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Overbearing friend

(7 Posts)
Maplessglobe Tue 05-Jul-16 07:18:58

Hi, all.

I'm wondering what to do in this situation. DC1 is a funny, cheeky and bright child at home but in school or activities is quiet and reserved. It seems that DC1 has a rather overbearing best friend at school.

I always knew this child had a more forceful personality but they seemed to get on well and so I didn't worry too much. Lately, I heard from a friend's child that the best friend sometimes stops others from playing with DC1, leaving DC1 in tears. This was the first I had heard of this- DC1 had not complained to me. When I asked DC1 about it, lots more details emerged. This friend apparently stops them playing with other children, tells them they shouldn't have play dates/walk to school with other children and dictates what 'part' dc1 must be in imaginary play.

The friend in question is extremely bright and articulate - comes across as a pleasant child. I suspect it's one of those intense childhood friendships that will simmer down after a while. But it's starting to make dc1 unhappy.

What is the correct etiquette here? Have a word with the teacher? Or a quiet chat with the parents (who I know a little)? I don't want to make a big deal out of it but I want dc1 to be happy.

In the background, dc1 has a WL offer for our first choice, much closer, tiny primary school. This is swaying me towards taking it but I wonder if it is clouding my judgment.

What would you do?
TIA

TeenAndTween Tue 05-Jul-16 07:30:59

If staying at school, then talk to the teacher. There is lots they can subtly do to engineer things, plus overt action if required.

Friendships aside, presumably you had lots of other reasons why you preferred the smaller school. Are these reasons still valid? What year is your DC in?

However, depending on what you mean by 'tiny', friendships could be more of an issue in a much smaller school as there just aren't the number of children to choose from. Personally I wouldn't be happy without 10 or so same gender same age. But of course depending on the comparison of the schools and other issues, you may make a different call.

Ginmummy1 Tue 05-Jul-16 13:32:24

My DD (in Reception) has a similar issue. A friend has decided that she wants her and DD to be 'best friends' and she bosses DD around and doesn't want DD playing with other friends. DD is not a shy child but struggles to say 'no' to this friend, especially as the friend then threatens her if DD won't play with her or if DD goes to a teacher for help. DD sometimes resorts to delaying her lunch and trying to hide away from her friend during break times. It's a one-form entry school so there is no escaping it really.

We have involved the teacher who has been helpful, but part of the problem is that DD likes this friend in some ways - they are drawn together.

We haven't spoken to this friend's parent - I would prefer to deal through the school as I wouldn't want to fall out with anyone.

We have talked to DD a lot about what is acceptable behaviour and what makes a kind friend. We're trying to help her to know what is ok and what is not, and to point this out to her friend. It does feel like we're teaching our 5-year-old to be a teacher though! We're also encouraging her to talk to the teacher and to know that only the teachers can tell any child what to do: not her friend.

It's tricky and not a lot of fun, but I hope that in the long run DD will have learned quite a lot about managing friendships!

If you're going to stay with the current school, I'd definitely recommend talking to the teacher rather than the other girl's parents. Good luck!

seasonticket Tue 05-Jul-16 13:40:37

Could you coach your child in asserting their rights and telling their friend to back off?

It's a phase for both of them, while they figure out the invisible lines you don't cross with your friends.
And yeah, try a word with the folks, to see if they have any good techniques that they use when the child is farting higher than their butt.

Maplessglobe Tue 05-Jul-16 14:47:35

Thank you. Glad to know I'm not the only one in this situation. I think perhaps a quiet word with the teacher/s is the way forward.

Believe me, I've been trying to build resilience and confidence in dc1 for ever. I'm slightly at a loss as to how to improve things.

season - I haven't heard that one before- I'll have to find a way to use that myself!

sparepantsandtoothbrush Tue 05-Jul-16 15:43:06

You said your DC hadnt mentioned it but now you've spoken about it it's making him unhappy? Are you sure you're not projecting a bit? It's hard to watch your child go through things like this but removing them from the situation rather than teaching them how to deal with it isn't, in my opinion, the right way to go.

You don't say how old they are? I think first port of call would be the teacher in a "could you keep an eye on them because DC says this is happening". I had to do this with my DD's friend and the teacher actually phoned me that lunch time to say she'd never noticed until I'd asked her to keep an eye out but the friend was being a complete cow dragging DD around and sending other friends away. It was soon dealt with

Maplessglobe Tue 05-Jul-16 16:13:35

Thanks, spare. DC1 is a kind of quiet 'bottle it up' kind of child. Once I asked, it all came out in a trickle and then more of a stream. I don't think I'm projecting but I'll bear that in mind.

Good to hear that the teacher dealt so well with the situation in your case. I hope it can be the same here.

This isn't the reason I'm considering changing schools but it certainly is one of a number of factors feeding into my considering accepting this WL place. If I were generally sure this was the right place for my DC, I wouldn't be thinking of simply removing them on the basis of this alone.

DC1 is 6 btw.

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