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Child's friend is manipulating her

(7 Posts)
SoberBee Tue 29-Nov-16 12:44:46

Looking for advice on how best to deal with this.
I feel that my 8 year old daughter is being manipulated by her friend and isolated from other classmates. Big accusation to make of an 8 year old I know, but I really do think this.

They have been friends for all of school but recently the 'friend' is causing my daughter upset and it is causing her massive anxiety. She is refusing to eat at school, is complaining of tummy ache when she has to go to school which I think is anxiety as is only ever at schooltime, her teacher says she is more withdrawn in class now and less confident with speaking etc.

Examples of the other child's behaviour are that she told the rest of the class to be careful of my daughter as she is a liar, she physically drags her away when she tries to play with other children, or she cries and says she needs to talk to my friend alone but then is fine as soon as she has her alone, she tells my daughter that others don't really like her and to play with her, she plans parties loudly saying everyone will be invited except my daughter. She criticises the work she does in class. Other times she can be really sweet and friendly which is why my daughter finds it confusing.

I have told her to play with others and have told the school about my concerns. However each day she comes home and is sad and eventually will tell me about another incident.

How should I be handling this? What advice can I give my daughter? What should I expect from the school? Because of the nature of their friendship I think she school just see it as girls being girls but I feel it is more. Am I overreacting? Tell me how to help my daughter as I want my bubbly happy girl back! :-(

StefCWS Tue 29-Nov-16 12:52:37

Aw your poor daughter, girls can be so manipulative. Why don't you ask your daughters head to put her (just for 2 weeks) in a different class (if theres more than 1 class in the year group) and see if she improves or finds some other friends. Otherwise can you call her out on it (the 8 year old child) when you see her next or speak to the girls mum? Sounds like the girl is jealous of your daughter or has a bad family life and takes it out on your daughter to feel some power.

SoberBee Tue 29-Nov-16 12:58:13

Thanks for replying. There isn't another class unfortunately. I believe you hit the nail on the head, she has always been a bit jealous and she does have an unusual set up at home. I am not able to speak to her mum - it would not go well.

CassandraKumquat Sun 04-Dec-16 23:15:34

SoberBee I came on to ask advice too - I could have written your post! I am in the exact same position with my DD (7). It is tearing me up inside to see my happy, confident girl now anxious and sad. I have written an email to the school this evening outlining exactly what is going on, but like you, I've previously had "girls will be girls" and "she just needs to make other friends". Our head is brilliant so I think it's time to escalate or I will shortly have a school-refuser on my hands I think.

In terms of advise for our DDs, I guess it's keep praising, try and keep their confidence up, encourage assertiveness (so hypocritical, I am the ultimate doormat) and keep on at the school to separate them and nurture other friendships. You are not overreacting. I keep telling myself who else will stand up for DD if I don't? The thought of letting her down made me write that email and will continue to make me face whatever discussions/meetings will follow this week.
And ultimately if she has to change schools then that's what we'll have to do sad It makes me so angry to think one child's actions could cause all this.

So sorry for making this about me as well - just wanted you to know that sadly you are not alone. I really hope things improve for your DD really soon - I hope you'll update.

LetMeFindAFucktoGive Thu 15-Dec-16 09:06:02

Try something like the above. It really helped my DD when she was going through similar. DD was desperate for a "best friend" and put up with all kinds of unpleasantness - similar to stuff both of yours are going through. It took some persuading, gentle coaching and letting her read this book for her to "escape" the other girls power.

DD had to realise that actually this girl was not a friend at all - as friends do not make you feel bad. And that actually her desire for a best friend was in many ways flawed - far better to have a group of good friends - rather than one toxic friend. The book is (albeit in an American way) aimed at helping children realise what a friend actually is. A few hints on comebacks to unkind comments (though obviously they cannot cover all scenarios) and lots about self-esteem and that you are worth more than having a shitty friend. MN relationships board would love it!

Good luck. It can pass. But they will have to probably dump the friend. You just have to build their self esteem and strength in order to realise that actually hanging out in the playground alone is better than hanging out with someone that makes you unhappy. And that she will find other friends once she has dropped the horrid one. My DD had a miserable year last year. This year I have my little girl back. She is singing, dancing and laughing.


CassandraKumquat Tue 27-Dec-16 23:24:02

LetMeFindAFucktoGive Thank you so much for the book recommendation, I'm going to order that now. I hope SoberBee comes back and reads this. I'm so glad you have your happy daughter back.
Thanks again smile

Blu99 Tue 31-Jan-17 22:29:41

Personally I would speak to the other child's parent. I won't stand for bullying and the parent should be aware of their child's behaviour. It doesn't have to be confrontational but I'd make it clear that her daughters behaviour isn't ok.

The book idea is great and maybe consider some extra activities that the other girl doesn't attend so she can make friends without her manipulative presence. Also weekend hobbies that reflect her interests so she can focus on rebuilding her confidence and finding comfort/release.

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