To think my 8yo should be able to be herself?(36 Posts)
DD is 8, in Yr 4 at school. She has been friends with mostly the same group, boys and girls since nursery.
Sometimes they socialise outside school, sometimes not but they are pretty close.
Over half term, I had 3 separate messages asking if either I could pick up another child to go to a party for one of the group, or did I want DD to go with them etc.
DD wasn't invited, so I said "she's not invited but thanks."
Her not being invited genuinely was fine, we only have a few friends for pizza or whatever on her birthday, so I thought nothing of it.
This morning, getting ready for school, she's told me who was invited -it was every girl in the class (14) bar three, a Jehovah's witness who isn't allowed to go to parties, an Indian girl who has never attended anything she's been invited to, and DD. Both girls have friends at school but no longer get invited because they have said they won't be able to go.
She told she's glad she wasn't asked because the birthday girl said "I didn't ask you because it was too girly for you."
DD isn't girly, she hates pink and princesses, she prefers skate punk type clothes, but she's not particularly anti it, just doesn't choose it for herself.
She likes "proper LEGO" instead of Friends prefers science kits to makeup kits, and is pretty cool, tbh.
This morning she announced "I think I might be a bit more girly so I don't lose all my friends."
I was so shocked she is thinking that, and said "let's discuss it after school when there's more time" but my view is that I will tell her that she shouldn't change a thing but OH is worried she might end up being isolated.
Her best friend is very similar but she went to and apparently loved the girly party.
AIBU to say sod the lot of them, and just make your own way. She has plenty of boy friends to play with but is worried she's somehow "different" to the girls.
I don't think I am, to be honest, because I think different rocks but it's good to get a opinion.
My daughter is 6 and sounds exactly the same, I always have and always will teach her to be true to herself.
I think the child's parent was a bit thoughtless to not at least ask your dd if it was something she would like to do.
Tell your daughter that her real friends love her for who she is and wouldn't want her to change.
That must hurt. Is DD upset deep down? I imagine she must be. Let her be herself.
It doesn’t sound like being tomboyish is why she wasn’t invited if her tomboyish friend was also there. I think you need to be wary here. It’s possible the other girl was just repeating what her mum told her to say - there’s probably another unrelated reason for her not being invited.
In another year they'll all hate pink girl stuff your dd is ahead of the game. My dd is sporty, never wear dresses or skirts, hates pink but has many like minded friends. I find it strange that they are all pink loving girly types as that's normally over by 8.
Ate there any she does have something in common with that you can invite over? Does she regularly have people over, eg for Halloween etc? You may have to really support her here and max on the play dates
Agreed with Raving . Be careful assuming this is due to her 'not being girly'. Play it down. Perhaps invite a group of friends round and do something pretty neutral, make their own pizza for tea and watch something funny like minions ? If it's not pouring with rain a tent in the garden with loads of blankets and torches to eat their pizza and watch something on the laptop? 'Larva' is hilariously funny (ideas as this fixed a friend's issue my non girly girl had!)
We almost all feel the desire to fit in at some stage though. Working out how chameleon-like to be in different settings is part of growing up. It's much easier as an adult to say 'sod the lot of them', much harder at school where the whole currency of social interaction is based around conforming. She may be a bit little for the conversation but I've spoken with my v quirky 9yo about how it is ok to want to compromise in order to fit in, if that's what she wants to do, but she needs to work out where her red lines are, if that makes sense.
I don't think it's wrong to want to enjoy something for the sake of others. For example, I would want to make an effort to enjoy (or at least participate in) rock climbing if it was something that was important to my friends, even if it's not something I would choose to do without them.
Oops sorry I thought she was 6- at 8 she's probably old enough for a conversation to encourage her to do her own thinking about the matter.
Good post @frogsoup.
OP, I think your sensible thoughtful daughter has opened the door to a productive conversation about trying new things, how much one should change to fit in and how much to be true to yourself.
Likely her dislike of pink isn't the real reason as pp have said if her tomboyish friend was invited. You will likely never find out the reason.
Play it down and do something special with your dd on the day.
It sounds mean that she wasn't invited, but maybe she has been very vocal about not liking girly stuff to her friends and upset them a bit? We never really know what our kids do/say when we aren't there, nor how they come across. Of course it is fine for her to be how she is but it is ok for the girly girls to be as well. I'd say you could emphasise tolerance on all sides to her, not just use it to bolster her sense of being in the right or whatevs.
i think you should let her be more girly if she wants. its too easy to say no be yourself, but maybe she is ready for a change and is just using this as a springboard. I think you should obviously reassure her that there is nothing wrong with being tomboyish but also there's no harm in her experimenting with more traditionally girly things either.
Don't let your celebration of her "differentness" overshadow what she is saying iyswim. Be directed by your daughter.
It is easy for kids who are "different" to feel pressure not to compromise, either from themselves or from their family (often unintended pressure). They can end up with a chip on their shoulder about not liking something because it won't be "true to themselves", but also want ing to fit in... It seems to come to a head in around year 7-9, at the beginning of senior school.
Sometimes kids like this can end up feeling superior and inferior at the same time, and unwittingly acting a bit snobbish; this can happen even to very kind hearted, friendly children if they feel they have to defend their unpopular choice against the majority.
I think it is important to get across the message that you can be true to yourself while still trying and enjoying lots of different things. You don't have to choose!
If a child really hates something, or really thinks it is wrong, he or she can still learn to be reasonably tactful about it, and to laugh off other people's teasing comments with a reasonably good grace (up to a point).
I'd be very surprised if she's the only girl in a y4 class who doesn't like princesses etc I would imagine it's most of them.
Have the conversation with her, by all means - but as others have said, if her equally tomboyish best friend was invited, then that's not the reason she wasn't. There's something else going on.
Her best bet is to actually stay who she is, because if there is something else going on and she starts to change herself to fit in with some fiction that they're spreading, then she's going to feel doubly uncomfortable, as she won't be "being her", AND she might still be excluded for whatever the genuine reason is.
I find it really hard to believe that this is the reason though. Not all of the girls in dd's y4 class are 'girly', personally I hate the term 'tomboy' because it's a really daft label for someone who is just doing what they want to. Do any 8 year olds like princesses?
She sounds like my daughter tbh. The only thing that I have done is encourage her to go to brownies and she's also done ballet since she was tiny and I've encouraged that (and is now past the point where she has to wear a pink tutu so all is good there).
I think she maybe needs to reassess who some of her friends are. Is it only a one-class year group?
Claraschu that is spot on. Marching to your own beat is good, but the combination of insecurity and superiority it can lead to is a toxic combination. I was like this as a teenager and cringe in retrospect!
Sometimes children dont think outside the box. At about the same age my DS had a football party, he didnt invite his best friend, I asked why , "oh, he doesnt like football at all " - he simply didnt make the correlation that friend might like to participate. Once it was explained that, although logical, it would also be isolating, friend was invited (and enjoyed himself!).
She can be, and is herself.
She isn't not invited to any parties because she's not mad about pink. your focus is all wrong here.
I also agree with Claraschu. I didn’t fit in. So I had a superiority/inferiority complex. Mine was due to narcissistic parenting. Mine was a survival mechanism. No way would my mother have ever asked for advice and opinions as you are now.
There is also a boy in dds class like this. He is now a School refuser and hasn’t been once since the beginning of term. His parents, especially his father seem like this too. And they treat him like a mini adult. Instead of a child learning and given time entering the adult world.
The best approach is to listen and let her try things out. See how it feels. Let her find her own true self and where she wishes to fit in. You can help her to form her opinions with questions when she wants guidance. It’s fine for an adult to one day dress super smart and another day in ripped jeans and an old top for no apparent reason. So why not a child?
As others have said, if you tell her not to change a thing, she will put herself in a box to please you - unless she’s very single minded.
I think the notion of her 'true self' and being true to herself is misguided, over-essentialist and confining. OP your emphasis on how 'cool' she is sounds a bit desperate and she's probably acting up to please you - also, you've probably transmitted your disapproval of the more obviously femme girls to her. It sounds like you really want your daughter to be somehow alternative/edgy according to a very media-driven idea of what that is and I think you should rethink how you go describing her.
Why this emphasis on 'girly' stuff, and her liking of non-girly stuff.
Yes - let your DD be herself, encourage her to try what ever she wants to try whether it be a new nail varnish, playing with dolls, making mud pies or designing robots. All are very suitable activities for an 8 yo. Don't try and make her 'cool' by encouraging her to not participate in things some of the other girls enjoy. Try to encourage her to try stuff that others are doing because that is what friends do - support each other.
I too suspect there may be more to the non-invite than just not liking pink (I think by 8 many girls do not like pink - if indeed they ever did).
Yes, one form entry, slightly boy heavy class (I think there's 16 boys to 14 girls) so she at least has people to play with I guess!
I did wonder if there was more to it. I doubt princesses were involved but it was a make up, pamper type party, she told me it was frilly and princessy which I think is her interpretation. I do wonder if it's something else but you really can't go asking without looking like a helicopter parent!
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