9 year old daughter's friendship problems help!

(4 Posts)
suzanski Wed 21-Nov-12 14:01:40

Hi everyone. This is my first post, so please be gentle My daughter has always been a bit "different" - I think this could be down to her having a serious neurological condition in her nursery years, and missing out on that crucial socialisation time. I do think that now she has improved, and seems to be able to get on with her peers OK.

However, her school class is rather peculiar, with 21 boys and only half that number of girls, leaving a small friendship pool. The girls are cliquey, and my girl is in a loose group with maybe 5 others. I thought I was good friends with a couple of the mums of the girls in her group, but I'm beginning to doubt that now.

I called my "friend" one day when I overheard her daughter be really mean to mine, and she said she felt that her daughter didn't really like mine, and was "neutral" towards her. I had thought they were friends, and she has been at my house to play, I have babysat for her, and we have spent time together at weekends- I am gutted, and as you can imagine am feeling "neutral" if not "negative" towards the mum!

Another of her friends, whose mum I get on with OK, seems to be cooling off towards her too (and being more friendly with the girl above...) and when I asked if she would like to go to an event with us, her mum said to leave it as she didn't think the girls were getting on that well. I am Gobsmacked that someone would actually write that down, as I try very hard to treat people well, but it raises the question about my daugyter's friendship with this girl too.

This leaves her with hardly any friendship opportunities in the class, apart from a very disruptive girl from a troubled background and one girl who is nice and loyal too (although friendly with girl B above).

My question for you is....do these mums think that my daughter is not a suitable playmate for their girls? Or do they not like ME, and are trying to hurt my feelings? What should I do?

My daughter says she still plays with girl B every day, but she is sick of me asking questions about friends, and I get the feeling she's not telling me everything. She is at the childminder with girl A once a week, but they didn't play together yesterday.

I don't know how to help my daughter, if there is a real problem with her getting on with the girls at school.Please don't suggest I talk to her teacher, because she doesn't get involved in issues like this - she is a great teacher, but has made this clear. My daughter doesn't seem to lack confidence, but perhaps I should be thinking about building her up?

Wit's end with this -just feel like moving away somewhere else where she can make new friends without all this hassle. And me too

Yogagirl17 Wed 21-Nov-12 14:18:40

Hi suzanski. I'm sorry you and your DD are having a hard time with this. I have an 11 yo DD and I know from experience that one thing that tends to happen around this age is that the children start to take more control of their own friendships. So its' very likely that the other mums do not think badly of you or your DD, but if their DDs are saying they don't feel like hanging out with your daughter as much - for whatever reason - the mums don't want to push things. It's a very difficult line to walk. It's very hard to say to a pre-teen that they have to play with someone if they don't want to. You can insist they be polite and respectful, you can ensure that they are not deliberately excluding or picking on one child but you can't really insist they play together.

The other thing is, these things often come and go - girls friendships can be pretty fickle. If you leave it a few months they may start playing together again of their own accord.

But if you don't want to do that, I would say a) look for some activities outside of school where your DD could make friends (brownies, dancing...?). The other thing is, the teacher refusing to get involved in the children's social life isn't actually acceptable. At this age, it's as much her responsibility to look after their emotional and social well being as their academic education. If she is refusing then go to the head teacher. It doesn't have to be done in a way that singles out your daughter. I know when there was some stuff going on in my son's class a few years back (all stuff that only occurred in the playground not in class), the teacher got the whole class involved in some discussions and games around problem solving when you disagree with another child or when people don't want to play the same games.

good luck with it.

NanaNina Wed 21-Nov-12 19:43:10

Hi suzanski - I think you should take notice of what your daughter is saying - that she is "sick of you asking about her friendships." I know it is really worrying if you think your child is left out of things, but you really do have to keep out of things. I am a grandparent and when my grdghtr was at primary school one of the girls was so possessive of her it amounted to bullying as my grdghtr was afraid of her and she was not "allowed" to play with anyone else. I was really upset (can't bear the thought of my grdhgtr being hurt you understand!) I tried to get my dil to complain to the school but she said that was not the right way forward, and the best thing a parent could do was teach their child the skills to deal with situations like this. Very wise dil I have. Luckily the girl left the area but my grdghtr said "I will never let anyone treat me like that again."

I know it's not the same problem but I absolutely agree with the first 2 paras of Yogis post. I disagree with what she says about school being responsible for these problems. My dil and son are both primary school teachers and they both have parents coming in to complain about girls' friendships (and asking if their girl can be moved because of xyand z) and they tactfully tell the parent that girls of this age (8 - 11) are fickle and fall in and out with each other, sometimes on a daily basis, and it's best to leave them to sort it out themselves. Obviously if something gets really out of hand they will intervene. It's always about the girls and not the boys.

I'm sorry but I think you are putting pressure on your girl to keep asking her about friendships and she has given you a clear message about this. I think if she comes to you and talks about worries about friendships then you can talk to her.

My grdghtr is now 12 and at a private school for girls (not that I agree with private education) and her parents are making big sacrifices for her to go there (she is the only one) and I knew she would be among girls from very wealthy families and I was soooo worried that they would be snobby and she wouldn't have friends. That hasn't happened but I was asking about friends, just to re-assure myself, and she asked me why I was always asking her and I didn't want her to think I was worried so I don't ask her now, and she seems fine and gets invited to sleep overs etc but I don't ask her anymore.

I DO know how worrying it is, but I think you need to take a step back and try not to worry as you will pass on your anxiety to your daughter which won't be a good thing.

cansu Wed 21-Nov-12 19:47:59

Agree that you sould probably take a step back. I would also try and separate from tying up your dd friendships with your own friendship or relationship with the mums. I would encourage her to make some other friends outside of school and be breezy and cool about friendships in school. By being involved you could well make this situation more difficult.

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