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How much can teachers get involved in playground friendships?

(15 Posts)
solongandthanksfor Wed 17-Nov-10 20:08:28

Hi there,
I posted this under another topic, but it's mainly school-based, and I'm still concerned, so here goes...

Dd, 6, is being dominated by 'friend' X at school. I had the opportunity recently to see how dd & X interact together, as I was at a party where both of them were, and I was pretty upset by what I saw. X spent most of the party touching dd - putting arms round her, grabbing her and not letting go if she tried to partner another friend, and sometimes staring at her right up into her face. Dd kept trying to stop X from putting an arm round her - X took absolutely no notice, and would not stop when asked by other adults at the party.

So, dd & X are in the same class, and after the party, I went in to see their teacher to find out if this is going on at school & how it's being dealt with. Teacher quite reassuring - v aware of situation, keeps them apart in class, never in same reading groups etc. However, from questioning dd, she plays every day with X at playtime, more from compulsion than because she wants to. She said that if she wants to play with someone else she asks X, and X either 'won't let her' or follows her & they have to play with another friends together.

Not really sure what to do next. I'm really unhappy about the friendship because its based on X being completely dominant and possessive over dd. But what can I do? Can I expect teachers to get involved with playground friendships? Any advice most welcome

gabid Wed 17-Nov-10 20:52:47

Sorry, that must be quite upsetting as you don't know what is going on at school and teachers can't see everything, especially at playtime.

Not sure whether that help or DD can do it. If DD is not happy she could ask X to stop it or go away, if X does not listen she should warn her to stop or she will tell and then go and tell a teacher - maybe she needs to learn to assert herself a bit more, X seems to be a very dominant character.

ElspethDiggory Wed 17-Nov-10 20:57:54

It is very difficult for teachers to get overly involved in friendships at playtimes because they are only out there once a week. Obviously they can mention it to the person on duty but if you are out there with responsibility for 200 children it's very hard to keep an eye on one or two. Sorry that is not more helpful.

Cathycat Wed 17-Nov-10 21:12:56

Yes of course you can ask for it to be continued to be monitored and stopped!

pinkjello Wed 17-Nov-10 21:18:44

I think you should try to teach your DD to be more assertive. Easier said than done at 6yrs but it will be a valuable life skill for her.

Do you know X well? Does she have any form of SN? Or is she perhaps a very insecure girl and this is manifesting itself in her play?

Maybe you could invite her for a play date and model good play with equal participation. I understand you're worried about your DD but perhaps excluding this girl isn't the best way to approach it.

ElspethDiggory Wed 17-Nov-10 21:21:25

Cathycat - how exactly? I love those sort of throw away statements. Come up with a answer before you demand OP stomps in and gets it sorted. Teachers are entitled to breaks and although the person on duty can do their best they are responsible for tens if not hundreds of other children who will also need them.

If you dd is still distressed I'd go back to school. Say your child is being bullied. Ask what their anti-bullying policies are and how they will proceed further. It seems like the school may need to contact X's parents.

ElspethDiggory Wed 17-Nov-10 21:34:32

AN answer not A answer blush

solongandthanksfor Wed 17-Nov-10 22:21:34

Thanks all. Gabid & pinkjello, you're right, I would like dd to learn to be more assertive, but it's a tricky skill to impart to a 6 yo, esp one like my dd, who doesn't like to rock the boat, and likes to please people. I will however keep emphasising this to her - but if anyone's got tips on how to develop self assertion, then please let me know.

I'm not going to invite X for a playdate. X was unmanageable in the party situation, and I don't know how X would behave in our house. I don't want dd to get the message that I support this friendship. I am aware that there are 'issues' going on in X's life that might suggest reasons for the behaviour.

Elspeth, the thing is, my dd isn't always distressed by the friendship and as her teacher pointed out, sometimes she chooses to play with X, so I've been wary about going in to school talking about bullying. The truth is, X's behaviour makes ME feel distressed, as I hate to see dd so dominated and bossed about.

When I went in to see dd's teacher about it, I learnt that X's parents had already been in to school and it had been discussed. This was earlier in the term. I was a bit shock that I wasn't told at the time - is this normal, would you say, for a parent not to be informed of bullying behaviour?

Sassyfrassy Wed 17-Nov-10 22:50:21

I had some similar issues when my dd1 started reception. We did a lot of roleplaying at home, practising things to say. I taught her to think to herself, I am the boss of me. I can choose who to play with. All the practising at home really helped and she has become a lot more assertive. She also needed to talk a lot about what might happen if she said no. She had worries that the teacher would tell her off (the other girl had told her that she would tell the teacher if she wouldnt play with her), so we also practised come backs to those kind of statements.

crazygracieuk Thu 18-Nov-10 07:19:00

I had similar issues with my son. In the end I ended up asking the teacher to separate them during lessons. For playtimes I told my son to stop playing with X and not feel bad if he cried or screamed. X would cry and plead with ds not to even look at other boys and would do things like make himself vomit in class and say that it was a secret but x was terminally ill so my son wouldn't leave his side. The teacher encouraged x to have other friendships and asked that he stopped playing with my son.
It is now 12 months later and my son is able to talk to x without any problems now. They both have different friends and I am so relieved that the boys are not in an unhealthy relationship any more.
X told his mum that my son was bullying him but in reality he did nothing more than maybe disagree and make x feel bad. X's mum and I have gone from best friends to nit talking but thus is a small price Finlay for my so 's happiness. If my kids were married to someone who was like that then I would hopefully be able to help them.

crazygracieuk Thu 18-Nov-10 07:19:55

Excuse the typos. Finlay should be to pay.

ShanahansRevenge Thu 18-Nov-10 07:30:20

Try not to worry about it too much as it is very, very common at this age. My own DD has it to some extent....I think it's a matter of confidence, with some children not having as much as others....

The best thing you can do is help DD have the tools to deal with it herself....reiterating she can play with who she wants but without worrying her....taking her to some activities ut of shool will help er learn how to form other friendships and give her confidence to pull away from x.

I took mine togymnastics classes....you could try that or brownies?

solongandthanksfor Thu 18-Nov-10 20:44:18

Thanks. Some good advice there. I'm encouraged. Sassy, Crazy & Shanahan - it's good to hear that your dc got through something like this.

I will try more role-playing assertiveness with dd. I've tried a bit, but felt I wasn't getting anywhere, but should probably just be more persistent.

DD will prob join Brownies next year, and really enjoys an out of school drama class, so these are positive things which will hopefully help her with friendships.

dabdib Fri 19-Nov-10 11:13:51

Although you are not keen I would suggest a play-date on a one-to-one basis with the other child. If anything does occur you can maybe see what is triggering her behaviour and explain to her why your DD does not like this.

The reason I say this is because I am having a few issues with my DS who is the same age.
He has now been practically labelled as a bully by another parent and the other boy has been told to avoid my DS and if he hits him to hit him back hmm. Which my son then thinks he is playing a game.

I have tried to sort it out with the mother but she seems to be the type that cannot be reasoned with, her child would not harm another etc. All I want to do is nip this in the bud and let them be friends.

The school have not informed me of any issues with this boy, so it seems he is likely to be coming home with tales of my DS hit him today etc..and there is always 2 sides to a story, but not in his mother's eyes.

Soups Fri 19-Nov-10 19:24:10

Our school have a book the teaches use to communicate with the play and lunchtime monitors. They will then look out for any situations going on and gently intervene if necessary. It may be worth asking if the playground staff can be informed?

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