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Friendship Issues

(6 Posts)
christinarossetti Mon 03-Apr-17 08:38:11

Hi all, just looking for advice/reassurance.

My DD has been friends with a girl in her class since they were very young. They knew only each other when they started school - now in Y5. During that time, my DD has developed a wide friendship group and her original friend less so. This girl is still very dependent on my DD for friendship, which my DD sometimes finds stressful.

I struggle because I really like her friend and because of my empathy with her home situation ( her father left very early on and now has no contact), sort of want to make things better for her. She used to come round a lot after school / holidays, but less so in the last couple of years as my DD finds it too much.

Reason for posting is that I've had a few calls from friend's mum over the years (we're fairly friendly), saying that there have been problems with my DD pushing hers, excluding her dd etc. I've always spoken with my DD about it, and her version of events are eg someone pushed past me and I fell against friend and said sorry, or I was just playing with someone else. I've witnessed them together a lot and can see that my DD finds her friend wanting to be close to her oppressive, by honestly don't think my dd is deliberately hurting or excluding her. I would be down on her like a ton of bricks if I thought she was.

We took them both out yesterday with other friends for a birthday trip, and it was really obvious how on the outskirts friend is. Not through unkindness, but just personalities etc.

Dh says that they're old enough to sort out their own friendships (true), but I find her friend's rebuffed attempts to be close to my DD painful to watch. I know that it's not my dd's job to solve this girl's friendship struggles, but I find it so upsetting to watch.

Thanks if you've got this far! Anyone been in a similar sort of situation? I guess me and other mum just need to keep in touch and support them where possible?

RedSkyAtNight Mon 03-Apr-17 11:43:43

Yes, let them sort it out themselves. Personally I wouldn't worry about staying in touch with other mum as it may be the answer is that the friendship has run its course and forcing them to get on will be counter productive.

And don't engage with the other mum over the petty incidents. Assuming they happen at school tell mum that she needs to tell her daughter to inform a member of staff at the time. And perhaps that if your DD is being unpleasant she (other DD) should avoid her and go and find other friends? Equally if there are lots of these incidents, then perhaps your DD should avoid hers?

This sounds incredibly similar to what happened to DD in Y3/4. One girl had clearly grown out of their friendship group and although none of the girls specifically excluded her she very clearly was the odd one out and there was a lot of complaints about seemingly petty incidents. By the end of Y4 they were not speaking but by mid Y5 had at least returned to "civil" terms. I genuinely think there was nothing I could have done to help matters other than what I did which was being a ranting/sounding board for my DD.

bojorojo Mon 03-Apr-17 11:51:19

This seems to be a classic case of friendships altering as the children mature and find different interests and good things in other children. My DD had a similar problem Y7 and it lasted for nearly all of school plus this girl went to the same university, thankfully after a gap year, did the same subject, and then did the same course as DD after university. DD was utterly frustrated by the "cling-on" nature of the relationship. It is very difficult to break free without feeling you are the horrible one. At least at secondary, you don't need to be in close contact with the Mum!

In your situation, I really feel that the other girl is struggling to make alternative friends so could she be accommodated in some way? You have this year and Y6 to go, then secondary should free your DD up a lot more regarding friendships because new children will appear at the secondary school. I do not really see how you can persuade the other child that she needs new friends, and it could be there isn't anyone. Obviously being friends from a young age rather let this happen because I assume the other girl did not think she needed other friends, which is a rather unhealthy position. As you have continued to invite her to events, I cannot really see how she can be dropped in a kind way and maybe your DD just has to accommodate her after all these years. Presumably years ago, your DD did want her. She may just have to be kind for one more year.

Nicotina Mon 03-Apr-17 11:52:15

My dd was cut out by a previously close friend at Y5. I let them sort it out themselves but made sure my dd had other outlets and interests. She has a new best friend but I try to keep her circle expanded- after school activities with other class mates and new people.
Dd is quite diffident but is working hard on her social skills.
It is not your job to parent the other child.
In my head, I would like to tear several strips off the parents of the other child for their daughter pushing mine away but that is stupid and childish of me. And I only know one side of it. Better to move forward without rancour and enjoy new people and experiences.
And they can be drama llamas if you let them.

oklumberjack Mon 03-Apr-17 12:52:17

I can't really offer much advice, but a bit of sympathy.

My dd (Y7) was fairly popular at Primary and I was lucky to never have any friendship issues, however my dd chose a secondary school that hardly any of her friends went to - literally 4 of them (1 never attended on the first day). These girls were never really 'close' to dd. But that was fine.
My dd was put into a tutor group with one of the primary friends.

The first few weeks of term my dd found hard. However she was determined to settle, and joined loads of lunchtime clubs and groups. At every turn she found the old primary friend clinging on (sometimes literally!) to her. She put up with it quite a bit but found it stifling. She had always found this girl quite annoying at school so never cultivated a close friendship. They have zero interests in common, completely different personalities and without sounding too weird - my dd is very emotionally mature as well as physically (well into puberty already and is the same size as me!).
Dd eventually found a little group of friends. I still don't think she's found her 'tribe' but she's definitely settled and enjoying herself, meeting new people all the time. The problem is the other girl. She's really not settled. She doesn't seem to know how to interact with others. When one of dd's friends asks her e.g. how she is? Or did she have a good weekend? She responds with - None of your business! She also makes things up and complains about false things. She seems very socially awkward.

It's heartbreaking really. I don't know how to help. I don't want to make my dd be friends with her when she just forging her new school life. Dd's too old for me to be managing her friendships anyway. I know the girls mum who is confused as to why her dd hasn't made any friends. It honestly makes me feel so sad.

The only thing I've done is keep telling dd to be kind and a good friend, but not to let people walk over her.

As for your situation OP, I can only suggest you keep out of it. If the mum bothers you, could you explain that often friendships change as children grow? Any issues need to go through the school.

christinarossetti Mon 03-Apr-17 14:29:09

Thanks all. Yes, the expectations that I have of DD is that she is not deliberately unkind to anyone. It does seem that dd's desire to form other friendships are interpreted as rejection by this other girl, and my DD does find it stifling.

They probably won't go to the same secondary school ( which will help their friendship, I think), which is one of the underlying things worrying other girl.

I can sense that her mum feels cross with me out of protectiveness to her own daughter, which I can understand.

The end of term is always heated - hopefully a break will do everyone good.

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