Year 1 dd being left out- advice needed

(6 Posts)
GlowormsGlow Wed 06-Feb-19 21:46:30

My dd is 5 (Aug born). She is in Year 1. She loves school and is doing really well so no problems from this side. Her teachers have always said how well liked she is by her classmates and she's been invited to parties (not whole class ones) left, right and centre since September. However, ever since she started school there have been issues surrounding her close friendships.

I'll try to keep it as short and concise as possible. DD became friends with two girls in Reception- one (Lily) who is very loud, dominant, expects everything her own way and gets angry and shouts when anyone disagrees with her. The other girl (Poppy) is a bit of sheep and just lets Lily do what she wants. My dd falls between the two of them- she's sweet and kind and often happy to go with the flow but also has her own ideas about games and doesn't always want to do things the way Lily wants them to be done. Lily and Poppy became "best friends" and dd became their "second best friend" which meant that she was left out a lot by them, shouted at a lot by Lily and excluded from games at Lily's say so. My dd was too young to really notice what was going on at this point but as an adult observing their friendship I was really quite concerned at what would happen once she did notice how unequal this friendship was. I spoke a lot to her about what made a good friend and what to do if someone was mean to her so that she could tackle it on her own without adult interference. I also tried to encourage other friendships. It didn't make much difference as I guess she was too young to really understand what was going on.

Anyway, roll onto Year 1 and Lily was separated from the other two in a new class. I thought this might help their friendship issues spending less time together during the day however it moved up a notch and at break times Lily started excluding dd from their games on a more regular basis. However, Dd started making friends with a new girl in her class (Annie) and for a few months everything settled down with dd, and whilst she still spent time with her old friendship group (Lily and Poppy) she also started spending more time with her new friend (Annie) and had a number of play dates with her. However, in the past few weeks dd has come home repeatedly and said that Poppy and Annie are now best friends and Annie doesn't want dd to play with them. Dd cried herself to sleep about it tonight (not the first time) because she says that Annie and Poppy won't let her play with them. Poppy keeps ignoring her when she talks. Lily is also still excluding dd at times.

I just feel utterly fed up with her friendship issues. Last year, before she really understood what was going on, she would regularly wake up in the night crying because she'd had a dream that Lily was being horrible to her. I'd also hear her role playing with her Barbies about their friendship and it always involved the Lily character shouting at her. This year, other than the odd blip here and there, things have been calmer up until the last few weeks. However, in the last 3 weeks or so my dd is waking up most nights crying and rambling about these girls, she's very quick to get upset about any little thing that upsets her, she's crying herself to sleep and she's also wet herself a few times during the day at school (she's never had toilet issues in the past).

I've spoken to her teacher and she seemed unconcerned and told me that dd was popular so I needn't worry, but I'm seeing everyday how this is affecting her and I just don't know what to do to help her. I'm quite honestly sick of hearing these girls names, seeing the way they treat her and hearing how she's being excluded at break times. She seems really sad when she talks about them now. I just don't know what to do. Help!

OP’s posts: |
Tfoot75 Wed 06-Feb-19 22:04:47

My dd (also 5.5 and in year 1) has recently had a spell of being very sensitive to comments or behaviour of friends, including friends leaving her out or her taking offence to things her friends have said to her. I very much took this to be some developmental phase she’s going through where she is realising that the actions of others can be hurtful. I don’t at all think that the average 5/6 year old is capable of being deliberately hurtful to her friends and took that line when talking to my dd (particularly as the complaints, such as people shouting at her, I have seen her do to her own friends at times). If someone doesn’t want her to join in, she should play with someone else instead as she often doesn’t feel like playing with a particular person, it’s nothing personal.

Justaboutawake Wed 06-Feb-19 22:05:14

Gosh I could’ve written this a few years ago! Very common occurrence unfortunately and I think most mums have been through this. I encouraged my DD to try to find other kids who were left out of play and start playing with them to help them feel less lonely. It gave her purpose and confidence to break out of a toxic trio of girls. She went back to the originals every now and then but had a large group of friends by this stage that their behaviour didn’t bother her anymore. The dynamics of friendship groups change so much between year 1 and year 3 before they finally settle down a bit.

It’s so distressing and I feel your pain! Try to speak to her and encourage her play with lots of kids and always be nice. That’s the only advice I can offer as it worked for my DD

GlowormsGlow Wed 06-Feb-19 22:44:48

I will definitely take the advice on board that it's normal and yes, a developmental stage that they have to go through as part of forming relationships. It's just so hard to watch when I know what a kind, sweet girl she is. I think this is part of her problem as I would love her to stand up for herself more and I try and regularly encourage her to find someone else to play with but she is very taken with these girls and she can't seem to break those ties at the moment (as much as I would love her to). I like the suggestion of finding other children who haven't got someone to play with, as this "helping" side of making friends is probably something that would appeal to her.

OP’s posts: |
LetItGoToRuin Thu 07-Feb-19 10:29:40

I think it is worth pursuing this again with the teacher. The fact that the teacher perceives your daughter to be ‘popular’ is largely irrelevant. Another child is deliberately excluding her from games, and your daughter is very upset about it, it’s been affecting her sleep, she’s acting out scenarios in her ‘small world’ play to process it etc. This is not something to ‘brush off’ simply by helping your daughter to be more resilient (though this is a good idea as well).

The teacher should be concerned about the effect this friendship issue is having on your daughter, and she should be keeping a special eye on these girls in the classroom, and asking lunchtime/playground supervisors to do the same. She should be reminding the whole class about playing kindly and including others, and looking out for children that are alone.

My DD has struggled similar issues with meanness, mostly in Y2. The girl in question was, among other misdemeanors, keeping a tally chart of ‘behaviour’ of her friends throughout the day, awarding marks when people were nice or generous to her, and the person with the most marks at the end of the day got a reward. Quite enterprising of her really, but of course it was totally inappropriate. DD’s teacher already had her eye on this girl, and dealt with these incidents. Now in Y3, the girl is not a problem and is one of DD’s friends – but IMO the teacher did the right thing, at the right time.

In terms of helping your daughter in the meantime, is it worth helping her to prepare some short phrases as responses to this behaviour? Would she pluck up the courage to say something (and then walk away)? My DD had a few up her sleeve, starting with shorter ones and then, as she plucked up courage, some longer ones: “Is that kind?” / “That is mean” / “Unkind comment alert!” / “Is that respectful?” (respect is one of the school values which they were big on at the time) / “How un-Christian” (C of E school, and this child is in a churchgoing family) / “You should be ashamed of saying that” / “Nice people don’t make unkind remarks” / “Would your parents be proud that you just said that?”

FlagFish Thu 07-Feb-19 10:40:32

I agree with previous posters that this kind of thing is, unfortunately, common at this age. I also agree with LetItGo about going in to see the teacher again and explaining how upset DD is as it sounds like she didn’t take you seriously last time. Ask if someone could keep an eye on the friends during playtime.

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