What is 'popular enough' (7 yo)?

(14 Posts)
Echobelly Mon 09-May-16 10:01:36

So my daughter's of the age (nearly 8) where she is realising that some people are more popular than others. She sometimes complains that other people seem to have more friends and get invited to more parties. She has 3 or 4 good friends, another 3 or 4 less close friends; she gets picked on a bit, but I don't think anyone is systematically bullying her. She's never going to a be a 'cool kid' (thank God for that, I say!), she's a bit quirky, but she has several people who are always pleased to see her when she arrives at school, and to me that's a good sign.

I'm of the view that what she has is 'enough' and am inclined to encourage her to accept that she has good friends (her closest ones I think will always be loyal) and that it's not a numbers game. I would be worried if she had no friends, or was reliant on one or two friends who might not be reliable, or if she was being heavily bullied, but I don't feel she's at risk of being ostracised or anything.

My husband, though, is really ultra sensitive about this kind of thing - he fears we've 'failed her' (as he puts it), by not having arranged enough playdates, and says I'm being complacent when I say I don't think things are really a problem. The thing is, in some ways I'm not sure what we can do other than trying to be a bit more proactive about getting together with friends outside school (which I have been lately). We can't change who she is. I want to be able to tell her that things are OK and she should enjoy what she has, but I suppose DH would see that as giving her low expectations. And what is going to be 'enough' friends anyway?

Abbinob Mon 09-May-16 10:04:28

She'll witness the drama of "popular" kids and be thankful she isn't one of them soon enough.

MrsJayy Mon 09-May-16 10:05:44

Your Dd sounds a nice kid and a few pals is great was your dh in the popular crowd at school? Not having a tonne of friends and not getting to all the parties isnt failing its just 1 of those things if she is generally happy with her life then really thereisnt an issue.

MrsJayy Mon 09-May-16 10:06:36

Oh aye the drama she will avoid that

Echobelly Mon 09-May-16 10:21:51

I think DH feels self-conscious because he feels that he wasn't very popular at school (although that said, it could hardly have been his parents' fault, his mother is aggressively pro-social and I'm sure exerted herself with socialising outside school!) and he knows I wasn't always.

As it is DD is in a better position than me - I was totally at sea for the first 3 years of secondary because my friends has always been boys, and while this was totally accepted by my peers for most of primary school, beyond about Y5, suddenly boys were off limits unless you fancied them, my social sphere fell apart, and I hardly knew how to be friends with a girl (and still don't TBH). DD has some friends who are boys, but mostly hangs out with girls, so she doesn't have that hanging over her.

It's a tension point now as it's DD's birthday party soon - we had a disaster last year when about 65% of invitees couldn't come and DH was convinced it was because parents couldn't be bothered with the faff of a party with a child they didn't feel they knew - though if that's a thing now I think it's f'ing rude to potentially disappoint a child when their parents have been kind enough to invite yours to a party. There were one or two declines that did frankly read to me like 'Soz, can't bothered, we'll probably want to do something else then' and otherwise legitimate reasons; feels like it was mostly bad timing, IMO.

Chrysanthemum5 Mon 09-May-16 10:30:05

DD is 8 and there is a very popular girl in her class. DD was jealous and wanted to be that popular. However now she's seen that this girl cries every day as the other girls all fight to sit next to her etc. this poor child gets no peace all day.

DD has realised that being too popular isn't great and is back to bring happy with things.

I'm sure it was just bad timing with your DD's party.

MrsJayy Mon 09-May-16 10:33:20

both my girls were friends with boys as well as girls dd2 more so boys she is into batman and stuff, so there is a mix and balance for your dd the you fancy him rubbish used to wear them down but thats just kids being silly.
I dont honestly know what makes children popular and I dont think you can force it iyswim your husband is obviously concerned but just tell him she is happy leave her be.
For her birthday why not have a day out bowling cinema or something with the friends she does have? Thats what we did saved any awkwardness 1 of my dds has a learning difficulty and didnt have a lot of friends in primary but we took the few she did have out for her birthdays. I know its a while off but high school was a blessing for dd she found her tribe

JimmyGreavesMoustache Mon 09-May-16 10:39:12

dd1 is happier with a small group of close friends
she knows she not one of the most popular kids, but doesn't want to be at the centre of things all the time, so that's ok. I figure that as long as she has someone to play with or chat to when she wants, that's plenty.

Echobelly Mon 09-May-16 10:44:14

Thing is she's not that happy and I want to tell her she's OK (and I do); she's not so hard to deal with, it's DH that gets really despondent. I've told him that if he thinks it's so important she sees more of her friends outside school, he can help organise it. We both work ft and I find it so hard to juggle this kind of thing, especially as we have very limited capacity to give return playdates when the kids go to after school club and I find you have to arrange weekend playdates either at the last minute or weeks and weeks in advance. I don't honestly think I could manage dealing with managing more than about 4 friends!

DD also really admires the 'popular girl' and this girl's been playing with her lately and saying Ez can be her '2nd best friend' or whatever, which makes me kind of hmm because I think girls like that like to toy with girls like DD so they can turn on the when they want to display their clout. And I have warned DD to tread carefully with this girl and be prepared that she might not stay her friend. I've invited her to DD's party, but I fully expect her mum not to bother replying.

I guess I was thinking about this all this morning, as a girl DD was talking to from the other class as we came in asked if DD had been to a classmate's party yesterday and she hadn't. I felt a bit sad for her, but then this was one of the kids whose mum had declined offhandedly last year, and although they looked like being chummy in Reception I don't think they've been close since.

Chrysanthemum5 Mon 09-May-16 11:12:54

DD had similar with one of the girls (A) asking her to keep her a seat at the lunch table in case A couldn't get to sit next to the popular girl. It meant DD was sitting on her own most lunchtimes. Yet A would tell DD that she was her best friend.

I had a chat to DD and explained that you judge people by what they do not what they say. So if A was saying that DD was her best friend but leaving her on her own (and asking DD to not sit with anyone else) then that wasn't kind.

If I'm honest DD was very happy when the popular girl took an interest in her, and she clearly relished being one of the cool group - but her behaviour went downhill and I subtly moved her back to her old friends. The cool girls wear make up to school, use 'fat' as an insult, and are just mean to everyone so I couldn't have DD in that group. Which was hard for me because I'm more like your husband. I am working with a counsellor about my abusive childhood But it has made me worry that the DCs aren't popular and that I'm failing them. I needed to step back and see how my behaviour wasn't helping - could your DH do that?

albertcampionscat Mon 09-May-16 11:19:38

Three/ four good friends and three/four people you're less close to but like and who like you sounds like a lovely balance. I really really wouldn't try to change anything.

Echobelly Mon 09-May-16 11:28:35

A good point about 'what they do, not what they say'; one thing I've been explaining to DD is that real friends do no put conditions on friendship; little miss Queen Bee has been doing the 'You can be in my gang when someone leaves' thing, and I don't want her getting into any 'You can be friends with me if you stop being friends with X/ rip up Y's drawing' business

MrsJayy Mon 09-May-16 11:32:35

Just wanted to add that its hard work necogiating this friendship lark we all want our kids to be happy but getting involved in every niggle or blip is stressful for everybody they are very young and the 2nd best friend thing might fizzle out but saying to your dd that friends are kind not mean will drip into your dd

Echobelly Mon 09-May-16 12:17:18

I don't think we're being too interventionalist about the Queen Bee; I know we can't stop DD from being hurt and I don't think we actually should stop her from being hurt at any cost; she will have to learn from negative interactions, but I think we just want her to be forwarned it might not end well!

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