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advice please! problems with 9 year old daughter's friends

(38 Posts)
suzanski Wed 21-Nov-12 14:00:17

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

alarkaspree Wed 21-Nov-12 14:09:03

I don't think this is any reflection of how the mothers feel about you or your daughter. I would think it's more likely that the girls themselves are not that keen to be close friends with your dd at the moment. I'm sorry, I know that is horrible to hear, it's heartbreaking to feel that your children are not making friends. It is difficult when there is a small pool of potential friends - it doesn't mean that there's anything your dd is doing wrong, just that there are not enough people that she has really clicked with.

Are there some activities that she can do out of school - brownies, sports clubs etc. to give her more opportunities to make friends?

SandyMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 29-Nov-12 10:47:13

Hi there,

We are shortly going to move this thread to Relationships as we feel it's a better fit.

We do hope you get the support you need!

Thanks.

glasscompletelybroken Thu 29-Nov-12 12:11:22

Even before I got to the end where you say "she is sick of me asking questions about friends", I was thinking you just need to back off and let her sort her own friendships out.

Girls are like this - it's hard as a mum but you have to let them get on with it. It doesn't sound as if she is being bullied and you can't make them be better friends or like each other more.

Some people just naturally surround themselves with lots of friends and others will just have 1 or 2 friends. I think you are in danger of making her feel there is something wrong with her if you don't leave it alone.

ScottOfTheArseAntics Thu 29-Nov-12 12:22:12

Please, please be led by your daughter. If she is not obviously upset by her friendship situation and is basically a content child, happy to go to school then leave well alone. I totally understand your worry but don't create problems where they don't exist for your daughter.

WildWorld2004 Thu 29-Nov-12 12:28:49

It is so hard not to do anything when it comes to your children being left out.

I have a question though. Why cant your dd play with any of the 21 boys in the class?

JuliaScurr Thu 29-Nov-12 12:30:48

youngminds.org might help

I don't agree that adults/teachers shouldn't get involved. Just as most kids learn to read with no probs but a minority need more help, the same applies with social skills; some kids need to be taught how to play and make friends. Get some advice - in future you might want to consider moving school

hopespringy Thu 29-Nov-12 12:46:27

Please, back off. You're turning her into a hospital patient when she is just going through the rough and tumble of normal relationships. If you indicate that she can't cope she'll take that on and it will damage her confidence in a big way. Leave her to get on with it. She's said she is 'sick' of you interfering - please listen to that!

mammadiggingdeep Thu 29-Nov-12 12:48:49

As a primary teacher I'm shocked that the teacher has made it clear that she won't get involved. Small scale, petty arguments and disputes I can understand but this sounds deep rooted and WILL be affecting your daughters happiness and therefore her learning. I'm so sad that her teacher has made you feel alone with it. Please speak to the head and say that although you don't want to make a big issue of it you need support from the school. Is it one form entry? Is there a chance she could 'buddy' up with a girl in the other class for play and lunchtimes??? Please speak to the head- your daughters happiness and self-esteem should be their concern. Good luck

ATailOfTwoKitties Thu 29-Nov-12 12:53:30

Age 9 is often bloody awful for friendships. You say your daughter doesn't seem to lack confidence and indeed still plays with one of the girls daily, and that another of them is lovely. That sounds better than average for this age!

As an aside, when our son was 9 and having friendship problems of the can't-be-my-friend-if-you-play-with-him variety, the school said 'We don't really expect this of the boys, it's usually the girls who all fall out in yr 4 and 5!'

mummytime Thu 29-Nov-12 13:25:15

I would complain to the school to be honest. It is part of the teacher's responsibility to monitor relationships, and a teacher can't just say they "will not get involved" because if there is unpleasantness going on it will affect the ability to learn. 9 is the start of a horrible age, especially amongst girls.

Does your DD do activities outside of school? If not try to find some, preferably with children from other schools. It can be a life saver. Aslo try to arrange play dates, maybe with other girls in her year. However with such a small group of girls I would also be considering all my options.

I hope it improves, but do also give your DD space to deal with things in her own way, but always be there with a listening ear. Providing others who will also listen can be helpful, my DD confided a lot in her teenage babysitter.

MrsFlibble Thu 29-Nov-12 13:32:59

My much younger sister, chops and changes her friends all the time, at 13 she goes through a period of changing friends, and has done this even at primary school.

I'd back off and let you DD manage her friendships, because she will chop and change friends, im sure we all did in childhood, if your daughter seems ok, then probably is.

Helltotheno Thu 29-Nov-12 13:38:16

Don't leave yourself exposed. My experience is that schools will typically do very little and lots of parents are in denial about their children's behaviour, which means they're no help to you either if there's a problem. Girls can be little bee-yotches and this is usually led by one/two strong character(s) in the class who need to be called out. Unfortunately dealing with these problems head on may involve falling out with someone but I don't feel my main concern is to make myself popular with all the mums. I'm the only person who will represent my own child. Ime leaving some of these things undealt with = letting your child down.

Obviously if there's nothing going on it's fine but for that parent to have been so direct with you and said what she said is not a good sign. Try and get to the bottom of it would be my advice.

Helltotheno Thu 29-Nov-12 13:39:44

And I agree with whoever said upthread to complain to the school. Doing nothing will leave you further exposed and potentially in a 'your word against mine' type situation...

Mu1berries Thu 29-Nov-12 13:55:07

I haven't read all the replies but although my dd is only a year older i've long since poked my nose out of my dd's friendships. she chooses who to play with and so on. perhaps (just perhaps) that is why things are awkward now because the other mothers don't have the same need to intervene and protect their child and sort of positively manage/steer thouse friendships. I think at this point (although I'd never be so blunt or rude as your friends and acquaintances) I'd be a bit surprised i think if i felt antoher mother was trying to direct the friendships of a bunch of ten year old girls.

Helltotheno Thu 29-Nov-12 14:15:33

OP at the moment doesn't know there's no bullying (or other) involved though. These things can be very very subtle, and from she's said, there was a lot more 'directing' going on by the other mothers!

arequipa Thu 29-Nov-12 14:22:39

My son had those problems in Y4 of a one year entry school. 4 boys were bullying him at playtime (inc.3 supposed friends). We did this: talked to the Head (she was great, dealt directly with boys concerned); we asked him who he'd like to come to tea and play (had a succession of nice girls round who played happily with him); we persuaded him to start an evening club to meet new friends from different schools(he was nervous at first, now loves it, is going camping with them). It's impossible not to feel enraged at the mean behaviour of other kids sometimes... but they move on quicker than we do. I have been cool to a couple of parents ever since - always will be- but my son is friends with two of the boys again, his choice. They're learning about power, group dynamics etc, aren't they?

HollaAtMeBaby Fri 30-Nov-12 01:36:42

Is your daughter actually bothered? It seems from your post that the only feeling she has shared with you is frustration with you constantly asking her about this. You sound massively over-involved.

SavoyCabbage Fri 30-Nov-12 03:03:24

I think it's just their age, they are starting to make friends with different people.

My dd is nine too and this is certainly the case with her class. She is definitely not friends with the same people that she was friends with when she started school, although the mothers are all still friends as we became friends through the relationships our children made when they started school.

FellatioNelson Fri 30-Nov-12 04:54:35

I agree with alarkaspree. Unfortunately you cannot force people to be friends with your child (or you) if they don't want to be. So long as there is no actual bullying, then I would just back off and accept that they do not gel with her, and you cannot socially engineer your DD's life for her.

I think the mothers may be distancing themselves from you a little purely because they do not want their DDs to feel obligated to be friends with your DD if it is not working out so well. You sound as if you may be a little bit emotionally over-invested in trying to forge one big clique of mothers and daughters, all friends together, but if you are not careful you will start to come across as a bit pushy and needy. Sorry, it's not nice to hear. sad

Morloth Fri 30-Nov-12 05:17:44

I think if your DD is not actually bothered then you need to back off.

If you think she is being bullied then by all means get moving on the school, but trying to manage her relationships like you are will only result in her being pushed out I would think.

OlyRoller Fri 30-Nov-12 06:09:05

The first thing I thought after I read your post was: Back off. Really. You are making this into a bigger thing than it is. And stay friendly with the mothers. They haven't done anything except let you know how their kids are feeling. And stop interrogating your daughter about who she played with. You're stressing her out about it. Sorry, to be so bossy, but I can imagine being nine and my mother getting so invested and involved and I would not like it.

Maybe a good idea, if you are worried about a limited friendship pool, is to get her involved in an activity that involves children away from her class. Drama, sports, music, whatever and expose her to more potential friends. And be there for her too. You two can do things, just the two of you. Good luck but please don't worry too much.

SaraBellumHertz Fri 30-Nov-12 06:14:19

You really need to back off. Nothing in your post indicates that your DD has an issue with the situation, other than your over involvement.

You're clearly very sensitive about matters - for example neither mother was rude to you and describing a child as being "neutral" about another is entirely reasonable and not unkind, yet you have taken offence. Likewise the declining of an invitation to do something is perfectly acceptable.

I wonder If this sensitivity is the aggravating feature?

3bunnies Fri 30-Nov-12 06:30:40

Is she an only child? I can appreciate why you might want her to have friends over/ go to events etc, but generally I don't think dd1, a year younger, would want to go out for a trip with someone she wasn't getting on with. We are also quite busy as a family, and with no spaces in the car couldn't reciprocate. Dd1 is a compassionate child, so probably would play with someone who was lonely even if she didn't want to socialise outside of school.

I agree with another poster about looking to the boys too. Dd2 was more socially awkward going into reception, she has clicked though with one boy in particular, and while I am not sure the friendship will survive to yr5, it has given her loads of confidence. I think she finds the boys a bit less complicated when trying to understand the politics, she doesn't have as much of the innate relationship understanding as dd1. She also is in a very boy heavy class.

I agree to maybe back off in terms of these children, but sign her up for guides etc outside of school. Dd1 is in a group with no one else from her school, so it has been great for encouraging her to practise making friends.

FellatioNelson Fri 30-Nov-12 07:17:43

By the sounds of things you already have tried to involve the teacher in the past over your insecurities about your daughter's friends, and quite rightly the teacher does not want to get bogged down in petty squabbles between the children, need mind the parents!

I've re-read your post and it really does sound as if you are very quick to take offence, and that you possibly imagine slights against you/DD when there are none. You seem to be taking everything way too personally. Just because a child feels 'neutral' about yours does not mean that you should feel indignant and furious with her mother!

The trouble is, if you go steaming in wanting explanations from people all the time, or phone another mum every time you hear their child say something that you perceive to be unkind to your child (whether it was meant that way or not) they will start to avoid you as you will be seen as just too high maintenance. Just lighten up a bit. Don't let your social insecurities start to rub off on your DD. She seems to be doing fine as she is.

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