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How to handle a tough friend situation?

My daughter has one little friend in our neighborhood. It's her best friend. The problem is that sometimes this friend has a very bad attitude and can be very mean. The parents try to correct these behaviors, but children have their own will, so I don't typically fault the parents when something goes badly between my daughter and theirs. My daughter comes home crying at least one time out of 5 when she plays over there. The other girl flatly refuses to ever apologize for "telling the truth" (which is really just an unkind opinion about something). I want to let my daughter build her confidence in her skills and abilities to take care of herself, but I hate seeing her cry and go back for more because she is just too sweet and forgiving...How do you handle a bestie bully?


Asked by misses_nick at 10:51 AM on Dec. 15, 2010 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

Level 24 (20,198 Credits)
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Answers (10)
  • This is NOT about the other child. This should never be about the other child. It is really about how your child copes with uncomfortable or mean situations. This is a significant learning opportunity for your child. It is not your job to fix it. It is your job to offer suggestions and have a good chat about friends, friendship, and how to navigate the hard world of the ups and downs of friendships. Give examples from your youth about situations where you were hurt or hurt others. What did you do? What would you do differently? Give her the tools to choose from. Be the shoulder to lean on when she is upset but don't try to fix it. Let her know you trust her judgement and she can resolve this. She will have MANY hard times with friends. You can encourage growth, strength, and a calming sense of self in your child.  When she comes home let her cry and listen.  Don't fix or say anything but just listen.


    Answer by frogdawg at 11:54 AM on Dec. 15, 2010

  • Then when you hear her, reflect her feelings and what she is saying. "I know this hurts and I can see you are angry at Karen right now." Just keep listening and reflecting. Give her a hug, snuggle, watch a movie, make a favorite snack. Then later, a few days later, take her on a special lunch where you can tell her about your childhood friendships. Talk to her about your concerns. "I want you to have the tools to use when you need them. So lets brain storm together about options and role play." Make this a true conversation and let her lead. It goes down to trust - that she trusts herself to cope, handle it, and move on. Yes, it will always hurt when a friend puts a stinger in us. But we also can move on. Even when this person is our best friend. She has a lot of years ahead of her. You may find yourself going to lunch with her frequently. Which means she trusts to come to you.

    Answer by frogdawg at 11:57 AM on Dec. 15, 2010

  • I agree with PP. I would try to help DD build some new friendships. I'm not sure how old your DD is, but perhaps you can encourage her to invite some other children over (from daycare or school) for playdates. Once DD finds a better friend, she may realize (on her own) that the other child was not really a good friend. It's important for them to figure this out on their own.

    Answer by not-the-momma at 11:22 AM on Dec. 15, 2010

  • This may be her life lesson with dealing with bully's, having said that, I feel bad for your sweet little girl having a friend like that and would try to lesson their play time or make them play at your home where you can handle the situation to a point. GL


    Answer by zbee at 10:55 AM on Dec. 15, 2010

  • I think you need to give your DD some tools on how to handle this girl. I know my DD has a friend and sometimes they get a long great and others they fight. They are 9 years old now and have been friends since they were around 3 years old. I had to tell my DD if the little girl is being mean to you do something else or ignore her. I would tell your DD to ask the little girl to stop and if she doesn't to just come home. It is not one of those lessons you can really teach to child,

    She will learn and I understand how hard it is to see her go through this because my DD is the same way.

    Good Luck!

    Answer by cornflakegirl3 at 10:59 AM on Dec. 15, 2010

  • A bully is not a friend, anyway you spin it. I would be looking hard for some new friends. Remember, the relationships your dd forms now will serve as a model down the road. You want her to learn how to be a good friend and receive good friendship. This bully friend is teaching her how to be in the victim role. Not good. If you keep the friendship going, I would at the very least not allow dd over there. My 9 year old son has friends that he is not permitted to go to their homes for lack of supervision, bad attitudes, etc.. but he can have those certain friends over to his house where I keep an eye out.

    Answer by spottedpony at 11:03 AM on Dec. 15, 2010

  • You know, the hard part is remembering that kids forgive and forget almost instantly and us adults hold onto the bad feelings longer. It's definitely not nice when best friends are mean to each other, it happens even with the nicest of kids. My daughter's best friend gets jealous when my daughter works with a different partner on little projects in class and occassionally tells her that if she doesn't work with her that she won't be her best friend anymore. Now this is a very sweet little girl, she just doesn't know how to handle her jealousy issues and we all have them, so we can't fault her for that. So I talk to my daughter about how to handle the situation. I just tell her that her friend is sad about whatever happened and it's not nice for her to say what she did, but to forgive her for having a bad moment. Plus some girls are so sensitive, my daughter is.

    Answer by slw123 at 6:15 PM on Dec. 15, 2010

  • Unfortunately, this little girls is deliberately hurtful when she doesn't get her way about something, or even when she's just had a rough day. She literally just finds something to be mean about. This last one was about my daughter's socks! "Who would want to wear those stupid socks with those ugly monkey faces on them? You must be really dumb if you want to wear those socks!" Her mother instantly demanded that she apologize, but la nina just rolled her eyes and stomped up the stairs, glared at my daughter hatefully and then slammed her bedroom door. Today she wanted to act like it never happened. It frustrates me greatly, but I have a good handle on what I need to do now.

    Comment by misses_nick (original poster) at 6:50 PM on Dec. 15, 2010

  • No worries good mom. There will be a ton of friends that hurt her later in life. Some will steal her boyfriends, some will take her money, some will borrow clothes and never give them back, and others will gosip about her. By giving her tools to cope now you are doing her a favor. Look at this as a wonderful opportunity. Yes, this girl is acting badly but she has also given a gift. This is an opportunity for her to learn at a young age how to cope and move on when friends put that dagger in us. You care so much and she will know that. At the end of all friendships that come and go - guess who will still be there? YOU! As hard as it is - give her a chance and review with her some of your experiences with firends when you were her age. Save the teen and middle school years for when she is that age. More moms should care as much as you do.

    Answer by frogdawg at 8:37 AM on Dec. 16, 2010

  • Teach your daughter he self worth, that she matters and her feelings matter and that she must stand up for herself. If she continues to come home upset, tell her she may need to stop playing with this friend if she is hurting her so much and she cannot manage it.

    Answer by KTMOM at 10:05 AM on Dec. 16, 2010