in DD's class just like your DD's friend, but it got nasty. The queen bee would tell the other girls what to say to others, all low level constant bullying, but of course she never got into trouble because she never got caught, it was the other girls. I hate to see little girls manipulated like that. My DD was one of the ones that she bullied. The other girls were lovely when the qb was not around.

Primrose123 Tue 14-May-13 10:26:58

Oh and Seeker, I don't blame you at all, I wanted to do far worse to the bully, but of course I never did!

MolotovCocktail Tue 14-May-13 10:27:06

Seeker, I've just read your shameful secret!

<Applause> flowers

Absolutely wonderful grin

seeker Tue 14-May-13 10:28:33

Dd is 17 now, and the doll still lives on her "special things shelf"!

MolotovCocktail Tue 14-May-13 10:32:18

I can see how that would have empowered your dd, seeker, and that's precisely the key to solving most bullying situations.

GlasgowParent Tue 14-May-13 10:43:39

I posted this on another thread, and advice I need may be similar:

My daughter is 4 years old and goes to school this year.

Of late she has been going out playing with a bunch of other kids in the wee cul de sac we live in. One girls is 7 and has always been a bit funny with us and our daughter. She once told my partner that her Gran said our daughter was spoiled, and that she wasn't allowed in her house, and she wasn't allowed in ours?.
At the weekend there, she was out playing with said girl and another girl who is 5. The other two girls were leaving her behind, we were watching from the window, and then they came to the door and asked if our daughter was to come in for her dinner. We said no, and they should play together. This happened another two times with the older girl being the instigator in this. Basically trying to get rid of our daughter. When they came to the door one of these times I went down and I asked my daughter if everything was ok, and had someone said something to her, as it was clear they were trying to leave her out/get rid. My daughter is very sociable and doesn't understand people being mean, but when I asked her this she looked sad, said no, but turned her head away.

We have since learned (from my young neice) that the older of the girls had told her she 'didn't like her anymore' but told her not to tell us and keep it a secret. On trying to talk to our daughter she maintains that nobody has said something to her yet seems desperate to be accepted by the older girl.

It appears that she has tried this tactic with our wee girl onside to another neighbours kid. Our neighbour noticed this and watched as it panned out, thankfully our kid said no and she all wanted to play together.

However, I am really worried that this may have been going on for a while yet, our daughter just gets on with it, but this time realised that they were trying to leave her out.

This is my first experience of this, so any advice/experience on how to deal with this would be great. I hate the thought of what may end up in her being bullied by this older girl, but the problem is they all really hang around in a group and should we tell her to walk away she will be left alone perhaps.

Note:
The girl in question seems to be palmed off by her mum and new bf in the main due to another baby now here. We know this as the girl has told us she has to sit in and watch her mum and step dad cuddle all day in and is bored etc. which suggests that she is wanting attention, but I don't want that at the expense of her bullying my daughter. I'm also not sure if this has any impact on thoughts, but when other kids are there, especially slightly older kids, the girl withdraws, cries and sometimes just goes into her house.

DorisIsWaiting Tue 14-May-13 11:01:49

This has worked for dd1 so may help, she was in a very similar situation with QB.

I was very unhappy with what was happening and wanted to encourage her to develop other friendships ( she felt she couldn't say no to QB as she had effectivly removed herself from other friendship groups).

We had a secret super spy mission each week she had to spend at least 3 or 4 playtime playing with other children. That meant asking them if she could play with them if the gamehad already started. If she managed this 3 or 4 times a week then she had a treat (computer time or similar). Gradually her friendships with other girls have grown and she takes or leaves QB.

DorisIsWaiting Tue 14-May-13 11:05:34

Glasgow parent I think the advice you were given was appropraite for your situation which is considerably different. A 4 year old not yet at school child should be directly supervised if playing out preferably with you playing with her.

A 7 yr old who is not a sibling is unlikely to want to play with a 4 year old, demonising the girl in that situation is not fair.

GlasgowParent Tue 14-May-13 11:18:55

DorisIsWaiting: Thank you for your response. Apologies if you felt and it appeared I was demonising the girl who is being mean to my daughter, it was purely a factual account of what happened.

The point I was also making is the makeup of the wee pals that play is 4, 4, 5, 5 and 7. Should she walk away then she is left out of the group, some whom are her own age.

DorisIsWaiting Tue 14-May-13 11:32:13

No problem, I still stand by my statement that she is too young to play on her own. That will be the biggest reason.

If you want her to play with others invite the other 4 years olds to play with your supervision.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Tue 14-May-13 11:38:09

I'm interested in this as my 5 year old reception DD seems to be hgeading in a similar direction with her "friend". The girl tells DD who she can and can't play with...it's all little things...sorry to hijack I just wondered if it would be reasonable to tell the teacher of my concerns?

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Tue 14-May-13 11:40:17

Glasgow parent...it's a bit different when they're playng in the street....and not at school. To be honest I think 4 is too small to be out and playing with 7 year olds.

xyla Tue 14-May-13 12:28:06

Perhaps "did you mean to be so rude" can be adapted in this kind of situation.

innertiger Tue 14-May-13 12:31:24

Thank you all for your advice and suggestions. …..

I had a chat with dd this morning and asked her to do one thing for me – to not speak unkind words on behalf of QB. And I said that if QB didn’t like it and tried to pressurise her, then she could just tell QB that I had told her she was not to do it. At least if I can stop her spreading the nastiness, that’s one step forward. Luckily, the nature of what my dd has been saying on behalf of QB to the others isn’t horrible (just a bit bossy) and all the other girls seem very happy to still play with her.
I have organised 2 play-dates this morning and also managed a chat with the mum of girl X, who has been going through the same stuff, so we had a good natter about strategies etc.

I also told dd that I had spoken to her teacher. She burst into tears, saying that QB was going to be so cross with her, but when I pointed out that this happened last week and that the teacher will never tell QB that we’ve spoken, she seemed so much happier. Hopefully, this will all help to make her feel safer and stronger.

I’m sure this will all work out and yes, I suspect they may well be good
friends in the future. What I have found hard, is that I haven’t been able to equip her with the assertiveness to stand up to QB. Her teacher says it comes form a good place – she doesn’t want to hurt anyone/leave anyone out etc – but it’s that life lesson about knowing when enough is enough I guess. Oh, parenting can be so hard.

Seeker – shock I only wish I dare, but I am way too much of a coward. Thanks for spilling the beans though!

siiiiiiiiigh Tue 14-May-13 12:38:54

We use "so?"

As in:
"You've got a ponytail, they are stupid"
"So?"

"You're fat"
"So?"

"You've got new shoes"
"So?"

Came up with it after a similar situation with our,then 7 year old daughter. Just low grade nit picking, but it was really upsetting her.

We established that anyone as pass-remarkable as the little bitch girl was, clearly, an idiot.

So?

doesn't work on her dad, I've tried

siiiiiiiiigh Tue 14-May-13 12:39:52

doll drowning - keeping that one up my sleeve.

I have a knitting pattern for a voodoo doll, might keep that notion handy too....

wee girls can be utter fuckers. It's a stage. I hope.

thesecretmusicteacher Tue 14-May-13 13:03:50

well done!

I always fall back on "x still has a lot to learn about a, b and c".

It helps me resist the temptation to demonise the other child (tempting though it is......)

piratecat Tue 14-May-13 13:27:00

another girl just last year would not leave dd alone. (age 10 then)

'why are you wearing shorts'

cos i am

'why have you got a bad like that'

cos i have

'i hate you'

dd walks away.

my dd never wanted to tell even the classroom assistant of some quite nasty things this girl said, because of the attention it may bring and she was scared 'she' would be in trouble or that the bully would turn it round.

I said, look if she says something bad, rude or keeps on at you, then you quietly tell. If it's the truth, then you can be safe in the knowledge you are not just telling tales, but sticking up for yourself by getting support.

Do not be scared of someone mean.

piratecat Tue 14-May-13 13:27:50

erm 'bag'

nothing wrong with the shorts, bag, shoes or anything btw. this girl just couldnt find anything else to pick on!!

GooseyLoosey Tue 14-May-13 13:34:36

Seeker - I applaud you. We did something similar with ds's bully. No doll, but I used to tell him fairy stories every night which featured a magic octopus who lived in ds's head and who would do the most terrible things to the bully. As you say, it gives a sense of empowerment.

LittleMissLucy Tue 14-May-13 15:33:43

Innertiger, sounds like you made some really positive inroads, well done.

GlasgowParent Wed 15-May-13 10:35:28

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie: Thanks for your response. I totally understand about the age gap, it's just unfortunate that they all seem to want to play together (in the main) and the dynamics are 4,4,5,5,7 so there are similar ages to my daughter.

Will just keep an eye on it...

innertiger Wed 15-May-13 17:20:09

Thanks LittleMissLucy and thesecretmusicteacher smile I think we're making headway and I think she's feeling ever so slightly more brave.....onwards and upwards!

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