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To talk to the parents?

90 replies

Namechangearooney1 · 16/12/2019 21:17

DD is 8. Two "friends" are being a bit mean to her - leaving her out, making up silly secrets etc. Basically silly schoolgirl stuff but it's been upsetting her for ages and she's been crying about it today.

She has some other really lovely friends who don't have a mean bone in their bodies. I've told her to play with them instead but she really likes these two for some reason (I've always thought they were a bit nasty but I can't choose her friends).

She wants me to talk to their parents. I know their mums well and I'm quite friendly with them but I feel awkward about it - they're not bullying her, they're just being a bit mean. What do I say?? I really don't want to come across accusatory or confrontational - I just want to nicely ask them to have a word with their daughters.

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?

125 votes. Final results.

You are being unreasonable
You are NOT being unreasonable
YoungHun · 16/12/2019 23:08

Nope stay well away.

You've suggested to your DD that she plays with the other girls, the nicer girls. She doesn't want to. Her choice.

The "mean"'girls don't want to play with her. Their choice. What does she think will happen if you talk to their mums?? They'll be her friend overnight? But they don't like her!!

They don't sound very nice anyway. Suggest again your DD plays with the "nice"'girls and if she doesn't take your advice, you'll be there to pick up the pieces.

Sadly this is what growing up is all about.

saraclara · 16/12/2019 23:11

Is there a mother in the world who won't get defensive if another parent says their child is being mean to theirs?

I'm sorry OP, but it's unlikely to end well if you go to the parents. At best the parent will mention it to their child, and the child will take it out on your child even more. Do you really expect a nasty kid to take it well? Nope, they'll blame your daughter for getting them into trouble at home.

TheGoldenNotebook · 16/12/2019 23:17

@saraclara. I genuinely wouldn't. Because I know that my child is a human being who is learning how to navigate relationships and how to be a good person. I would feel sad and anxious but I wouldn't be defensive. I'd ask for details and tell them I would talk to my child to hear their side and get back to them. Only people who have a weird view that their children are perfect in every way would get defensive surely?

Namechangearooney1 · 16/12/2019 23:20

I should point out - they do like her. We've had playdates with both, one of them in particular is always getting her mum to mssg me to go on days out together and always wants to be her partner on school trips. It just seems the two girls turn mean when they get together.

OP posts:
Popupshopper · 16/12/2019 23:21


However I know for a fact that the mother of the child that causes DD2 the most upset has gone into school complaining that MY child and her friends are excluding their child. I'm leaving it entirely to the school to deal with, but were that mother to talk to me directly she'll get both barrels of my (peri-menopausal and sick-of-this-shit) temper. There's 2 sides to these stories and it's the best advice in the world to leave it to school to deal with it as they can actually see what's going on.

I know exactly where you are coming from with this. In some ways I'm thinking/wishing (about a certain mother) - go on then, say something to me directly and I'll put you straight. I actually fantasise about telling her how badly behaved and bad mannered her child is.

OP have you read Molly's post above? about it being very awkward now with a mum she thought she was friends with? This is what will happen.
There is no way they are going to stick up for your child: it is their job to stick up for their child, no matter how awfully they are behaving.

It is so painful watching your child upset but as Waxon very sensibly says, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, so what makes you think these mums are going to say "oh that's terrible ! I'm going to tell Ermentrude that if she's mean to Minirooney again she's not getting anything for Christmas." Sometimes awful people just do a good job of hiding their awfulness as they get older. Their children, haven't learned to hide it yet.

saraclara · 16/12/2019 23:21

@TheGoldenNotebook you really don't know how you'd react, because it's not happened to you. I'm not saying you'd be angry or rude or difficult, but we're all primed to defend our child.

wellthatwasthat · 16/12/2019 23:21

Unfortunately, three's a crowd and the other two might just want to be 'best friends' together to the exclusion of all others.

morriseysquif · 16/12/2019 23:25

I would speak to the teacher to keep an eye out and have a general chat in class about friendships and what good ones look like.

Also discuss with her ways to respond in ways were she gets some control back, telling them she doesn't want to play with them as they are unkind and she prefers her kinder friends, and to tell them they are being mean (how will they know unless she tells them?)

I did speak to parents on on issue recently as it involved my daughter being away a fair distance overnight with two others - I didn't want her far away and worrying and then us not being able to get here if needed. I am glad I did.

Popupshopper · 16/12/2019 23:26

A while ago I had a total belled mother say to me laughingly "Persephone* I've told you, you're not supposed to let yourself be seen when you're slapping someone!" Oh ha ha ha ha ha!

So she was saying to her child "I condone you slapping other children." Appalling woman.

*Not the child's real name

NearlyGranny · 16/12/2019 23:27

I've seen this so many times as a teacher and as a mum and even as a child myself! Two will always gang up on one to make her feel left out. The harder piggy-in-the-middle tries, the more fun the other two have moving the goalposts and playing their power game. It always ends in tears.

Your DD needs to make new, better friends - not all children behave like this - ideally one bosom friend she can just enjoy being with and not be anticipating the next hurtful remark or snigger at her expense.

Don't talk to the other mums; it will come back at her in nasty ways. Instead, why not empower her by rehearsing some strategies? She needs some phrases to deploy when the get nasty with her, like "I'll just let you two get on with it then - there are other people to play with!" and teach her to reach out with a phrases like, "Can anyone play? Can I join in, please? This looks like fun."

When she's hooting and hollering round the playground having fun with a different bunch, the mean girls will lose their power.

I'd be having a word with the teacher to identify a more welcoming group who could be primed to invite DD into their games, ideally a mixed sex group. Boys' play is generally less talk-based and more active, which would give her a nice break.

I never allowed DD2 to have two friends over at once at that age because one of any three always ended up crying on the stairs.

The rehearsals we had trying out what different people might say and how my child could respond stood all mine in good stead later in more complex relationships. I still occasionally get asked for advice in handling sticky situations and the youngest is not far off 30 now!

Best thing I told them was, "If you want to have a friend; be a friend."

WaxOnFeckOff · 16/12/2019 23:28

Sometimes awful people just do a good job of hiding their awfulness as they get older. Their children, haven't learned to hide it yet.

That's what I was trying to get at but you said it so much better. In our case we'd already started to see the cracks in the "niceness of the parents", just little things, but they were noted and when the chips are down you see people for what they are.

NearlyGranny · 16/12/2019 23:31

Oh, and OP? Make sure DD has strong, comfy school shoes she can run and dance and kick a ball in, not those flimsy, fashionable blister-breeders that keep girls mincing around the edges of playground life.

WaxOnFeckOff · 16/12/2019 23:32

When I was about 9 or 10, we were in a group of 3, it didn't always work, but we were quite sensible kids so we split it that all three of us would play together at school and the weekend but during the week after school we would mix it up and play in separate 2s so we all had a chance to have 1 on 1 play with each of the other two girls. i'm astonished now as an adult that we had the sense to try to make it work. We kept that going for a couple of years until we were in high school and 1 girl moved away and the two remaining naturally drifted into different groups.

minipie · 16/12/2019 23:34

I would do whatever you can to encourage friendships with the nicer girls. Playdates, “accidentally” book them on the same out of school clubs (having found out what the nicer kids are doing), maybe a lift share home from school, whatever you can do.

I wouldn’t speak to the parents tbh. It won’t do anything good (speaking from recent very awkward experience). You could mention to school but not in a “sort this out” way, more in a “DD has been unhappy, please could you keep an eye out” way.

Popupshopper · 16/12/2019 23:45

Waxon Grin well done for standing your ground with in-your-face man. He pretty much proved that bullies are cowards.

Btw your username always makes me smile Wink.

3dogs2cats · 16/12/2019 23:49

I think this is bullying, and I think you do need to protect your child. I would speak to the Mums. I would say that your child seems to be left out a lot and the three together isn’t working, so you will tell your child to only play with them individually. I would tell my child that you are happy for her to see each girl out of school, but not to play with them in a group of three. Tell her that she doesn’t need to explain herself, just to smile and move away. I do think that nice people with a rosy view of people can end up with vulnerable children. I am like this. One of my kids was bullied remorselessly by a so called friend from the age of 5,. I kept denying the 10 we had to put him in a private school because he couldn’t cope any more..
Teach her to love herself enough to walk away.

VenusTiger · 16/12/2019 23:52

Harsh as this may sound, I wouldn’t want to help my kid remain friends with other kids who are being nasty and mistreating her. Will she get over it if you tell her, they’re simply not nice girls and that you can’t force them to be “nice”.
I just don’t understand why you’d want her to be friends with them?

strawberrieshortcake · 17/12/2019 00:00

a terrible idea to get involved. Most people can’t stand hearing anything bad about their kids and will likely tell their child to completely ignore your dd or say that your dd has been mean to them. Will just start a lot of petty drama and pointless conflict. It really is just a part of life, if it gets very bad then obviously escalate it to teachers but going to the parents is not the right course of action. Tell her to leave them and to hang around with other people.

GreenTulips · 17/12/2019 00:04

Is there a mother in the world who won't get defensive if another parent says their child is being mean to theirs?

Yes! My friends child was mean to mine, they admitted it and mum brought them round to apologise. some parents are reasonable.

You could go with Hi DD hs come home crying today? Any idea if someone has upset her today? She’s just not opening up and I’m worried.

See where that gets you- you could use the same tack with the teacher. It leaves them to investigate and you may find out some more.

BillHadersNewWife · 17/12/2019 00:08

I had a similar situation and did speak to the Mother of one girl because I thought I knew her well enough and she seemed reasonable.

What I learned was that DD's version of the events was so different to HER DD's version that we both realised it was 6 of one and half a dozen of the other.

We both felt surprised as to us, we both thought OUR DD was being bullied (low grade bullying) and we realised it was a bit of both.

WaxOnFeckOff · 17/12/2019 00:18

Thank you @popupshopper. I hold a grudge but I'm patient. I recently got my own back. Turns out Idiot dad got a new job and now drives around in a vehicle sponsored by his employers. He drives like a maniac in an estate with a 20 mph limit filled with young children and pets. I've reported him to his employer who isn't happy about their business being associated with aggressive driving... I await further developments. Not sorry either.

AlorMy · 17/12/2019 02:34

You need to teach your child that real friendship means having each other’s back.

These girls are not your dds friends. But they might be unaware of what real friendship means due to their age.

You need to teach your dd that if they are mean to her that the proper reaction is to reject them back.

Don’t text her to be either a doormat or a precious snowflake. Neither will serve her well socially.


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AlorMy · 17/12/2019 02:34

Teach. Not text.

RevengeOfTheReindeer · 17/12/2019 05:49

I agree with those saying to go to the teacher. I would suggest taking your DD with you and encouraging her to talk to the teacher.

We had a similar friendship issue after an out of school incident. I encouraged DD (7) that she didn't have to be friends. "But we've always been friends!" I tried to get her to understand friends wouldn't be mean, leave her in tears etc etc. Invited her other friends over. Put my foot down and said she had to invite two boys to her party instead of these two girls. It calmed down but flared up after a couple of months.

DD was unhappy in school so I said I would go to the teacher with her. I think the teacher took it more seriously as it came from DD. She listened to DD then asked her to let her have a quick chat with me. I don't know exactly how she dealt with it but she did and DD is much happier.

MiniGuinness · 17/12/2019 06:01

Maybe your child can be a “bit nasty” too. You don’t actually know for sure do you?

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