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Please give me advice on how to explain to my DD (age 3) why her friend says she's not her friend any more!!

(12 Posts)
SomeDayMyPrinceMightCome Wed 21-Sep-16 21:02:36

I KNOW they're only 3 (well, the other girl is almost 4) so therefore I know 'friendships' shift all the time at this stage and that when they say these things they don't have the same meaning as it would from an older child.


I have always been rubbish at female friendship, was walked all over by friends at primary school and then badly bullied by girls aged 12-14. I want to start from the very beginning with my own DD making her resilient to all this sort of crap, making her know what a good friend is, and how to be a good friend herself.

Today she came home from pre-school upset because her 'best' friend nad her had had a falling out (standard stuff for them, I would actually say they're more like frenemies than friends and often fall out over sharing and things) which had ended with the friend pulling another little girl away from DD and saying neither of them was going to be friends with DD any more (fyi I am as certain as can be that this is what actually happened. In fact I have witnessed with my own eyes this particular girl saying this exact same thing to another child, plus I have actually heard her mum say her daughter said this about yet another child!! Mum is lovely btw)

Look, obviously it's no huge drama but I hadn't really expected DD to experience this sort of thing so young (all the other little girls at pre-school seem not at all the sort to do this, they have their quarrels about sharing and stuff but nothing yet along the 'you're not my friend any more' lines)

I told DD her friend shouldn't have said that and that if she says it again, DD should just go and find something else to do (which in fact today, I gather, she did; she went off and played with sand)

But is there any other advice for how to handle this if it happens again, in terms of what I tell DD? I had SUCH a miserable time with mean girls growing up (not saying this other little girl is a mean girl, btw, I know she's only 4!!) that from the very start I want to try as best I can to set DD up to be resiliient and know how to deal with this kind of thing?

I know it seems a tiny thing but it sets off such alarm bells for me and I was never ever given any help/advice by my own mum which I know contributed to my own problem.

Footle Wed 21-Sep-16 21:32:58

SomeDay, with respect, this is your emotional baggage, not your daughter's.
She sounds as if she's coping fine - back off a bit and let her get on with it. The situation reminds you of your 12 yr old self but these are small children just beginning to become socialised. You risk upsetting the equilibrium that they are working out for themselves.

SomeDayMyPrinceMightCome Wed 21-Sep-16 21:40:26

Footle, thank you.

You're right.

I do recognise that!!

So, stick with the policy of just saying, if it happens again, 'Oh, X shouldn't have said that, but don't worry, just play with somebody else'?

Sound sensible?

JeepersMcoy Wed 21-Sep-16 21:41:34

This is normal child stuff. My dd had similar stuff at nursery around the same and age it is hard when they come home upset because a friend is saying they aren't friends anymore, but it is just kids being kids. I generally just provided a cuddle and a sympathetic ear.

I personally wouldn't tell her the other girl shouldn't say that as she is perfectly entitled to say who her friends are and I would like my dd to feel she can not be someones friend if she doesn't want to. However, I do say that if dd is upset she can chose to do something else and can talk to one of the nursery staff about how she is feeling.

I do see why you are upset. I am crap at friendships and worry about not being able to support dd properly, but that is my baggage and I try to tell myself that dd is only little and will find her own way.

ayeokthen Wed 21-Sep-16 21:44:18

Having been bullied myself, throughout school I completely get that horrible sicky, ice veins feeling when you think your child is experiencing the same thing. It's the worst feeling in the world. DD 3 falls in and out with her wee pals a lot at nursery, and it seems to just be part of learning social skills without the heavier meaning of such things when they're older. I think your policy of "that wasn't very nice, I hope you're ok. Try playing with someone else" is the best way to deal with it. The fact that you're so open to her talking to you about her feelings is great, she'll carry that with her as she grows. Go easy on yourself OP.

SomeDayMyPrinceMightCome Wed 21-Sep-16 21:45:27

Jeepers, in one sense I agree with you as of course any child is entitled to say whether or not they want to play with another.

I guess it's a tone thing. I've heard this little girl, as I say, saying this to another child and it was very much done in a 'YOU"re not my friend any more!' stroppy sort of way. Plus I think what made me feel it more keenly was the fact that (again, according to DD, who tends to be accurate in her descriptions of things) the little girl led DD's other little friend off and said 'WE'RE not going to be your friends any more.' Which just, to me, felt different from a falling-out where they just disagree about stuff.

Thank you too, though, hugely appreciate the response and you're right, it is my baggage.

SomeDayMyPrinceMightCome Wed 21-Sep-16 21:49:54

ayeokthen, thank you too. I know you're right about it just being them learning social skills.

Poor wee DD though, her little face just crumpled when she was recounting the whole thing! It was all very involved and had clearly started out with a bicker over who was going to go down the slide first, and the rather sweet thing was that DD was acknowledging that she had been getting cross with her friend too (I think there was actual jostling between them, which happens quite a lot, they are both pretty feisty!) and I think this sudden We won't be your friends any more thing just came out of nowhere, for her, and took her by surprise!

It is my own stuff though. I know that. Thanks all for the reminder.

Must Get Tougher!!!

ayeokthen Wed 21-Sep-16 21:52:34

It's really tough to see your wee one hurting, it's worse than feeling it yourself. Hopefully tomorrow they'll have sorted things out.

Puzzledbubbles Wed 21-Sep-16 22:09:36

Dd had a similar friendship at this age and she was given a lot of coping mechanisms by the nursery team - one thing that stuck in her head was to say "if you are kind to me I will play with you" when she was next approached - it gave Dd some power to feel she had a choice to play together or not rather than just saying "ooh she wants to play again so I have to"

This also meant that if things started going in a negative way from either side they could remind each other about kind behaviour and what they expected of each other and that helped smooth things over?

Footle Wed 21-Sep-16 22:32:42

PuzzledB, what a brilliant statement for kids to have handy ! I'm going to pass it on to my GC in case it's needed.

Footle Wed 21-Sep-16 22:35:57

Posted too soon.
SomeDay, I do know that horrible feeling of 'oh no , not that load of crap again' - but I've seen many a parent really distressed by something that the child was calmly dealing with. And vice versa of course..

Singlelady Sun 25-Sep-16 12:13:43

I think this kind of thing is normal with little ones and as long as your little girl isn't coming home upset all the time then I would leave it. And as someone else said explain to her that if someone makes her feel upset she has a choice whether she wants to play with them again.

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