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I didn't know the mindgames would start so soon...

(65 Posts)
WhatHo Thu 19-May-16 09:28:37

So, DD1 is 6. She has a friend called, let's say Katie, and another friend called Amy. Katie and my DD are both quite gentle, Amy has a... stronger personality. At their last play date she was horrible to my DD2, whispering things like, "Why is your sister so WEIRD?" to DD1 while they were having tea, while staring at DD2. DD2, who is 4, got quite upset.
There's another girl in class who is quite emotional, Jane, and (according to DD1) Amy tells her things like that her jumper is stupid, why does she wear stupid stuff, nothing abusive per se, but they're 6!
DD1 loves Amy (grrr), but the relationship is complex - typical threesome which is such a bad number for girls. If DD and Katie don't do as Amy tells them she runs off crying, then they have to console her, or she says she won't be their friend.
This am I found a note in her bag saying sorry for not playing with her during break and asking Amy to still be her friend. Turns out that yesterday DD, Katie and a couple of others were playing a game Amy didn't want to play. They refused to stop their game so Amy 'had to play by herself' and blanked DD for the rest of the day.
I love women, I'm a girl's girl, but I hate that female Mindgame shit angry. I can't believe it's started already. I feel like in 20 years time DD1 is going to be writing that recent MN thread about the WhatsApp group and the present and not being invited to the party.

AIBU to tell the teacher as it's teacher's evening next week and hope she can, do something? Am I being:
a) PFB (probably) grin
b) Naive
c) wasting teacher's time (but it's a very small class of 15)
c) To say something about Jane. She is vulnerable as is - though is it OK to take a 6 year old's word on something?

if I don't say anything, is there anything I can do or do I accept it as part of life's rich tapestry of women being vile to women as it will happen throughout her life?
Amy's mum is very nice but an absolute Tiger Mum, my gut instinct is that she would dismiss anything i had to say and be pissed off that I brought it up. Perhaps rightly so? confused

I'm still so new to this child-rearing thing. Help me! Also Please be gentle with me, I never normally post in AIBU...! grin

mrsfuzzy Thu 19-May-16 09:33:59

thankfully little girls change/make up/break up friends like some people change their socks. this child is learning a lot of nasty stuff from someone, mum does not sound as if she'd take to kindly to it being pointed out that her little snow flake is a piece of work at her tender age, i'd have a chat with the teacher about the situation.

LottieDoubtie Thu 19-May-16 09:36:59

Definitely talk to the teacher- they are still young enough to do some pshe friendship stuff and it to actually work! It'll be much much harder to fix if you/the school let this go on for years and years.

don't speak to the other parents (recipe for disaster).

corgiology Thu 19-May-16 09:37:31

You need to watch secret life of 6 year olds.

It's all normal although cruel!

I would have said something when she said DD2 was weird. That is not ok and she needs to know boundaries imo.

BertrandRussell Thu 19-May-16 09:46:01

It's crap when this happens. But I do think you need to be a bit careful about labeling it a "girl thing" in my experience the received wisdom of boys "just getting on with it" is a myth- they are just as likely to do the "not playing with you" thing as girls. I think they are less likely ( nature of nurture? Not sure...) to play the sort of intimate, only so many can play games that girls do, so it might be less obvious. But there will be sad boys hanging around the edges of the crowd of "just getting on with it" football players who have been told they aren't good enough, or are only allowed to play in whatever position the King Bee dictates..........

mirtle Thu 19-May-16 09:56:24

I think it sounds normal to me.

I was also going to say watch the Secret Life series - it's an eye opener.

But the best you can do is teach your dd the skills to cope with it. Some of the friendship books are good. And also try and help broaden the friendships she has - with inviting others round or joining out of school activities where others go.

Wait until she's 10/11 - it's way worse then. Dd has a group of friends who fall out daily. Usually instigated by one girl who makes up a complete lie about one of them which all the others pretend to believe, then don't speak to them all day. The lies are bizarre. The comments then are about how ugly they are or stupid - really cuttingingly rude.

The time I go to the teacher is when dd is not coping or it's ongoing to the point that she doesn't want to go to school. In the meantime we talk about how she's going to deal with it, what could she say or who she could play with tomorrow instead. But even at nearly 11, she still forgives and goes back to the same people for another helping. I'm hoping she'll eventually get to the point of choosing nicer people to hang out with.

I think in this situation I'd just mention it at parents evening myself. But the end thing is to teach your dd how to deal with it, how to recognise unacceptable behaviour and what to do about it. It comes naturally to some I think but others need a bit of help.

I think the Amy's will always exist - some of the parents are like this where I am. There's one who cuts you out of conversations in the morning by standing between you and whomever you're speaking to with her hair in your face and gradually edging backwards into you. She's a master of mindgames and excluding people and probably about 45 years old.

WhatHo Thu 19-May-16 09:57:50

corgi - I will watch, forgot about that programme.
I should have said something when she was mean to DD2, I kicked myself after, but I was thrown.
lottie and fuzzy ok that's reassuring that it's not mad to talk to teacher.

Bertrand I don't have boys but I had two brothers and it seemed less... heated and cruel than girl stuff. But then I was on the outside looking in.

WhatHo Thu 19-May-16 10:00:36

Oh god mirtle! that sounds hideous. It makes me want to wrap DD in cotton wool because THAT would help her have a normal life

I will talk to teacher, I'm not wild about her but I think she does have the kids' best interests at heart.

QuimReaper Thu 19-May-16 10:03:46

All I can say OP is that the fact that this is happening now certainly doesn't mean she'll be the AIBU / WhatsApp / Party poster in 20 years time - getting a bit trampled on at a young age is just as like to make her not put up with it when she's older!

I think it would be a good idea to encourage her and Katie to ignore Amy though. When Amy has a strop and runs off crying, if the others just carry on without her and can be convinced to pretend the strop never happened when she decides to return to the fold, I think Amy will very quickly learn; and I think your DD would be doing her a great service.

Some people never ever grow out of making life difficult for other people to get their own way, and never learn that even if it continues to work into adulthood, by that time people can easily recognise it and will frequently avoid them and discuss it behind their back.

brittabot Thu 19-May-16 10:04:29

Boys do it too. My 6 year old DS has friends like these, sometimes they're all over him and other times he says they don't let him play. He seems unbothered by it though so I don't get involved - I figure it's working out social dynamics and will be helpful in the long run although it's hard to hear from your child.

I would mention to the teacher as it's bothering you.

QuimReaper Thu 19-May-16 10:06:23

Bit of a cross-post with Mirtle about the playground mum!

I think those people still think everyone is in awe of them and that they're awesome and powerful, but would be mortified if they knew how pitifully obvious it is to their "victims".

Maybe I just like to think that.

WhatHo Thu 19-May-16 10:13:47

So far all I've said is that Amy is not the boss of her, that DD is the boss of herself, and that Amy loves her and wouldn't stop playing with her, even if she says she would.

Good? Bad?

foxychox Thu 19-May-16 10:15:49

We had this kind of scenario last year with DD1 - I told that when the other 2 girls started the mindgames to go and play with the boys instead. She's quite rough and tumble so she was fine with this - she was happier and the 2 girls might have realised that they weren't the centre of the universe for DD!
They split the 2 worse offenders up in different classes at the end of year 1 and it seems to be lot better this year...

thelittleredhen Thu 19-May-16 10:22:22

Talk about being kind. Saying that someone is weird is not kind, it will hurt their feelings. We are all different and that is a good thing. I like to sing, DS likes to play Minecraft. DS is good at drawing, other children are good at tennis. We also talk about people being good friends, being generous, being caring, being kind. We also chat about the boys with ADS and their brains working differently and to have compassion for them that they find things hard. Little ones (like your DD2) are still learning, and they learn from older children's example.

mirtle Thu 19-May-16 10:29:02

I'd probably steer away from Amy will always play with you/be your friend because she may well not.

It won't matter because your dd will make other friends, or has others she can play with.

But yes she's her own boss. She doesn't have to put up with being treated badly.

Dottydressisnice Thu 19-May-16 10:31:08

I'm watching this with interest. I've seen some of what you've described in my daughter's nursery!! 4 year olds! My daughter is friends with an Amy (grrr)!

Encouraging your daughter to have a wider group of friends sounds like a good idea. That way, if she falls out with Amy / Amy&Katie, she'll have someone else she can hang around with.
And encourage her to be a bit independent of Amy - e.g. If Amy goes off in a strop and decides she doesn't want to play something, let dd know they can still carry on the game without her. Let Amy choose the game when it's her turn to choose

corythatwas Thu 19-May-16 10:31:28

BertrandRussell Thu 19-May-16 09:46:01

"It's crap when this happens. But I do think you need to be a bit careful about labeling it a "girl thing" in my experience the received wisdom of boys "just getting on with it" is a myth- they are just as likely to do the "not playing with you" thing as girls."

Absolutely agree with this. My db suffered far more from exclusion than I did and I have seen some stuff from ds' circle which would have had people muttering "oh girls are sooo bitchy and mean", but because they were boys it's just boys being boys. As if you can't push somebody over and bitch about them at the same time.

Dottydressisnice Thu 19-May-16 10:36:30

We've got some library books on friendships which are quite good for starting discussions with DD about her friendships and talking about what she'd do in different scenarios.

Some are by Pat Thomas (forgot titles) and there are a couple of others called Making Friends, Being Fair, Being Honest etc.

I got them because I felt like DD was being trampled on by Amy and she needed to know what is / isn't acceptable behaviour, and how to respond in each scenario.

WorraLiberty Thu 19-May-16 10:40:24

I think you're jumping the gun WRT how they might be when they're women.

I'm seeing the 'end results' (for want of a better phrase) now because my eldest is 24 years old.

Many of the bossier and least tactful kids, have actually grown into really lovely, caring adults.

I can also think of one or two sweet, shy kids who really haven't grown into nice adults.

In fact one is 2 years into a 6 year prison sentence for fraud and violent assault.

Childhood friendships can be both simple and complicated at the same time, so I've always stayed out of them unless there is any bullying/really nasty behaviour involved.

LikeASoulWithoutAMind Thu 19-May-16 10:50:23

I think it would be a good idea to encourage her and Katie to ignore Amy though. When Amy has a strop and runs off crying, if the others just carry on without her and can be convinced to pretend the strop never happened when she decides to return to the fold, I think Amy will very quickly learn; and I think your DD would be doing her a great service.

I thought the same as Quim - she presumably does this when she doesn't get her own way to make herself centre of attention again - she'll stop soon enough if it doesn't work.

stealthsquiggle Thu 19-May-16 10:58:36

Definitely talk to the school. The girls in DD's year group are particularly like this (although I would echo PP comment about boys doing it too - DS has had to deal with a lot of it over time). School definitely wanted to know when I finally spoke to them, and they are working hard on driving home messages about inclusive friendships and trying to confront and stamp out the "X said Y said Z said you were horrid/fat/stupid/mean". If it's properly addressed at 6 it can have a real impact.

TheSparrowhawk Thu 19-May-16 11:06:14

If you genuinely believe there's such a thing as 'female mindgames' then I'm not too surprised your daughter is struggling. Anyone who says 'I love women, I'm a girl's girl but...' is clearly a bit of an idiot.

They're children. They don't play mindgames. They're learning how to negotiate extremely tricky relationships using the best knowledge they have while surrounded by idiotic adults who genuinely believe they behave the way they do because they have vaginas.

WhatHo Thu 19-May-16 11:06:57

cory britta point taken about boys!

So, emphasise kindness and independence? I'll look out for those Pat Thomas books dotty

Here's a question worra
I can also think of one or two sweet, shy kids who really haven't grown into nice adults.
Do you think it was in them or because they got trampled as kids and learned to be cruel?

APlaceOnTheCouch Thu 19-May-16 11:07:30

It's just the same with boys. DS (6) is part of a group of three and there are constantly shifting allegiances . . .

I'd mention it to the teacher. They could organise a circle time about being kind or, something they do in DS' school is, have weeks where they break up the friendship groups. I think they choose names from a hat it seems complicated and I've missed some of the detail of DS' lengthy explanations and then they play with that person for the week. It helps to break up some unhealthy dynamics and helps the DCs to see they can play with other people if their original group is being problematic.

The only advice I give DS is if playing with someone is making you sad or angry then find someone else to play with for a bit or do something on your own that makes you happy. When he used to find the mindgames overwhelming, he'd happily take himself off and sit in a corner with a book or a little toy from his pocket. Now, he's more likely to run off to play with another group.

APlaceOnTheCouch Thu 19-May-16 11:12:05

Oops, I used 'mindgames' but actually 'dramas' would be more accurate.

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