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DD Yr2 losing best friend, how to support her?

(10 Posts)
Rollergirl1 Mon 22-Oct-12 19:28:50

DD is 6 and in Year 2. She has been best friends with one particular girl right from Reception and they have pretty much been inseperable since then. I think they hit it off so well because they are quite similar in personality, both very sensitive and deep-thinking, and they also liked to play the same things. Although they have always been exceptionally close they have also had a tendancy to fall out quite regularly (on both sides) and once again DD's friends Mum and I just attributed this to them being similar in terms of being hyper-sensitive.

During Year 1I noticed at school events that the two girls seemed to be playing just with each other a little too much and I commented to the other Mum that although it was nice that they were so close, that I didn't think it was especially healthy for them to isolate themselves in this manner. She agreed. I spoke to the teacher at Parents Evening and asked that they be moved from being seated right next to each other in class. But that was pretty much the extent of my concern. I have always been aware that DD tends to like to form close bonds with one person and I think this is because she is quite shy and feels intimidated in big groups. Once again I kind of knew that this may be something that we would need to work on but still wasn't huugely concerned for the time being.

Towards the end of Year 1 I started to notice that on occassion the friend appeared to purposely ignore DD sometimes. This would upset DD and she couldn't understand why she was acting in this way. But things would always seem to right themselves and everything would be okay again by the end of the day or the following day. On the last day of the school year back in July my MIL was visiting and she took DD up to an event at the pre-school that DS attended and DD's friends brother also attended. MIL observed the friend playing with another girl and when DD went to go and join in the friend actively ignored DD and wouldn't let DD play. DD was pretty upset. I didn't witness this but when I went up there later I could definitely notice an atmosphere between the two of them and neither of them were talking to each other. Then as they we all went to leave in our prospective cars DD tried to shout goodbye and wave to her friend and she pointedly ignored her once again. The only reason why I mention this is that this was literally the last day of Year 1 before the summer holidays and for me, seems to be the point when I noticed a change.

Now we are 6 weeks in to Year 2. About 2 weeks in to the start of term I was informed by the friends Mum that they had told their daughter that she was not to play solely with DD anymore and she needed to play with other people too. I was a bit taken aback as although I agreed with the concept, I thought it was quite a funny way to go about it. Now for the last month DD and her friend are not getting on very well at all. DD thinks the friend is being mean to her. She says that she will be talking to her and all of a sudden her friend will just turn her head away and refuse to listen to her. I get the impression that the friend is merely acting on her Mum's instructions, that she is not to play with DD when it is just the two of them. As I say I do think it is a good idea that they shouldn't play on their own all the time but I don't like the idea of controlling my child in this way and telling them what exactly they can do during the course of the school day. Also the friend has made comments to other Mum’s that she is now allowed to play with DD.

Now the Mum has informed me of two incidents between the girls where the friend has been really really upset. The first one was when the two of them were playing and the friend wanted to go off and play with someone else and DD apparently "gritted her teeth" at her friend and got really cross with her because she didn't want her to go and play with this other girl.

The second incident was last week when DD and the friend had had another falling out and apparently DD sent another girl across to the friend to say that she was a mean girl. I recognise that both of these incidents, if they are true, display a certain amount of possesiveness on DD's part. But am still of the opinion that they aren't really the crime of the century. But even so, when I asked DD about both incidents she categorically denies that either of them played out as the friend's Mum says they did. With the last incident the friend got really really upset and told her parents that she wanted to change school. The friends Mum is taking this comment really seriously and has instigated a meeting with their school teacher to discuss. I suggested that this could perhaps be just 6 yr old melo-dramatics, and that neither of us really know what happened and that incidents like these are prone to be blown out of proportion and misconstrued. But now the Mum has come back and said that apparently DD has been possessive and manipulative over her DD since their friendship started back in Reception, that DD has prevented her DD from playing with other people and has prevented others from playing with her, and that the times that she has played with others that she has made her DD feel like she is a bad person. Apparently her DD has been deeply unhappy about this since back in Reception but has not mentioned anything until the summer. She suggested that we have a "meeting" with us and the girls to discuss and come up with a "plan of action". I can't see what this would achieve in any way shape or form and now just think that she is massively reacting over the whole thing. I can see that DD has probably been clingy on occassion but I just cannot accept that my DD is an arch-manipulator and that her DD has been an unwilling bystander for the past 2 school years. The more and more I question my DD over who she has played with and if anything has occurred that day with the friend, the more I can see that this is making my DD anxious and stressed out. I am pretty much of the opinion that none of this is an especially big deal and these kind of emotional responses are just par for the course with 6yr old girls. But the friend’s Mum seems insistent that she wants to get further involved.

But anyway, back to my original question. Whatever has happened between the girls it is obvious that the friend has withdrawn from my DD. I personally think it might be for the best . As I say above I have never been particularly thrilled that they have isolated themselves in this way, and there have also been a few other things that the Mum has mentioned in the past about her DD that makes think that she is pretty highly-strung. But my DD won't understand any of this and is already mourning the close friendship that she had and no longer feels she has. How can I support her through this time of change?
Sorry this is sooo long, I didn’t mean for it to be..

mudipig Mon 22-Oct-12 21:22:29

Honestly - you need to let them get on with it and stop getting involved. It sounds to me that the friend has moved on, is widening her group of friends.

There's really no point in engaging with her mum about how to resurrect the friendship or ploughing through the minutae of their fall outs. It will only result in you falling out with the other mum.

What has happened? They are six. They don't have good social skills. They chop and change friends all the time. Sometimes they behave badly - largely because they don't know how to deal with situations. They don't have any loyalty. They're getting to the age where they want to choose who they spend time with. By that I mean choosing people, rather than just being thrown together with them.

The best thing you can do is encourage a wider group of friends for your dd. Ask the teacher for help with identifying who would be likely people, then invite them round. Or enrol her in an afterschool activity where some others from her class go.

They really don't make lifelong friends at this age.

You have a temporary problem in that she needs to establish some new friendships. Instead of commiserating with your dd, ask her who else she'd like to play with and be proactive in encouraging new friendships.

Euphemia Mon 22-Oct-12 21:32:25

I agree - you're trying to manage DD's friendships for her, and she needs to do this for herself.

Be there to offer a shoulder to cry on or advice if she asks for it, but don't try to engineer things for her.

I also think "mourning" is too strong a word in this context and that you might be projecting there!

Be positive in encouraging DD to make new friends, but don't become entangled yourself.

wannaBe Mon 22-Oct-12 21:45:02

as parents you are all way too involved in this imho. Asking if there have been incidents with the friend? meetings with the teacher? Instead of going back to this friend you need to be encouraging your dd to widen her circle of friends. Friendships are fluid at this age, for most children the friends of today are the enemies of tomorrow and the frends of the day after and so on.

Having just one friend is bad for them precisely because when the friendship ends (and invariably it does), they have no alternatives to fall back on.

You need to stop mentioning this friend, stop encouraging your dd to talk about her, and instead start to encourage her to talk to other children.

And if she is clingy and possessive of this friend you need to start to talk to her and explain to her that this kin of behavior won't do her any favours in the long term.

hth

Greythorne Mon 22-Oct-12 21:52:03

I thought your Dd's friend was dying from the title.

I cannot possibly read you post. It is way too long.

Rollergirl1 Mon 22-Oct-12 21:53:22

Thanks for your comments. You have both confirmed what I and DH feel about the situation. I don't think that this level of involvement from us parents is helping whatsoever and if I'm honest I feel like I've been drawn in to it by the other Mum. She thinks we need to step in and guide them through it as they are too young to understand their emotions and feelings. I think we should just leave them to it. She doesn't want them to totally fall out completely and thinks this will happen if we leave them to it. I think if they fall out then we can't prevent it and I know DD will be upset but it won't be the end of the world.

I think her and her husband had a meeting with the teacher on Friday. I don't know what they expect the teacher to do or say.

DD does have other friends in the class and we have had lots of playdates with other girls since the beginning of term, but I know that DD misses what she felt she had with this particular girl.

In some ways I'm more worried about how to manage things with the Mum. We have become pretty close ourselves in the past few years (and also both our DS's) but she seems intent on dissecting every little detail and trying to control everything and I think this more than anything is going to impact on the whole situation. I have tried to gently suggest that this is just par for the course but she's not having any if it.

JustFabulous Mon 22-Oct-12 21:56:28

Me too Greythorne.

AbbyRue Mon 22-Oct-12 21:57:36

I thought it was about dying too sad

Agree with everyone, stop getting involved, it's so petty! Encourage you DD to play with others

directoroflegacy Mon 22-Oct-12 22:00:57

It's v difficult not to get involved , I have a DD in yr 2 and I try v hard not to get involved in these friendship dramas.
It is difficult especially if you are friends with the mum!!
If you think it's difficult now wait til their teens!

Rollergirl1 Mon 22-Oct-12 22:02:46

Okay message received, need to get a grip, which is exactly what was hoping everyone would say.

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