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To think this child is a frenemy?

15 replies

SussexSun25 · 18/05/2021 07:13

My 10 year old daughter has a ‘friend’ who seems very popular, with all the girls wanting to be her buddy. My daughter has had quite a few play dates/trips out etc with this girl which often go well but often the other girl ends up in a mood or goes quiet and won’t engage with my daughter etc (which my daughter then gets upset about, asks her ‘why aren’t you talking etc’). I think a lot of the time it comes from my daughter not doing exactly what the other girl wants, and (so I’m told) the other girl will say things like ‘if you don’t play [what she wants to play] then I will just go off and play it with [another friend]’ or ‘if you don’t do [whatever she wants to do] then I won’t invite you to my sister’ party’. etc etc.
I know they are only young but I just find this behaviour quite manipulative and controlling?! I am trying to encourage my daughter to stand up for herself/walk away if the other girl says that sort of stuff but I think she fears that if they fall out then everyone will side with the other girl as for some reason they all seem to want to be her friend. I think this other girl just likes being in control and doesn’t like it when she is challenged (my daughter is a fairly strong character although a bit less so around this girl) hence the huffs and sulking sometimes.
I don’t think I can tell my daughter not to be friends with this girl (she still wants to be as they get on fine sometimes, plus as mentioned, she is popular with others) but I am not sure how best to handle this. My older daughter is 16 and never had any of this, just think they all seem really young to be behaving like this/having to deal with this! Any advice? Thx in advance x

OP posts:

CallieJones · 18/05/2021 07:39

She sounds a pain and your dd should try and focus on other friends, regardless of how popular the girl is or sometimes nice. Whether your dd will agree I don't know. I've got teenaged dds and there are plenty of nice girls around, they just need to pick the right ones.


sunshinesontv · 18/05/2021 07:47

I teach a similar age group. It's always been like this, and it probably always will be. There really isn't anything you can do except teach your dd to recognise the traits of true friendship, give her the confidence to not care when she's frozen out, and support her to nurture new friendships elsewhere. Good luck op, as I suspect it will be several years yet before she receives that lesson.


xsjrx · 18/05/2021 07:56

This post could have been written by my friend who is in exact same situation. She has been telling her DD to focus on her other friends at the moment and to be herself and not change ( she is a sweet girl). Is trying not to get involved with the little girl or the mum at this point . Honestly exact same situation! Fingers crossed for both of them.


Gatehouse77 · 18/05/2021 07:58

My youngest had many issues with friendships. We talked a lot about what it means to be a friend and how they should make you feel. If they leave you feeling bad about yourself, are they truly a friend, etc.

It took a while but she's much more confident in her friendships today. Also, helped by seeing her siblings friendships and how different they were and conversations amongst themselves.


Ledkr · 18/05/2021 08:02

I have a ten yr old girl and she has literally just come out of this situation with some old friends who had become a bit diva like. She has spent a year grovelling for scraps of friendship buy has now finally moved on to a much nicer group and is having so much fun.
What helped for her is that I just listened to all her complaints and gave her lots of empathy and understanding. Occasionally o would.use an example and work through what she could have done or just had a discussion to help her to see what might be happening.
I also work in a school and that age group seems to be full of this type of thing with lots of drama fuelled upset amongst the girls.
I wonder if the internet has not helped.


Thebookswereherfriends · 18/05/2021 08:14

My daughter has had this problem with one friend which started in reception. We read a couple of books about what makes a good friend and it helped her recognise the unkind behaviour and she was able to stand up to it. I encouraged her to say to the friend that she was just going to play with a different friend. This particular friend is really lovely when they are on their own with my dd, it seemed to be power play at school. My dd doesn’t really have any issues now because she is friends with most of the girls and just finds someone else to play with.


MsTSwift · 18/05/2021 08:20

Think it’s a developmental stage this has been happening forever. The only fix is to take away their “power” by pretending not to care by having alternative friends or genuinely being fine alone. Dd2 used to play with the boys or read in the library when her “friend” did this.

Read Cats Eye by Margaret Atwood. A perfect description of late primary female evil.

This is why I would never want my daughter in a small school. The more friendship options the better.


notanothertakeaway · 18/05/2021 08:24

I would be careful about criticising the other child. Whatever you say may be repeated at school

I emphasise that it's best to spend time with people who make you feel good about yourselves


billy1966 · 18/05/2021 08:35

Good advice above.

Your daughter does need to talk about this and work through it.
There could be more to come.

I always encouraged the avoid the drama girls with mine, from a young age.

Encourage those that you have fun with, don't say unkind things and those that also don't get involved in the drama.

I encouraged my daughters to view the drama as sport and to laugh about it, whilst also not getting involved.

I also stressed NEVER repeating anything that was told to them.

The amount of drama that occurs because a child repeats something unkind that was said back!

Making her alert and aware of the drama that goes on, having a laugh about it, will take the power of it away.

They need skills to navigate the drama that may happen during the teen years.

Through identifying it early with them, they were able to spot it as they grew older, and have mostly avoided it🤞🤞


ForThePurposeOfTheTape · 18/05/2021 08:37

Dd (18) found herself in that situation at age 10.
Plus there was another girl bending over backwards to be Queen Bee (QB)'s attention.

She worked out that she had to step away. She started playing with others who weren't like this and guess what happened? QB started approaching her to play etc where as in the past dd was trying to please QB. QB became best friends with the other girl but started to treat dd better and dd felt great not competing and swallowing her feelings. Win for everyone


SussexSun25 · 18/05/2021 09:53

Thanks so much everyone, that’s all really useful advice and much appreciated. I shouldn’t get annoyed by it but I do, you are right though in that I shouldn’t criticise her so I will try not to! It is definitely a power play (and there is a small group of them who seem to love the drama) and I have tried to tell my dd that an unbalanced relationship, with one person wielding the power, is not a healthy relationship and that she should step away from that/not feed it. If nothing else, I guess it is a good lesson for future friendships/relationships! I feel she also tries to make my dd feel bad by bragging about all the stuff she has (own phone, iPad, tv in room etc) which my daughter doesn’t (we could give her all of that but have consciously chosen not to, at this age) which again is not a nice thing for a friend to do. Will try to keep my cool and be nice to Queen Bee (stealing your nickname, ForThePurposeOfTheTape, it’s a good one!) when I see her. Thanks again x

OP posts:

Orangebug · 18/05/2021 09:58

I think this is common OP. My DD had a very similar situation when she was 10. I also encouraged her to play with other children but she just wanted this girl - until she eventually got sick of it and made other friends in year 6.

On the positive side, these experiences can help shape future friendships in a good way. I think my DD learnt a lot about what makes a good friend. She's now 13 and has a lovely group of friends.


MsTSwift · 18/05/2021 10:10

What’s weird is why one particular child has the “power” in these groups. In Dd2 case this mousy child was the one who decided who was in or out 🙄. Dd was far more fun than her interesting and gorgeous (not biased at all obviously 😁) but whether she had a good day or not was entirely at the whim of this insipid kid. Dd binned her the minute they hit secondary.


SussexSun25 · 18/05/2021 10:21

MsTSwift that’s interesting as it is exactly the same here, I know people will think I am biased but I can be pretty objective with these things and objectively my daughter is bubblier, prettier (not that looks should count) and more likeable than the other girl. I really don’t get the appeal, kind of reminds me of men who are unattractive ba*rds and still have women falling at their feet!

OP posts:

Mugaloaf · 26/07/2021 15:05

Hi @SussexSun25

How did things with the frenemy work out? My DD also had a frenemy. She too was very controlling. I would hear from other parents that their children were not allowed to play with DD at school becuase she had to play with the frenemy. She was also threatened with consequences if she didn't do what the frenemy wanted her to do and the frenemy was very jealous of DD's other friendships. (or anything that DD had that the frenemy thought she should have)

I spoke to the school about it. Her class teacher was incredibly helpful and encouraged DD to continue to be kind, but also to look after herself. I spoke to DD a lot about healthy friendships, but she was always worried about hurting the fren's feelings, so she continued to play with her most of the time. I think towards the end of the summer term (they've just finished yr 6) DD reached her limit and began to distance herself a little bit. It was really upsetting to witness it over the years.

I think when she spent more time with kids her age outside of school (children of friends) she realised what an equal friendship is.

Roll on secondary school. I was so stressed bout them ending up in the same place, but her parents have chosen a diffderent school.

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