DD (Y1) in Tears Tonight Over Friendships - Not Sure What to Do

(5 Posts)
Zhx3 Sun 28-Jul-13 22:04:16

Not sure if this is the right place to post, and also whether I am being "precious" or not.

My dd is my eldest, and has just completed Y1. She had a great school report, teacher mentioned that she was very considerate and caring, and a pleasure to teach.

Tonight she was in tears, talking about her group of friends at school. Mentioning that sometimes her best friend said mean things about her, and encouraged the others in their circle to do so. How they had a fair system of choosing what to play, but how when it was her turn to choose, some of them refused to play her games and went off, leaving her alone.

Now I'm sure that this sort of thing is pretty normal at school - I remember the same sort of stuff when I was her age. I told her that the only person she could control was herself, and there was no point worrying if her friends were not being kind, but to walk away - she has many friends - and to join another group to play. That she had no control if her friends were choosing to be mean on that occasion. I also reassured her what her teacher had said, and how proud I was of her for being so caring and kind to others.

Her teacher mentioned at parents' evening that she did sometimes seek out adult company rather than playing with her own peer group, and I am wondering if there is an underlying reason that I need to be concerned about?

I wasn't popular at school and I remember being crushed by rejection or snideness from my peers on occasion. I don't want to project this onto her, but I don't want her to have to go through it if it can be prevented! My parents didn't really show an interest in my social development at school, and I think I must have been close to finishing university, or even after I'd graduated, before I started to feel comfortable in my own skin and less bothered about what other people think of me.

Just wanted to ask advice really - whether this is just something that she has to learn and how to support her? I think spending lots of time with her, talking through what worries her and how we can make things better will help a bit (she has asked if she can have friends over to plat more often). But would be interested to hear of your experiences if you have had something similar.

racingheart Mon 29-Jul-13 13:52:47

Your poor DD.

It's worth bearing in mind that they are exhausted by the end of the summer term and that tiredness can make trivial events seem insurmountable.

She probably needs to just cuddle you and have you listen.
During the holidays, you could ask who she'd like to see and arrange some meet ups with one friend at a time.
But it's also worth trying to teach her that if people walk away when it's your turn, it's the game or idea they are rejecting, not you. Little six year olds will waltz off if they don't want to play hopscotch instead of skipping, or whatever. The sooner she learns that most rejection isn't personal, the sooner she'll come over as resilient and not be a target for bullies.

TBH I think most parents and DC have experienced something similar at one point. Both my DC have had periods of unpopularity - partly justified because they weren't so good at handling social situations as their peers, and partly unjustified (the peers were at fault, not them.) But they are all small kids, negotiating their way through. Try and take it as lightly as you can. I was in agony the first time I realised my beloved DS1 was short on friends. By the time it happened to DS2 a few years later, I just shrugged and thought, he'll find his way, it'll settle down. And it will.

Elibean Mon 29-Jul-13 16:18:07

Sympathies, OP, it's so upsetting when LOs are feeling rejected at school.

My dd2 has just finished Y1, and went through a few weeks of tears and upsets as her not-very-stable threesome of best friends turned into a twosome of bests with dd on the outside.

My advice would be to totally support her, in terms of understanding how horrid it feels, but at the same time to teach her the power of shrugging her shoulders (I role played this with dd, taking it in turns to be the mean friend and dd! She loved it, really got into the game and discovered how much more powerful she felt when she shrugged and said 'I don't care' in her head whilst walking away grin).

If it happens again next term, try inviting different kids over for play dates, or suggesting to your dd that she walk away and play with others when that nonsense starts.

It also helped my dd hugely to have conversations about why kids may behave meanly in the first place - perhaps someone (a sibling?) has been mean to them, or perhaps they are feeling tired or grumpy, or perhaps they are upset about something you don't know about. It made it all less personal.

There is also a big dollop of remembering that a) they are exhausted at the end of the year and therefore either meaner, or more sensitive, or both and b) friendships and all else change very fast at this age. I've learned that I can still be worrying over something the dds have gone through, then they will stare at me and say 'but mum, I moved on ages ago'...

Finally, you sound like a wise and lovely mummy to be thinking about what you went through, and not wanting to project. It's hard, that, but so worthwhile.

Good luck, hope she has a great holiday and collects a few strategies for Y2 smile

Zhx3 Mon 29-Jul-13 21:58:53

Thanks for your responses thanks.

I spent some time chatting with dd tonight and she seemed happier. I shared some of your tips and I think we might have a go at the role play too. I mentioned that other children might be grumpy because they had gone to bed late, or because their parents told them off for not eating their breakfast, which made her smile.

She also shared with me that when something was happening that she didn't know how to react to, she took some time for herself by reaching down and touching her toes!

I think lots of chatting time and cuddles are in order over the summer smile.

mrz Tue 30-Jul-13 09:08:49

From long experience it seems by the time I worried and fretted about my daughter and catty girls she had got over it and they were friends again. It's awful feeling helpless when your child is upset but it is one of those lessons of growing up (especially it seems for girls).
Pleased she's feeling happier.

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